tv Iraqi Member of Parliament Vian Dakhil Speaks Out Against U.S. Travel Ban CSPAN February 21, 2017 2:36pm-3:30pm EST
washington, franklin roosevelt and theodore roosevelt. dwies ic dwight eisenhower is i the top five for the first time in year. harry truman, thomas jefferson, john f. kennedy and ronald reagan, lyndon johnson jumps up one spot this year to return to the top ten. but pity pennsylvania's james buchanan, ranked dead last in all three c-span surveys. and there's bad news for andrew jackson as well. our seventh president found his overall rating dropping this year from number 13 to number 18. but the survey had good news for outgoing president barack obama. for time on the list, historians place him at number 12 overall. george w. bush moving to 33 overall with big gains in public persuasion and relations with
congress. how did historians rate your favorite president? who are the leaders and losers in each of the ten categories? find all this and more on our website at c-span.org. >> the lantos foundation for human rights injustice presented an iraqi member of parliament with their 2016 prize. receiving the prize for defending thea zitty people against isis. she urged president trump to reconsider the executive order on immigration. portions of this nearly hour-long event are in arabic. >> thank you, everybody. we would like to ask to you take your seats if possible. it is my honor today to welcome each and every one of you to honor the courage and commitment of ceyaf np we are grateful for
the vision you have demonstrated as you stand up to fearlessly plead to the world to help your embattled people. we are grateful that you and your sister are here today. while vean has been take together world to rehabilitate her people, her sister escaped rape and brutalized by isis. today we remember two passed recipients of the latos prize who moved forward on their journey this year. their words, very relevant words honor them more than we ever could. both had so much wisdom on the subjects that confront us now and i would like it share a couple of their thoughts with us quickly before we move on with our program.
elly observed that opposite of love is not hate. the opposite of faith is not hercy, it's indifference. opposite of life is not death, it's indifference. perres observed that most important thing in live is to dare. the most complicated thing in life is to be afraid. and the smartest thing is to try to be a moral person. we are so grateful that you vian will join the great men and are daring in not being indifferent. we thank you all for being here with that purpose. thank you. plaus [ applause ] [ applause ]
goal that needs protection and other place, friendship. >> so for me, the people are the greatest in history and nazi is the greatest crime and -- [ inaudible ] >>. >> good afternoon. on behalf of the lantos family it is my prif yej to welcome you to this year's presentation of the lantos prize. we have come together this morning to honor the heres wioi
vian dakhil. her actions saved tens of thousands of her people from genocide at the hands of isis. perhaps because this is a moment when the world is in need of heros. we are joined today by an extraordinary collection of lawmakers and leaders representatives from the diplomatic core and other distinguished guests who want
to join with us in recognizing your work, vian. we are honored to have leader nancy pelosi present with us along with other members of congress, including jim costa, elliott ing el, bill flores, hastings, jill mcgovern, jim is her ron ski, frank wolf, and ala.j.ian lowen all this. we are honored to be joined -- [ applause ]
we are honored to be joined by many ambassadors and representatives of the dip who rattic core including robert king. am bat dors from u ne please welcome me in welcoming ambassadors. we would like to extend our gratitude to the
many individuals who have worked to make this event possible. among them jarod againster for his work to get vian here and we are so glad that you are here. [ applause ] former resip yent of the lant oes price, kate kinzce, kate ke.
