Speeches by Shirin Ebadi

Selected Quotes from Shirin Ebadi Speeches

‘The Beauty of life is to fight in a difficult situation like it is in Iran.’ (Source BBC video)

“I am an Iranian. A descendent of Cyrus The Great. The very emperor who proclaimed at the pinnacle of power 2500 years ago that…he would not reign over the people if they did not wish it. And [he] promised not to force any person to change his religion and faith and guaranteed freedom for all. The Charter of Cyrus The Great is one of the most important documents that should be studied in the history of human rights.”

I am a Muslim. In the Koran the Prophet of Islam has been cited as saying: ‘Thou shalt believe in thine faith and I in my religion’. That same divine book sees the mission of all prophets as that of inviting all human beings to uphold justice. Since the advent of Islam, too, Iran’s civilization and culture has become imbued and infused with humanitarianism, respect for the life, belief and faith of others, propagation of tolerance and compromise and avoidance of violence, bloodshed and war. The luminaries of Iranian literature, in particular our Gnostic literature, from Hafiz, Mowlavi [better known in the West as Rumi] and Attar to Saadi, Sanaei, Naser Khosrow and Nezami, are emissaries of this humanitarian culture. Their message manifests itself in this poem by Saadi:

The sons of Adam are limbs of one another Having been created of one essence.

When the calamity of time afflicts one limb The other limbs cannot remain at rest.

(From Nobel Prize Speech 2003)

‘Contrary to what certain governments say, human rights are universal. Arbitrary detention, torture and discrimination hurt the human dignity of anybody, whatever his or her country of origin, religion, descent, or any other ground.’ (Source Third World Social Forum Speech 16/01/2004)

- Shirin Ebadi

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