My country,’ tis of thee,
sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing;
land where my fathers died,
land of the pilgrims’ pride,
from every mountainside let freedom ring!
That has been a rallying cry and song heard at many a patriotic gathering in America. It has also served as a beacon of hope to many freedom seeking peoples around the world. America has always been known as the “sweet land of liberty” and forever embellished in our American psyche are the words “Let Freedom Ring.”
Perhaps those words have been shouted on the streets of Tehran as freedom loving Iranians have battled for their freedom.
And perhaps they stopped on occasion to see if in fact from every American mountainside they could hear our encouraging words…”let freedom ring.”
And no doubt they looked to Washington D.C. to see if the OOTUS [pronounced “Otis” (Obamessiah of the United States)] would send a message of stern rebuke, backed up by punishing actions, to the Iranian leaders and a loud shout of encouragement to the freedom fighters…a message of “we are with you!”
How many Iranian university professors told their students about another freedom fight in Europe nearly thirty years ago when a labor movement brought freedom to a nation under the jackboot of Soviet oppresion? Perhaps they hoped to hear words from the Oval Office not too far removed from these words:
As I speak to you tonight, the fate of a proud and ancient nation hangs in the balance. For a thousand years, Christmas has been celebrated in Poland, a land of deep religious faith, but this Christmas brings little joy to the courageous Polish people. They have been betrayed by their own government.
The men who rule them and their totalitarian allies fear the very freedom that the Polish people cherish. They have answered the stirrings of liberty with brute force, killings, mass arrests, and the setting up of concentration camps. Lech Walesa and other Solidarity leaders are imprisoned, their fate unknown. Factories, mines, universities, and homes have been assaulted.
The Polish Government has trampled underfoot solemn commitments to the UN Charter and the Helsinki accords. It has even broken the Gdansk agreement of August 1980, by which the Polish Government recognized the basic right of its people to form free trade unions and to strike.
The tragic events now occurring in Poland, almost 2 years to the day after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, have been precipitated by public and secret pressure from the Soviet Union. It is no coincidence that Soviet Marshal Kulikov, chief of the Warsaw Pact forces, and other senior Red Army officers were in Poland while these outrages were being initiated. And it is no coincidence that the martial law proclamations imposed in December by the Polish Government were being printed in the Soviet Union in September.
The target of this repression is the Solidarity Movement, but in attacking Solidarity its enemies attack an entire people. Ten million of Poland’s 36 million citizens are members of Solidarity. Taken together with their families, they account for the overwhelming majority of the Polish nation. By persecuting Solidarity the Polish Government wages war against its own people.
I urge the Polish Government and its allies to consider the consequences of their actions. How can they possibly justify using naked force to crush a people who ask for nothing more than the right to lead their own lives in freedom and dignity? Brute force may intimidate, but it cannot form the basis of an enduring society, and the ailing Polish economy cannot be rebuilt with terror tactics.
Poland needs cooperation between its government and its people, not military oppression. If the Polish Government will honor the commitments it has made to human rights in documents like the Gdansk agreement, we in America will gladly do our share to help the shattered Polish economy, just as we helped the countries of Europe after both World Wars.
It’s ironic that we offered, and Poland expressed interest in accepting, our help after World War II. The Soviet Union intervened then and refused to allow such help to Poland. But if the forces of tyranny in Poland, and those who incite them from without, do not relent, they should prepare themselves for serious consequences. Already, throughout the Free World, citizens have publicly demonstrated their support for the Polish people. Our government, and those of our allies, have expressed moral revulsion at the police state tactics of Poland’s oppressors. The Church has also spoken out, in spite of threats and intimidation. But our reaction cannot stop there.
I want emphatically to state tonight that if the outrages in Poland do not cease, we cannot and will not conduct “business as usual” with the perpetrators and those who aid and abet them. Make no mistake, their crime will cost them dearly in their future dealings with America and free peoples everywhere. I do not make this statement lightly or without serious reflection.
We have been measured and deliberate in our reaction to the tragic events in Poland. We have not acted in haste, and the steps I will outline tonight and others we may take in the days ahead are firm, just, and reasonable.
In order to aid the suffering Polish people during this critical period, we will continue the shipment of food through private humanitarian channels, but only so long as we know that the Polish people themselves receive the food. The neighboring country of Austria has opened her doors to refugees from Poland. I have therefore directed that American assistance, including supplies of basic foodstuffs, be offered to aid the Austrians in providing for these refugees.
But to underscore our fundamental opposition to the repressive actions taken by the Polish Government against its own people, the administration has suspended all government-sponsored shipments of agricultural and dairy products to the Polish Government. This suspension will remain in force until absolute assurances are received that distribution of these products is monitored and guaranteed by independent agencies. We must be sure that every bit of food provided by America goes to the Polish people, not to their oppressors.
The United States is taking immediate action to suspend major elements of our economic relationships with the Polish Government. We have halted the renewal of the Export-Import Bank’s line of export credit insurance to the Polish Government. We will suspend Polish civil aviation privileges in the United States. We are suspending the right of Poland’s fishing fleet to operate in American waters. And we’re proposing to our allies the further restriction of high technology exports to Poland.
These actions are not directed against the Polish people. They are a warning to the Government of Poland that free men cannot and will not stand idly by in the face of brutal repression. To underscore this point, I’ve written a letter to General Jaruzelski, head of the Polish Government. In it, I outlined the steps we’re taking and warned of the serious consequences if the Polish Government continues to use violence against its populace. I’ve urged him to free those in arbitrary detention, to lift martial law, and to restore the internationally recognized rights of the Polish people to free speech and association.
President Ronald Reagan, Address to the Nation About Christmas and the Situation in Poland
December 23, 1981
(Hat tip to Mark Levin for the reminder on his show this evening about this speech)
Instead, for nearly a week Iranian Freedom Fighters, great patriots of liberty heard silence. What must they have thought could cause the delay? No doubt they never imagined that the OOTUS would wait for the focus group results to get in before Barack Obama would release a statement on Iran.
And if the Iranians believed the mainstream media’s nonsensical comparisons of Obama to Reagan, imagine the disappointment and disillusionment when they read the following press release:
The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.
As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.
Martin Luther King once said – â€œThe arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.â€ I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoplesâ€™ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.
“The United States is taking immediate action to suspend major elements of our economic relationships with the Polish Government” vs “The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching”.
The opportunity in Iran was lost on Friday. You have a nation surrounded by two newly formed democracies. You also have a nation that is not Arab but Persian. With the Iranian Republican Guard coming out and saying they would CRUSH (their word) any remaining resistance…this will all be over by Thursday.
This was their 1776 and we could have been their France, instead we will go down has their Netherlands…do nothing until freedom is won. The problem is I don’t think they can win. I hope I’m wrong.
Instead of hearing from American “Let Freedom Ring” they heard from the most powerful man in the world…”Let Freedom Rot”
Forgive us Neda.
Forgive us Iran.
Forgive us Lord Jesus.