2003 Leipzig Human Rights Award
European-American Citizens Committee for
Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA
(originally the "2000 Alternative
Laudatio (Mssr. Vivien spoke in German)
Dear Mr. Heldal-Lund,
First of all, permit me to welcome all the people from Germany and elsewhere who
are participating in this ceremony.
I would also like to cordially thank those present from the Committee, Mr.
Armstrong from Canada, Mr. Cisar from the USA, Mr. Gandow from Germany, and all
the other members of the Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious
Freedom for their invitation. Finally, I would also like to send my greetings
to all other spiritual authorities who support this initiative.
Today we celebrate the presentation of the 2003 Leipzig Human Rights Award to a
Norwegian citizen, Mr. Andreas Heldal-Lund, who is well-known for his
determination and courageous involvement. His work has been of great note and
is celebrated far beyond the borders of Europe.
The fight against the cult entity has become a burning responsibility, and one
may be congratulated in that men and women, who are determined to fight this new
form of totalitarian system, have risen up in the majority of [the world's]
In the present disarray of international relations, the willpower of certain
people presents a threat to democracy and to those fundamental aspects of human
rights that deal with freedoms and diversity of opinion.=
This threat is all the more dangerous in that it is concealed behind the pretext
of promoting religious freedom, of all things. What sort of religious freedom
is this, though, when two monotheistic enemies take up arms against each other
and both invoke divine protection? It would be wise, in discussions whose
justification is far from evident, to avoid bringing God into play.
Cults are not [totally] absent from these confrontations which are in danger of
erupting in the coming months. The support they have given to certain
politicians in the past is gaining momentum in their aggressive power politics
and in the audacity of their conduct in dealing with others.
To reach their goals, though, the sect has to reveal its real intentions.= To
this end it tries to silence those who direct any attention to them of the sort
that is necessary to form an opinion.
In view of the use that one can make of the resources of information technology
today, the cults consider this area potentially immensely profitable. As in
Aesop's fable, though, they have found out that each technological advance, in
turn, brings opposing forces into play that are difficult to control.
Ever since Mr. Andreas Heldal-Lund got the brilliant idea of making a web site
that lets the whole world know the reality of what Scientology really is, the
sect -- from whom, after all, this information originates and who therefore
cannot contradict it -- has limited itself to attempts to hinder its
The issue of abusing legal processes through the copyright law attracted the
attention of the French government back in the year 2000. It, in fact,
signifies an obvious attack on the freedom of expressing opinion, which protects
human rights and which has been implemented by all the international agreements.
How can one really talk about freedom, then, if it results in censorship?
Has an American copyright protection law been recently passed to become an
instrument of the police with respect to this fundamental freedom? This
question was asked by the United States itself, if one is to believe a report by
the Associated Press on April 6 of this year. Certainly, the president of the
American association for information technology downplayed the risk by asserting
that "[indirect quote] if there would have been much abuse, then people
would still be talking about it."
But if one takes into account the costs of the intense court proceedings in the
USA, the endless procedures and the pressure used by sects in this yielding
nation, then one understands why the legal complaints have never been very
And who can guarantee that something even more offensive will not occur with
regards to the public awareness of the dangers from cults?
On his part, Andreas Heldal-Lund has not balked at revealing the reality of the
Scientology organization's conduct through its own writings. He has done this
with the requisite integrity, respect and intellectual honesty, and continues to
do so. By doing this he has made a contribution to the public good.
In doing this, he is a model of the great fortitude, which is so indispensable
in such difficult times and which enables the best souls to strengthen, among
other things, their own ability to withstand opposition.=
In Mr. Andreas Heldal-Lund, Norway, which already dedicated itself to the values
of democracy a long time ago, has the embodiment of principles that form the
moral spine of a Europe on the way to unification.
Certainly, the fanaticism and denial of human values have reached previously
unimagined stages in recent years. Several players are involved in arrogant
fanaticism. Others can dream only of manifesting their economic and moral
domination, in the conviction that their current leaders are in sole possession
of the truth.
These regrettable facts should not sway us, however, but rather make us aware
that the ideals of a civil society is a unique source of human progress. Our
democratic societies are destructible. This is without a doubt true and
obvious. But history has shown us, especially here in Leipzig, that when native
men and women say "no," totalitarian systems, be they old or new,
begin to crumble.
Anyone who dreams of a new Thought Police should realize: they may indeed be
able slow down the movement of emancipating the spirit, but they are not able to
But how much suffering could have been avoided in the meantime!
In that the international citizens committee is handing over this award of
freedom to Mr. Andreas Heldal-Lund, it is thanking a strong and effervescent
Mr. Andreas Heldal-Lund shows the path to pursue,
whereby the words of freedom do not lose meaning;
whereby the freedoms of thought and belief are no longer only a masquerade.
whereby the authentic spiritual and philosophical powers, and the open and
peaceful discourse between them, may progress to the benefit of the entire
world, without throwing it into another unspeakable tragedy.