George Bush: 'Freedom will be the future of every nation on the earth'

From a speech by the US President in Freedom Square, Tbilisi, Georgia
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The Independent Online

You are making many important contributions to freedom's cause, but your most important contribution is your example. In recent months, the world has marvelled at the hopeful changes taking place from Baghdad to Beirut to Bishkek. But before there was a Purple Revolution in Iraq, or an Orange Revolution in Ukraine, or a Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, there was the Rose Revolution in Georgia. Your courage is inspiring democratic reformers and sending a message that echoes across the world: freedom will be the future of every nation and every people on the earth.

You are making many important contributions to freedom's cause, but your most important contribution is your example. In recent months, the world has marvelled at the hopeful changes taking place from Baghdad to Beirut to Bishkek. But before there was a Purple Revolution in Iraq, or an Orange Revolution in Ukraine, or a Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, there was the Rose Revolution in Georgia. Your courage is inspiring democratic reformers and sending a message that echoes across the world: freedom will be the future of every nation and every people on the earth.

Building a free society is the work of generations. It took nearly 15 years of struggle before liberty and justice fully took root in this country. Many of the students and workers who gathered here on this square 18 months ago were too young to remember the protests of 1989, but they took up freedom's cause and finished the work that their parents had begun.

Now, across the Caucasus, in central Asia and the broader Middle East, we see the same desire for liberty burning in the hearts of young people. They are demanding their freedom - and they will have it.

As free nations, the United States and Georgia have great responsibilities, and together we will do our duty. Free societies are peaceful societies. And by extending liberty to millions who have not known it, we will advance the cause of freedom, and the cause of peace.

In this global struggle for liberty, our duties begin at home. While peaceful revolutions can bring down repressive regimes, the real changes and the real challenge is to build up free institutions in their place. This is difficult work, and you are undertaking it with dignity and determination. You have taken tough steps to reform your economy and to crack down on corruption. You are building a democratic society where the rights of minorities are respected, where a free press flourishes, a vigorous opposition is welcome, and unity is achieved through peace. In this new Georgia, the rule of law will prevail, and freedom will be the birthright of every citizen.

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