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Democracy field notes

Edward Snowden and the Right of Public Refuge

Public rally in support of Edward Snowden, Garden Road, Hong Kong, June 2013. flickr/See-ming Lee

Along with contributions by Ulrich Beck, Julia Kristeva and others, the following short statement was published in Politiken, the largest-circulation daily newspaper in Denmark:

With a political noose tightening around his neck, Edward Snowden’s recent written testimony before the European Parliament bravely exposes the follies of ‘dragnet surveillance’ and makes powerfully clear the need for a new global agreement in support of the democratic rights of citizens, wherever they live on our planet. His measured words prompt a practical utopian proposal: Citizens of all countries, unite! Demand the right to defy the convenience of spies, their duty to delete stolen files, and the personal and group right to be different. Call on your governments to drop criminal charges, if any, against Edward Snowden and his heralds, including brave Julian Assange. Doubt GCHQ talk of ‘damaging public debate’. Call on those who govern your cities to make them safe havens. Demand that they become places of refuge where the friends of public openness are granted safe passage, so that they may hold their heads high, freed from threats of murder and prison, and the triple curse of fear, personal depression and the shame of being compulsorily forgotten.

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