Elie Wiesel is a Romanian Jew who survived Hitler’s concentration camps. He became a respected writer and campaigner against genocide and global injustices. In 1999 he spoke at the White House reflecting on the passing century. In a powerful and touching speech drawing from his own experiences, he confronted the ‘perils of indifference’ towards suffering.
In the spring of 1982 Argentine forces invaded the Falkland Islands in a running dispute over their sovereignty with the British. Prime Minister Thatcher ordered they be re-taken by force and gave a spirited defence of her decision in a speech that typified her resolve and patriotism.
Three weeks after the world-defining events of 9/11, Prime Minister Tony Blair addressed delegates at the Labour Party Conference. In a typical display of his oratorical skills, he pledged his support to America and urged a new world order built on justice and personal liberty.
Yesterday the first African-American President opened a memorial to Dr Martin Luther King Jr., the man who nearly fifty years ago stood out on the steps to the Lincoln Memorial and, in one of history’s finest speeches, told a crowd of over 200,000 about his dream of an America free from prejudice, hate and racial divisions, an America ‘free at last’.
On 4 April 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down and killed by a white supremacist. That evening Senator Robert F. Kennedy, on the campaign trail for the democratic presidential nomination, addressed a majority black crowd in Indianapolis calling for compassion, love and understanding in the wake of the murder.