kate king from the lantos foundation advisory board and jian leeyang as well. thank you, all. [ applause ] vian, we are here because of you but we are also here because in your story we recognize our own. we see the story of migrandmother who had to swim a river on christmas day, 73 years ago, in the hopes that those on the other side who are not of her faith and not of her heritage would welcome her and give her another chance at life. i see the story of my wife's family that came to this country to flee religious persecution, many generations ago. we know that at any time your story could become our own. so we are here today because of you but we are also here today because we share in a common
struggle. that is a struggle that we must continue together. the principles that unite us are not unique to democrats or republicans. they are not the domain of liberals or conservatives. they are not unique to any sectarian group or demographic. they are the common inheritance of human kind. together we work together to affirm and uphold that common inter tans. we are joined by an incredible group of speakers who will help us mark this occasion and help us affirm you'affirm her adeals. we will first here from david saperstein ak bat dar at large for religious freedom. >> i know i speak for every
single person gathered here when i say how happy we are that you are here. [ applause ] we give you this, we are present to you soon this lantos human rights prides bearing the name of one of our nation's greatest champions of human rights end of religious freedom. a legacy carried on so ableably by the entire family and i particularly want to honor my friend and colleague, katrina la lantos, who does such an extraordinary job in the same field. when it appeared that you might not be able to enter the u.s. due to recent actions, of our government, a bipartisan effort to ensure that you were here immediately ensued. i remain hopeful that a situation in which a courageous human rights hero such as you should not be equally welcome to our country, will lead decision
makers to make changes in how we go about the legitimate goal and concern providing security and to rethink the broader implications of how we do it for this proud nation of immigrants as president kennedy once called america so fittingly. over two years ago when isis launched a campaign against thea siddy people it was just at the point where i was nominated for international religious freedom ambassador at large. and i was fully briefed on everything taking place. i was proud, as i know all of you are, of the action of our president. to prevent this potential genocide. now as proud as well that the extensive network of contacts that the international religious freedom office cultivated with yazidis and others in iraq and
communities here contributed significantly to those very early efforts to get aid to the people and to halt the brutal massacre. my friends, it is hard to fully convey just how influential, indeed pivotal, vian dakhil, to rouse a different world to act. truly your words that day were incontravertable evidence that one voice can make a difference. i, as so many others here, will long remember the impact that you had at that crucial moment when you spoke out on that faithful day, vian, you were not only defending your brothers and sisters and pleading their cause to a heedless world, with you are imploring some of the rights that we as americans cherished and defended. the right of freedom of religion, conscious and belief, rights of minority to enjoy full
and equal rights as citizens. when we speak of freedom of religion we are speaking of all of us to live our lives according to the dictates of our kun traits, to be free to live with integrity and conviction whether we are muslim, crist nan, yazidi, muslim, jew, free-thinker, we must protect that most basic right, they are not only doing the right thing but doing one of the most important things any country can do to build a tolerant stable healthy prosperous and descent society for all their people. but we celebrate today not only your courage at that given moment, but your work and your messages since. in our meetings you and i are discussed at greatest lengths and i've heard you make these arguments compellingly that for iraq to succeed it must empower its minorities including the
yazidi commune it to contribute fully in shaping the future of their nation. you have not let the world in the plight of yazidi women held captive nor the desperate needs of released captives. you have challenged the international commune it to insure that massive amounts of aid being supplied to displaced communities reach the people it is aimed that the ways that are effective. and you should know, that this helped shape the way we train soldiers now with the iraqi army to go on rescue missions as soon as opportunities arise and the way that united states government is delivering aid at this time. vian, in the cycle of the annual holidays of my faith tradition, jewish tradition, the next holiday just weeks from now is that of pour yum. which commemorates a story of queenester in the bible.yum. which commemorates a story of queenester in the bible.
she has perhaps the first woman lobbyist in the history of the world. she use id her access to powera save her people. vian, when you stood up that day to save the yazidis in iraq a proud ancient community, you stood as modern queen esther. for your courage in doing so, we honor you today and pledge we will stand with you and for you and for your people in the coming days and years and may we also act as see your dreams indeed all our dreams the safety and well-being of the yazidi people fully realized. congratulations, my friend. [ applause ] >> thank you ambassador sapper
steen. we would also like to recognize a very distinguished guest who joined us, past recipient of the lantos prize, chang wau chang, chang. our next speaker will be the democratic leader of the united states house of representatives, nancy pelosi. >> good morning, everyone. what a glorious morning it is. when we all can come together in memory of great champion for human rights, tom lantos. to be with his family, which has carried on a great tradition of respect for the dignity and worth of every person wherever the persons are in the world. rabbi sapper steen has made the case so clearly for our distinguished awardy today.
