Category Archives: Speeches

Speech: “Imperialism, racism, and torture”

This is the text of a speech I gave at a panel Stanford Says No to War hosted called “It’s All About U.S.: Questioning U.S. Militarism”. This speech was given on May 26th, 2010 and is the last speech I gave at Stanford.


During the Nuremberg Trials, the chief American prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson, famously stated: “To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” America has a long history of war and its accumulated evils. It began as thirteen small colonies that sat along the Atlantic coast. In over a century, the United States expanded all the way to the Pacific Ocean – from sea to shining sea. The process was not pretty. It involved the genocide of the native Americans and the enslavement of millions of black Africans whose free labor was needed to fuel the American capitalist economy. At the dawn of the twentieth century, the United States began to colonize other lands, such as Hawaii, the Philippines and Cuba. Since then, it has occupied and militarily intervened in several parts of the globe, such as in Latin America, Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. And let’s not forget the many democratically-elected leaders America overthrew in places like Chile and Iran. The United States currently occupies two countries – Iraq and Afghanistan – and has a network of over 700 bases across the planet. Thus, the United States is an empire. Read the rest of this entry »


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Gitmo Rally Speech (March 6, 2008)

Perhaps the biggest moment that changed my life was the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I was thirteen at the time and I almost remember that day like it was yesterday. Before 9/11, I believed that America was safe and never did I imagine such an attack would occur in my country. That event destroyed my sense of security. What made 9/11 even more personal for me is the fact that my cousin used to work at the World Trade Center – on the 89th floor. Fortunately, he was late for work that day and when he got off the subway, he was told to go back because the first plane had hit. As the events of the day unfolded I, my family and my friends stared at our TV screens in shock, horror and confusion. I realized that my life would never be the same. As I approach the age of twenty, I am more cognizant of the world and the suffering that exists within it. Read the rest of this entry »


Delta Gents Speech (given February 20, 2008)

On December 23, 1776, Thomas Paine wrote in The American Crisis:

“These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

Obviously, the times Thomas Paine talked about are different from today but his words capture the essence of the emergency this nation is in today. Ever since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, this nation, through fear, has been led down a dangerous path that could erode the most sacred principles on which it was built. Read the rest of this entry »

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