Najwa Badawi, daughter of jailed Saudi democracy activist Raif Badawi, addressed the 2019 Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy — see quotes below.
“Why are you in prison Daddy? It is the question that haunts me every day. I know that you are not a criminal or a mugger; you are a peaceful person who loves others and wishes them goodness.
“I will not stop until you hold me in your warm arms and wipe my tears with you loving hands.”
Full remarks, as delivered at the UN Opening Session:
Daddy, believe me, I never imagined living without you. I never thought that you will not wake me up every morning to go to school as you always did.
I never imagined that.
I still remember what you once said: “We want life for those who wish death to us, and we want rationality for those who wish ignorance for us.”
You are in prison, away from me, because of your fight for such ideals.
I cannot forget your compassionate smile every time I misbehave.
I always wondered why my mother tried to hide the fact that you were in prison.
And I and my brother and sister were asking ourselves in secret how we can get you out of prison. Meriam said she will go to Saudi Arabia, break the prison and hit all the guards and get Daddy out of there, “Daddy has to come back home.”
Why are you in prison, Daddy?
It is the question that haunts me every day. I know that you are not a criminal or a mugger—you are a peaceful person who loves others and wishes them goodness.
After Mama told me that you are in prison because of your support of liberal ideas, I googled your name in English and Arabic and I was surprised to see the size of support and empathy that your case
I know them by their names, Daddy, and I am grateful to them on your behalf.
Let me confide to you that if it were not for the strength of my mother, Ensaf, we would have suffered more from your absence. Yes, Mama is strong, so do not worry, and she now and since six years is doing what you used to do for us to compensate for your absence—but your absence cannot be compensated, Daddy. It cannot be compensated.
To the free people of the world, to the Geneva Summit for Human Rights, and to every free and independent voice defending my father: words cannot express my gratitude for everything you are doing for my father. You are setting a human rights example. So thank you, thank you again and again.
I will be waiting for you, Daddy. I with Doudy, Meriam, and Mama—we will all be waiting and will be strong for you. We will wait for the day when we see the airplane landing in Montreal airport and you will then see me waiting at the front line crying, and I will not stop until you hold me in your warm arms and wipe my tears with your loving hands.
Najwa, your sweetheart