i want to talk for a moment about tom lantos. because our colleagues who are here and bipartisan way, know the fights that he has made. i know anita lowy was here, i'm not sure if she was acknowledged, our top democrat on the appropriations committee, and what you should really know is that she has been a champion for women's rights and leadership throughout the world. mr. wolf introduced as member of congress, and always will be, his legacy lives on. it was an honor to serve with him and he worked with tom on these human rights issues so relentlessly and his legacy lives on in congress and the country as well. so when chang wau chang was introduced with such great pride we welcome back as a former
capital recipient of the lantos award. we didn't know much about the yazidi people until an attempted genocide took place. we are proud of president obama for the quick action he took to bring relief and show we were associated with your plight. your voice, so strong, in the parliament was a voice heard around the world and taught people about your faith and your plight and here you are today to receive the tom lantos award. an award given, i had the privilege of giving it to his holiness, the dalai lama in 2009. you saw that to the people who left us this year, shimon peres, i had the honor of going to phi funeral with president obama. and i went to elie's funeral
service with his family. we've had many honors. but to be associated with the lantos foundation and the work that they do is an association of values. of good spirit and of making decisions. so tom used to say, we have to support human rights wherever it is. whether it's some people say well because of the strategic location after particular country we can't say this or that. but he helped us on the armenian genocide to address the concerns of those people. because of the size and commercial relationship with have with china. if we refuse to speak out for human rights because of geography and because of economics, we lose all moral authority to speak out for human rights wherever they are violated in the world. tom also said, he said this and i will remember this conversation forever, because we all celebrated so much when he
became the chairman of the foreign affairs committee pap dream for him, right, annette? to become the chairman of foreign affairs. a glorious day around the world. because people knew of the values he brought it that position. but one of my frustrations, tom i just don't understand why people are all not doing what you are giving us the lead to do. he said, remember this, nancy, nancy, the path on human rights is a very long one. it takes time. you cannot give up. you must always persist. and it was good advice. because you know, being politicians, we like results. diplomats take a little longer and human rights even longer than that. but i'm so glad that jim mcgovern is carrying on the tradition in the tom lantos commission on human rights and congress of the united states. we all ne that, because tom
lantos taught us, that path is a long one. i hope it's not so long for you with the increased and communications and the rest, you have shortened the distance between what was inconceivable to your oppressors and inevitable to you that you would prevail and be here today. sorry for some obstacles that came out. will are the rabbi addressed those. i won't go there. but didn't he make a wonderful case for our recipient today to receive the tom lantos award? wasn't that a beautiful, beautiful presentation? [ applause ] so it is my honor today to join in the presentation of this award of the 2016 lantos prize, to vian dakhil, and to say this,some distinguished people
have received it. i know that they would all be honored to know that you also are a recipient. they brought luster to this award. you are bringing luster to this already glorious award. on behalf of my colleagues here, past and present, democrat and republicans, congratulations to you. thank you for your courage, thank you for teaching the world that with strength and with an important courage and message that you put forth, you made a tremendous difference and greatly, as i said, shorten the distance between the inevitable and inconceivable to some. c congratulations. we will have a film on this. but let us all once again rejoice in this wonderful presentation. [ applause ]
isis has targeted you. how worried are you, even just sitting here today? >> i'm not thinking about my life. i'm thinking, how can i help those people, those poor people. how can this small girl maybe nine or ten help her when i'm thinking about that, i say my life is nothing. >> it was my privilege to fight against naziism and it is my privilege to fight against communism and it is now my privilege to fight against islamic terrorism, determined to take us back 13 centuries. ♪ ♪
good morning, ladies and gentlemen. i would like to give my speech in my nationality language, arabic. i think you can translate in kurdish. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> translator: i came to you from baghdad. from the house of peace. from the cradle of civilization. not from harvard university, of terrorists. ladies and gentlemen, my best regards. and thank you for this valuable opportunity. to be amongst you today. and to thank you for the lantos foundation.
