"I woke this morning, and I was crying, and that’s not easy for a grown man to admit. The fate of my country rests in your hands.”
Just like when I saw first the government ministers of the Maldives and then those of Nepal hold their cabinet meetings underwater and on Mount Everest respectively, for the purpose of raising the world's awareness to their difficult situation brought about by climate change, I was deeply moved this morning when I saw in the news how Ian Fry the representative from Tuvalu choked back tears and said the above in a meeting at the Copenhagen climate summit.
Here's his full speech, wherein lies the humble appeal of him and his country:
“It has been said in the media that I am trying to embarrass the country of Denmark. This is not my intention at all…
“…Madame President, I know that you tried to visit Tuvalu, though you did not make it. Had you visited, I think you would understand our position. Our entire population lives within 2 meters of sea level… I understand that we are waiting for the US senate. It is ironic that we are waiting for one country to decide before the international community can move forward. President Obama was currently in Sweden accepting a Nobel Prize, whether rightly or wrongly. For him to honour his Nobel Prize, he should address the greatest threat to humanity, climate change, and the greatest threat to human security, climate change. This is not just an issue of Tuvalu… millions of people around the world are affected. This is not just Tuvalu. Over the last few days I’ve received calls from all over the world, offering faith and hope that we can reach a conclusion on this issue. Madame President, this is not a media trip for me, I have refused to take media calls on this issue. As a humble servant of the government of Tuvalu, I have to make a strong appeal to you that we consider this matter properly. I don’t want to cause embarrassment to you or the government.
“… I want to have for the leaders an option to consider a legally binding treaty. We’ve had our proposal on the table for 6 months. 6 months, it’s not the last two days of this meeting. I woke this morning, and I was crying, and that’s not easy for a grown man to admit. The fate of my country rests in your hands.”