The poster in the background shows photographs of some of the recent young victims of the Mubarak government. The writing says they are among the martyrs of the 25 January Revolution.
KAMAL ABBAS: I am speaking to you from a place very close to Tahrir Square in Cairo, “Liberation Square”, which was the heart of the Revolution in Egypt. This is the place were many of our youth paid with their lives and blood in the struggle for our just rights.
From this place, I want you to know that we stand with you as you stood with us.
I want you to know that no power can challenge the will of the people when they believe in their rights. When they raise their voices loud and clear and struggle against exploitation.
No one believed that our revolution could succeed against the strongest dictatorship in the region. But in 18 days the revolution achieved the victory of the people. When the working class of Egypt joined the revolution on 9 and 10 February, the dictatorship was doomed and the victory of the people became inevitable.
We want you to know that we stand on your side. Stand firm and don’t waiver. Don’t give up on your rights. Victory always belongs to the people who stand firm and demand their just rights.
We and all the people of the world stand on your side and give you our full support.
As our just struggle for freedom, democracy and justice succeeded, your struggle will succeed. Victory belongs to you when you stand firm and remain steadfast in demanding your just rights.
We support you. we support the struggle of the peoples of Libya, Bahrain and Algeria, who are fighting for their just rights and falling martyrs in the face of the autocratic regimes. The peoples are determined to succeed no matter the sacrifices and they will be victorious.
Today is the day of the American workers. We salute you American workers! You will be victorious. Victory belongs to all the people of the world, who are fighting against exploitation, and for their just rights.
The AFL-CIO blog has an interesting background history on Kamal Abbas. Abbas traveled to the US last year to receive an award from the national AFL-CIO
In his acceptance speech, Abbas said Egypt’s workers now have a vision of a better future:
They are now approaching the future, beating on its doors with their strong hands, raising flags of freedom and chanting songs of hope.
With every new day for more than 45 months Egyptian workers have delivered a new message: We are not gears in a machine spoiled by misuse. We are not cheap goods supplied to attract investments, we are not goods accumulated in markets, so their prices are devalued and their esteem debased. We are human beings, entitled to a decent living, entitled to freedom, justice and equality.
Abu Eita said the tax collectors won their battle despite a
fierce war waged by the government to use union-busting tools supported by all non-union factions. But the will of independence became a fortress, a fortress that stands in the face of attempts of demolition and containment.
When asked how the U.S. union movement could help Egypt’s workers, Abass and Abu Eita stressed that the workersneed our solidarity and our help to build and develop their union movement step by step. They urged U.S. workers to do whatever we can to take their issues to the global community through organizations such as the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Labor Organization (ILO).
As Abass put it, they have a new understanding of the American union movement now that they have visited the country:
We have discovered we have friends in the [U.S.] trade unions who deal with us as friends, with whom we can build real solidarity and relationships built on mutual respect and appreciation.