that they exert to protect human right and social justice. i came to you from my country, iraq. from kyrgyzstan of iraq. a country intense with suffering. a people that were struggling for decades undfrom dictatorial regime. suffering from placement and wars and oppression. after the positive for all that, united states plays into liberate us from this dictatorial regime. our people suffered from al qaeda. which the whole world suffered from.
and now, we are suffering from isil terrorism. that you're all standing with us to eradicate them. there is no component of people that didn't suffer oppression. shia. shunys. the kurds. the christians. and the yazidis. the 1700 speicher base. of course for those who don't know speicher, it is an american soldier, that was killed on that base. therefore they named after his -- they named the base after his name for his memory.
speicher. kidnapping shia women. ex termination of our tribtermi. displacing christians. thousands of hmer tires p peshmerga. all of these are witnesses and prove as terrorism targeting all of us. despite the ordeal passed through us. the yazidi tragedy is still the biggest and most horrifying. it is a true disaster and it is a genocide. against a religious component. it a one of the minorities in iraq.
but it is the original iraq. and one of the oldest people inhabited that land. more than 3,000 yazidi men were killed. invasion of isil to our cities and villages of 2014. more than 6700 women, girl and baby girl of yazidis were kidnapped. they were raped. and raped. tortured. they were sold as slaves in the market. children were taken way from their mothers. little girls were sold on the markets. the cheapest prices. the lila zidy girl sold for a
few dollars. nine years old girls were raped in front of their family members. and among them some of them were gang raped. there is a shia court in mosul to sell and rent yazidi girls and women. it is true that we are with the help of kyrgyzstan government we were able to liberate 2800 yazidi women. but still more than 3800 yazidi girl and women in captivity in isil.
420,000 yazidis leaving in refugee camps in kyrgyzstan. 80% of our villages and cities are completely destroyed. tons of mass graves that that contain the remains of women and children. this is our tragedy. that still keeps going until now. it didn't end. we need a stand from the international community to get over this ordeal. we need your help to retake our captives. to provide the psychological
care that captives were suffering and tortured. the children that they forget their names and even their family members. the orphans that they lost all of their families, they need to be taken care of. we need to rebuild our cities and villages. >> before that, we need to build a bridges of trust between our communities to be able to live. i believe in the united states rules and protecting human rights. and the influence of the united states and united nation's security council. that's why i'm calling for
united states to use its influence and to consider what happened the crime that happened to yazidis as genocide. to preserve the rights of those who suffer the injustice and oppression from this terrorist organization. now after all you have heard now, would you be surprised just the way i was surprised of the united states president decision and order to ban iraqis from entering the united states? is it strange that president of the united states will equalize between the victim and the executioner?
and i'm agreeing with any president of any country to have its own policy and strategy to preserve the countries security and safety in its people. but iraq, that fought terrorism on its land. and behalf of the whole world. and paid thousands of souls and wounded as a price for this war. thu thus thousands of widow answers orphans were left behind.ousand orphans were left behind. iraqi soldiers' blood were mixed with american soldiers' blood on the iraqi soil. we appreciate that there gave exception for minorities.
but it is not unjust and unfair to enlist iraqis with country - enlist iraqis with country -- iraq is on the front lines of the fighting, isil organization and fighting terrorism. and itself is taking leadership to fighting terrorism on iraqi soil. >> and now iraq is classified as a country that is banned from entering the united states. we were and still looking forward to having stronger ties of friendship with united states. but we were shocked what the
united states president latest order. now, by this decision, with this order, we were equalized with the terrorists. i'm standing here to receive your appreciation for defending the yazidi's rights. this minority was prosecuted by isil terrorist organization. without the exceptional efforts of our friends, i wouldn't be able to stand here and talk to you now. but what about hundreds of families that are stranded on the borders? that they are escape terrorism.
these families were looking forward to find shelter and safety in the country of human rights and democracy. those poor victims, they have no one to help them and the united states is closing its doors in their faces. at last, finally, our dear friends, mr. president donald trump, iraq is not a terrorist. iraqis are not terrorists. we are friends and allies. and we are looking forward to have exceptional relationship with all countries. especially with united states of america.
