Your Majesties, Your Highnesses, Distinguished Guests, Comrades and Friends:
Today, all of us do, by our presence here, and by our celebrations in other parts of our country and the world,confer glory and hope to newborn liberty.
Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud.
Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity’s belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all.
All this we owe both to ourselves and to the peoples of the world who are so well represented here today.
To my compatriots, I have no hesitation in saying that each one of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld.
Each time one of us touches the soil of this land, we feel a sense of personal renewal. The national mood changes as the seasons change.
We are moved by a sense of joy and exhilaration when the grass turns green and the flowers bloom.
That spiritual and physical oneness we all share with this common homeland explains the depth of the pain we all carried in our hearts as we saw our country tear itself apart in a terrible conflict, and as we saw it spurned, outlawed and isolated by the peoples of the world, precisely because it has become the universal base of the pernicious ideology and practice of racism and racial oppression.
We, the people of South Africa, feel fulfilled that humanity has taken us back into its bosom, that we, who were outlaws not so long ago, have today been given the rare privilege to be host to the nations of the world on our own soil.
We thank all our distinguished international guests for having come to take possession with the people of our country of what is, after all, a common victory for justice, for peace, for human dignity.
We trust that you will continue to stand by us as we tackle the challenges of building peace, prosperity, non-sexism,non-racialism and democracy.
We deeply appreciate the role that the masses of our people and their political mass democratic, religious, women, youth,business, traditional and other leaders have played to bring about this conclusion. Not least among them is my Second Deputy President, the Honourable F.W. de Klerk.
We would also like to pay tribute to our security forces, in all their ranks, for the distinguished role they have played in securing our first democratic elections and the transition to democracy, from blood-thirsty forces which still refuse to see the light.
The time for the healing of the wounds has come.
The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.
The time to build is upon us.
We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation. We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.
We succeeded to take our last steps to freedom in conditions of relative peace. We commit ourselves to the construction of a complete, just and lasting peace.
We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people. We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.
As a token of its commitment to the renewal of our country,the new Interim Government of National Unity will, as a matter of urgency, address the issue of amnesty for various categories of our people who are currently serving terms of imprisonment.
We dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines in this country and the rest of the world who sacrificed in many ways and surrendered their lives so that we could be free.
Their dreams have become reality. Freedom is their reward.
We are both humbled and elevated by the honour and privilege that you, the people of South Africa, have bestowed on us, as the first President of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa, to lead our country out of the valley of darkness.
We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom.
We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.
We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.
Let there be justice for all.
Let there be peace for all.
Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.
Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.
Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.
Let freedom reign.
The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!
ThinkProgress: The “whistleblowers” at today’s House Oversight Committee hearing on what really happened in Benghazi, Libya last September were supposed to break the dam that would lead to President Obama’s eventual downfall, in the eyes of conservatives. Instead, these witness actually served to debunk several theories that the right-wing has pushed on Benghazi, leaving the hearing a fizzle for the GOP…..
Charles Pierce: There has been quite a bit of hemming and hawing about the death penalty recently. Six states in six years — Maryland most recently, thanks to Esquire’s favorite BFF, Martin O’Malley — have abolished it. Ah, but that’s not to reckon with the great state of Florida, which this week will decide to grease the wheels of state-sanctioned killing, thanks to Governor Rick Scott, who really doesn’t have fk-all to lose at this point.
Governor Bat Boy is poised to sign the Timely Justice Act — Somebody grab Orwell before he throws himself off a cloud — which will restrict the right of Death Row inmates to appeal their sentences. The bill was passed through the legislature with the usual cool reason that we’ve come to expect from Republican state legislatures since the voters of the several states decided to make monkeyhouses out of them in 2010…..
First lady Michelle Obama speaks about the nation’s libraries and museums before handing out the 2013 National Medals for Museum and Library Service to recipients in the East Room of the White House, May 8
WSJ: Good news for job seekers: There were 3.3 unemployed workers for every posted job opening in November, the lowest ratio in more than four years.
….. despite fears of the then-imminent “Fiscal Cliff,” both workers and employers showed signs of confidence in November. Employers laid off 17,000 fewer workers than in October, and posted 11,000 more job openings. Some 46,000 more workers quit their jobs — a sign they see the job market as improving.
USA Today: President Obama will award a Medal of Honor to a staff sergeant who helped beat back one of the largest attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Clinton Romesha, 31, will the fourth living service member to receive the nation’s highest military award for valor in Afghanistan or Iraq; seven others who served in those wars have received the Medal of Honor posthumously.
ThinkProgress: Former Senator Jim DeMint, the new president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, has decried Obamacare as “a cancer” that is “is fundamentally inconsistent with liberty.” During the Senate Obamacare fight, DeMint famously declared “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”
But a new report from DeMint’s own organization suggests that, far from being incompatible with freedom, countries with health care systems with as much or significantly more government control over healthcare are the freest countries in the world.
Chicago Sun Times: Mayor Rahm Emanuel will be hosting the late-night post-inagural party on Jan. 21 in one of Washington’s newest venues, the Hamilton, just down the block from the White House. How late? Runs from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. in an event billed as a “Chicago-Style after hours.” (More here)
The White House has officially responded to the ‘We the People’ petition to commit the US to building a Death Star. Best line: “Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?” Next best: “The Administration does not support blowing up planets,” which may represent a slight shift from the position of the previous administration.
President Obama meets former Czech President Vaclav Havel during a summit between the United States and the 27-member European Union in Prague, Czech Republic, in this April 5, 2009 file photo. Havel, the dissident playwright who wove theater into politics to peacefully bring down communism in Czechoslovakia and become a hero of the epic struggle that ended the Cold War, died Sunday Dec. 18, 2011 in Prague. He was 75.
President Obama made the following statement on the death of Czech leader Vaclav Havel:
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing today of Vaclav Havel, a playwright and prisoner of conscience who became President of Czechoslovakia and of the Czech Republic. Having encountered many setbacks, Havel lived with a spirit of hope, which he defined as “the ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.” His peaceful resistance shook the foundations of an empire, exposed the emptiness of a repressive ideology, and proved that moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon. He played a seminal role in the Velvet Revolution that won his people their freedom and inspired generations to reach for self-determination and dignity in all parts of the world. He also embodied the aspirations of half a continent that had been cut off by the Iron Curtain, and helped unleash tides of history that led to a united and democratic Europe.
“Like millions around the world, I was inspired by his words and leadership, and was humbled to stand with the Czech people in a free and vibrant Hradcany Square as President. We extend our condolences to President Havel’s family and all those in the Czech Republic and around the world who remain inspired by his example. Vaclav Havel was a friend to America and to all who strive for freedom and dignity, and his words will echo through the ages.”
Morning everyone. A bit of a busy day ahead, but will catch up later