One of the things I always tell college students in the U.S. when I talk to them is that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. And it’s this quote by Martin Luther King: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” As citizens of the world, we have a moral obligation to ensure that when something is happening to someone that is unjust, we speak up, we denounce, we do something to change that situation. And to my friends in the U.S., to my people watching this interview, I hope that they’ll reflect on the meanings of those words from Martin Luther King.
To people working in closed, nondemocratic, despotic regimes, I think the Arab Spring has shown us that change is possible. Six months ago I could not have imagined an Egypt without Mubarak, a Libya without Gaddafi, et cetera. And today we know for sure that when people come together, we can actually change our situation. Senegal is another example where – I was in Senegal a month before Wade went to the election booth or election ballots to try to prolong his stay in power. And seeing young artists, young people come together to say that was not going to happen, then three months later finding that that did not happen because the people stood together and stood against tyranny and stood against dictatorship gives me hope.
I think what is happening in China today is another place where I draw a lot of hope from. There was a time when political prisoners in China were not known. Right now when there is a political prisoner in China, the U.S. and the international community is there to support that. Definitely access to information, social media, new technologies gives me hope that we as a humanity, as a society, as a global community, we can actually spread freedom around the world faster than we could a few years ago. When a political prisoner in Zimbabwe knows that within hours, their condition, their status can be known by thousands of people that can sign a petition to an influential government, to an influential decision-maker, that is real power that can help us change our current situations.