By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS – PARIS
Swedish teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg has received the first Freedom Prize awarded by France’s Normandy region, which last month commemorated the 75th D-Day anniversary.
Thunberg, 16, received the award in Caen on Sunday, posing alongside D-Day veterans Charles Norman Shay and Léon Gautier.
Thunberg said that “I think the least we can do to honor them is to stop destroying that same world that Charles, Leon and their friends and colleagues fought so hard to save.”
She sent out a warning that “we are currently on track for a world that could displace billions of people from their homes, taking away even the most basic living conditions … making areas of the world uninhabitable for parts of the year.” But she added, “We can still fix this.”
Common Dreams reported:
Agence France-Presse reported on Thunberg’s remarks at the ceremony:
“This is a silent war going on. We are currently on track for a world that could displace billions of people from their homes, taking away even the most basic living conditions from countless people, making areas of the world uninhabitable from some part of the year.
“The fact that this will create huge conflicts and unspoken suffering is far from secret.”
“And yet the link between climate and ecological emergency and mass migration, famine, and war is still not clear to many people. This must change.”
The Freedom Prize website offers this background of the new award:
Focused on the meaning and values of the Allied landings, the Freedom Prize gives young people all over the world the opportunity to choose an exemplary person or organization, committed to the fight for freedom. Just like those who risked their lives when they landed on the Normandy beaches on 6 June 1944.
On 6 June 1944, it was in the name of the ideal of freedom that 130,000 soldiers, including a significant number of young volunteers, risked their lives and that several thousand died on these unfamiliar beaches. 17 nations were involved in Operation Overlord to open up “Liberty Road” on which nearly 3 million soldiers traveled in their bid to save the world from the barbarity of the Nazis. The Allied landings remind us that freedom is a universal demand.
Today, many situations around the world testify to its fragility. The Freedom Prize pays homage to all those who fought and continue to fight for this ideal.
Thunberg, responding to a recent question from one of the readers of the U.K’s Observer, made clear that her commitment to the fight for urgent climate action is unwavering.
“We must never give up,” she said. “I have made up my mind and decided to never, ever give up.”