will the people of the united states of america.tll the peopl states of america.hll the peopl states of america. the people o states of america. the people o states of america. we wish that you united states administration will reconsider this unfair order against the iraqis. thank you so much. [ applause ]
what an incredible address. maybe the most powerful address ever given by a lantos prize recipient. we thank you for that, vian. i'm katrina lantos swett and it is my opportunity to close our gathering today. before i close my remarks i would like you all to join me in recognizing the real work of human rights that my father in engaged in for almost three decades in the congress, and that's my mother, mrs. annette lantos. [ applause ] those who know, know she was always the heart, the soul and the inspiration. >> proud to be her daughter and
everyday we try to live up to the incredible legacy she has bestowed upon us of fighting for decency and rights justice for everyone. so we are grateful you are here. i want to thank all of you for joining us all for the lantos human rights ceremony. it is always our hope that our guests will leave these gatherings inspired and i have no doubt that will be the case today. but even more than inspired. i think that today each one of us should feel challenged by what we have seen and heard. i know i do. and every time i watch the video of vian's remarkable speech before the iraqi parliament, i am riveted by the passionate searing appeal she is making to arouse the conscious after callous and different world. i don't know if you listen carefully, but if you do, you
can hear the sound of an unseen voice attempting to shush vian. in effect, saying, calm down, don't make a scene, no one wants to hear you. i am so grateful vian would not be shushed. would not quiet down. that the cause of her people was more important to her than the nice nicety of parliament decorum. when i see her speech, i am challenged to be braver, and more impassioned in my own defense of the defenseless. to be willing to take more risks, to stand up for my fellow human beings and the most basic human rights. when i revisit that powerful moment, i find myself asking what if. what if vian had not spoken out. what if her words had not broken through the smug and distracted indifference that so often
characterizes those in positions of power and influence and quite frankly all of us. we can never fully know what alternate outcome would have been. but we can say with assurance that tens of thousands more lives would have been lost and this proud and ancient faith community might have been lost to the world. we find ourselves at an interesting and challenging moment in our nation's history. a time when many important voices are questioning the value or the validity of america's moral leadership in the world. some are counting the costs of such leadership. and finding it too high. while others question our claim to the mantle of such leadership at all. so i am compelled to ask again, what if. what if over the past century america had not stepped up to
shoulder the responsibility of leading the free world, not only as a defender of its security but even more importantly as the defender of its principles, its commitment to democracy and universal human rights. i have no doubt that we would all be living in a darker and far less descent world. for all her faults, i believe it is indisputable that america has been a force for enormous good, both at home and abroad. and so that leads us to yet another what if. what if our country now chooses to step back from its leadership role. what if we now indeed think only of america first? if we walk away from our duties and responsibilities to our own heritage and, yes, to the world. in the ancient region where the
yazidi people and millions of others dwell we are in a crucial battle to defeat isis and restore peace to the lands. i am confident we will win that fight. but it'll be a short-lived victory if we are not ready to then shoulder the bigger task, the task vian has called us to, of helping to rebuild the communities on the firm foundation of respect for the human rights and dignity of all people. we owe that to vian. we owe that to the yazidi community. and to the millions of others in that region who have suffered unspeakably at the hand of terrorists and governments alike. and we owe it to our best selves. i pray it is a debt that we will not leave unpaid. my late father tom land yoes is
remembered for his eloquent words that the veneer of civilization is paper thin. we are its guardians. and we can never rest. when he spoke of guardians, he meant you and me. and so my challenge to all of us guardians is, let us not fail. let us never rest. thank you very much. and thank you for joining us for the lantos human rights prize ceremony. we hope to see you all again next year. [ applause ]
every night this week while congress is on break we show american history tv programs normally seen on the weekend here on c-span 3. tonight the internment of japanese americans starting at 8:00 eastern with a news reel on relocation. followed by a tour of the japanese-american national museum. and the discussion about the japanese-american experience during world war ii. american history tv, and prime time, tonight at 8:00 eastern. c-span where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as public service by america's cable television companies and brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> officials with the capitol police, library of congress, architect of the