Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning are treated as terrorists and criminals in U.S., but elsewhere in the world they are celebrated as heroes in the fight against corruption and global surveillance.
A statue recognising the courage of the three whistleblowers currently stands in Geneva, Switzerland, and the creator of the artwork is urging people to follow their example and “take a stand, because your liberty is at stake.”
Most of the US mainstream media has accepted the official U.S. government line that Assange, Snowden and Manning are traitors, and have attempted to call the actions and motivations of these the three whistleblowers into question.
However the creator of the artwork Davide Dormino believes that as the three whistleblowers all sacrificed their personal freedom in order to speak out, their motivations should not be questioned.
“They have lost their freedom for the truth, so they remind us how important it is to know the truth,” said the Italian sculptor Davide Dormino, during the unveiling.
Italian artist Davide Dormino stands on an empty chair in his installation “Anything to Say?”
The artwork is not only a tribute to the bravery of these three whistleblowers, but also serves as a call to the rest of us to take a stand, as the three are standing on chairs – and a fourth empty chair is placed next to them.
“The life size bronze sculpture portrays three figures, each one standing on a chair. The fourth chair is empty because it is our chair,” according to the installation’s website.
Many people, including children, have overcome their fears and stood up on the platform, some with a loudspeaker.
“People are saying many different things. From politics to babbling to silence, from people who desperately are wanting to help Julian, Bradley and Edward to people who have no idea who they are. This chair is, I guess, a place of free speech,” said Dormino.
Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, the website says, “had the courage to say no to the intrusion of global surveillance and to lies that lead to war. Both loved and hated, they chose to lose the comfort zone of their lives to tell the truth.”
Charles Glass, the author, journalist and broadcaster who inspired Davide Dormino’s artwork explains, “Thanks to Assange, Snowden and Manning, you know the limits of freedom. You know you are spied on every hour of every day. You know how governments kill and torture alleged enemies. Chelsea Manning is serving 35 years in an American federal prison. Julian Assange has been confined in England for four years … Edward Snowden is trapped in Moscow. We will honor their courage by erecting a monument, designed by Italian sculptor Davide Dormino.”
“Most statues in public spaces commemorate warriors. The Dormino statue pays homage to three who said no to war, to the lies that lead to war and to the intrusion into private life that helps to perpetuate war. Manning, Assange and Snowden accepted their loss of freedom. While you remain free, thank them by erecting this reminder that we can refuse to collaborate with unaccountable power.”