Obama extols non-violence, says Egyptians ‘inspired us’ (Lead)

February 12th, 2011 - 11:40 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, Feb 12 (IANS) US President Barack Obama, a self-confessed follower of Mahatma Gandhi and his ideals, heard echoes of history in the way Egyptians brought about change through nonviolence like Gandhi “leading his people down the path of justice.”"Egyptians have inspired us, and they’ve done so by putting the lie to the idea that justice is best gained through violence,” he said in praise of the Egyptian revolution hours after President Hosni Mubarak finally stepped down Friday.

“For in Egypt, it was the moral force of nonviolence - not terrorism, not mindless killing - but nonviolence, moral force that bent the arc of history toward justice once more,” Obama said in a six minute speech from the White House.

“And while the sights and sounds that we heard were entirely Egyptian, we can’t help but hear the echoes of history - echoes from Germans tearing down a wall, Indonesian students taking to the streets, Gandhi leading his people down the path of justice,” Obama said.

“As Martin Luther King said in celebrating the birth of a new nation in Ghana while trying to perfect his own, “There is something in the soul that cries out for freedom,” he said.

“Those were the cries that came from Tahrir Square, and the entire world has taken note.

“Today belongs to the people of Egypt, and the American people are moved by these scenes in Cairo and across Egypt because of who we are as a people and the kind of world that we want our children to grow up in,” Obama said.

“The word Tahrir means liberation. It is a word that speaks to that something in our souls that cries out for freedom.”

“And forevermore it will remind us of the Egyptian people - of what they did, of the things that they stood for, and how they changed their country, and in doing so changed the world,” Obama said.

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