Supporters marked Julian Assange’s 50th birthday on July 3rd, 2021 with music, speeches and birthday celebrations at Belmarsh prison, where Julian remains incarcerated. These birthday messages of solidarity from John Pilger, Andrew Feinstein and Chris Williamson to Julian were read out to supporters.
From John Pilger:
Julian had not turned 40 when I met him. What struck me straightaway was the clear-headed boldness of his vision for WikiLeaks. It is our moral right, he said, to demand transparency from governments and all vested power. It is a human right as sacred as freedom itself – because without it, there is no freedom of speech, no freedom to publish, no freedom to be a true journalist.
This is his principle. He has no interest in personal gain, or self-aggrandisement. And if this sounds too high-minded, he also has a wicked sense of humour and irony.
What I saw in those early days was a man more than willing to face off the enemies of freedom, the guardians of secrecy. The resilience that is keeping him alive here in Belmarsh was evident then. I would call it courage. If Julian walks free later in the year – as I believe he will – his courage will have triumphed.
On his birthday, I say to my friend: Julian, 50 is a great age. Take satisfaction, and comfort and hope from the appreciation of so many of us, whose freedoms you have fought for.
From Andrew Feinstein:
As Julian turns 50 we must raise our voices ever louder to protest his illegal and indefensible incarceration.
Julian is in jail for practising journalism, journalism that has revealed the corrupt, murderous behaviour of those who govern us. Like few others, he speaks truth to power and does so with words and documents from our rulers’ mouths, which they cannot deny or gainsay.
Every day Julian spends in jail corrodes our ‘democracies’ further, undermines the rule of law and makes us all poorer and less safe.
Julian, you symbolise our hope for a more democratic, less corrupt, fairer, more peaceful and safer world. We salute you and will continue to stand with you. Of our governments, we demand that Julian is freed Now!
From Chris Williamson:
Julian, you are an inspiration to the world, and a role model for others to follow.
It’s an absolute scandal that you continue to languish in a high security prison on British soil, when you’ve committed no crime.
As long as you remain behind bars, Britain has no moral authority to rebuke other countries about human rights.
The ministerial objections to the house arrest in Iran of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and the government’s protestations about Russia imprisoning Alexei Navalny, reek of rank hypocrisy.
They should get their own house in order before they start lecturing other nations.
And we know why they’re punishing you Julian, don’t we?
It’s because you pulled back the veil of respectability, behind which the US and UK were concealing their dirty dealings and ongoing imperialist intentions.
Julian, you provided the evidence that proves our so-called democratic governments are in the pockets of the military industrial complex and other global corporations.
These vested interests thrive on the public’s ignorance.
As far as they’re concerned, a truthteller like you is an abomination.
You are a man they had to silence at all costs, because you embody George Orwell’s celebrated line that: “speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act”.
And the corporate media are complicit in that universal deceit.
Their role is to manufacture consent for a sordid status quo.
A status quo, that sees poverty and inequality on the increase.
A status quo, that enables corporations to make huge profits from killing people through arms sales and wars.
And a status quo, that poses an existential threat to humanity, by failing to take the necessary steps to prevent potential climate catastrophe.
It’s up to us to be your voice now Julian.
To demand justice for you and the world.
To constantly remind people that, as you yourself have said Julian, “Nearly every war that has started in the past 50 years has been a result of media lies”.
And to raise political consciousness, because you were completely correct to say: “Our number one enemy is ignorance”.
We have a duty to you Julian, because you are being persecuted for telling the truth.
For giving us the information necessary to hold the powerful to account for their actions.
And for daring to break the silence about the abuse of state and corporate power, that’s prevailed for far too long.
We thank you for your tenacity.
We salute you for your bravery.
We applaud you for your sacrifice.
And we will not rest, until you are a free man again.
And despite the circumstances in which you find yourself Julian, I hope you can gain some enjoyment today from the fact that so many people are thinking about you on your birthday.