On Monday 27 October, Edward Snowden gave a short introduction to Laura Poitras’ documentary Citizenfour, on the occasion of its screening at Leipzig’s Dok Leipzig film festival.
As the ACLU point out in their write-up, Leipzig’s history as the place where the demonstrations that the brought the down the Berlin wall started, forms the background to Edward Snowden’s short statement.
A full transcript follows below
I’ve never agreed to do an introduction to this film before – not in the UK, not in the US, not in New York or San Francisco or anything like that. But when somebody asked if I would do it for Leipzig, I said yes and that’s because your history is an inspiration to me.
It’s critical that we remember the lessons from history. Leipzig and the GDR remind us that the wall didn’t come down because of bombs or guards or violent resistance, it was brought down by ordinary people on the streets, in the square. Ordinary people against extraodinary powers reminded us the legitmacy of governments is derived from the consent of the people they are governing.
Today, when that principle is so often forgotten, when we have governments even in liberal democracies, western democracies, not just authoritarian regimes, that so frequently favour tactics of deception and secrecy. We need to remember that the consent of the governed is only meaningful if it’s informed.
Thank you and I hope you enjoy the film.