Remarks for Independence Day Reception

Ambassador Daniel Rosenblum
June 14, 2022

Assalomu alaykum! Amerika mustaqilligining ikki yuz qirq olti yilligiga bag’ishlangan tantanaga xush kelibsiz! Mana uch yildirki men ushbu go’zal mamlakatda yashab kelmoqdaman va shu davr mobaynida menga ko’rsatilgan mashhur o’zbekona mehmondo’stlikning sanog’iga yeta olmayman. O’zbekistonlik do’stlarim, bugun mehmondo’stligingizga javoban men ham, uncha quyuq bo’lmasa-da, sizlarga amerikacha mehmondo’stlik ko’rsatish imkonidan mamnunman!

Ladies and Gentlemen:  The last time I spoke in this room, at our 4th of July reception three years ago, it was the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.  I used the occasion to introduce everyone to my father, Louis Rosenblum, who had worked for 30 years as a scientist at NASA and helped the U.S. space program succeed.  My father had passed away three months earlier, and I wanted everyone to know who he was and what he had accomplished.

Tonight, in the interest of gender equality — and because I am very proud of her — I want to introduce you to my late mother, Evelyn Mull Rosenblum.  Evy Rosenblum was a lifelong educator, a school principal, and a civic activist, who raised four children of her own and had a huge impact on the learning and values of the many hundreds of other children she taught. She won awards for the curricula she developed for Jewish education.  She was active in voter education efforts through the non-governmental organization “League of Women Voters.” And her commitment to social justice and deeply felt empathy influenced everyone around her and made the world a kinder and gentler place.  She was also a staunch advocate of equal rights and opportunities for women, and always taught me to believe that a woman can do anything a man can do – and in most cases, probably do it better!

This year, the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent has undertaken a large number of initiatives to support gender equality and women’s empowerment in Uzbekistan.  We know that this is fully in line with the priorities of the Government of Uzbekistan, and in fact a number of these activities are being carried out jointly with the Government; others are aimed at the private sector, and especially women in rural communities, female entrepreneurs, and girls pursuing STEM education.  There is more information available about the U.S. Embassy’s “Year of Gender Equality” on our information tables in the next room – please learn about it!

Ladies and Gentlemen:  Whenever I speak publicly, I try to bear in mind the wise words of the French writer Andre Gide, who once remarked: “Everything that needs to be said has already been said.  But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”

And so — in the spirit of Gide — when I began to write this speech, I remembered that this is already the fourth time I have made Independence Day remarks in Tashkent.  The first such time was on July 3, 2019 — in this very same ballroom.  During that speech I acknowledged that America is still a relatively young nation, while the people of Uzbekistan are directly connected through their ancestors to civilizations that are thousands of years old.  But – I said that day — even in our paltry 246 years, there are at least two important lessons Americans have learned:  first, that independence and sovereignty are precious and should never be taken for granted; and second, that independence is not enough — without freedom, and without good government, based on the consent of the governed, a nation will not thrive.

This idea–that we should treasure our country’s independence and sovereignty, that we should not take it for granted—is more than just an idea.  In fact, support for Uzbekistan’s independence and sovereignty has been the very foundation of U.S. policy towards Uzbekistan since 1991.  And today, even after 30 years of Uzbek independence, it remains the foundation of our policy.

As I said one year ago in my video statement marking July 4, genuine national independence requires real sovereignty, meaning that a nation should be able to make decisions on its own, to decide how to organize its society and its economy.  Just as importantly, a sovereign nation gets to decide, without pressure and intimidation from outside, what kinds of relationships it wants to have with other nations.  I believe most Uzbeks and Americans share this opinion.  We get to decide what kinds of alliances or associations we want to form, according to how we assess our own national interests.

One year ago, when I said these words, I never imagined how relevant they would be for this year’s Independence Day.

The events of the past four months have shown, conclusively, the terrible human cost when sovereignty is violated, and that sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity are principles of international relations that must be protected.  Without it, our world returns to the law of the jungle, to an international order where militarily powerful nations can impose their will on other nations, just because they have decided those other nations have no right to exist.

My colleagues and friends: as I stand before you today, I feel very fortunate to have a fourth chance to celebrate America’s Independence Day here in Tashkent.  What a joy, what a blessing to be able to do it this time in person — and to see everyone’s smiling face!  And it is now my great honor to offer a toast to our guest of honor, His Excellency, Abdulla Nigmatovich Aripov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan.  My toast is a wish for our two countries, strategic partners and friends for the past 30 years.

  • May Uzbekistan and the USA always cherish our own independence and sovereignty. And may we always stand up for other countries’ independence and sovereignty. As one of our wisest American “founding fathers” – and our country’s very first diplomat, Benjamin Franklin – said to his co-signers when he signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, “we must all hang together or, most assuredly, we will all hang separately!”
  • May Uzbekistan and the USA always recognize that independence is not enough, that freedom and good government are necessary, too. May we both strive to respect the fundamental and universal human rights of all our citizens: the rights to freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of association.  And may we both develop and maintain responsive governments that serve the people, with genuine checks and balances to ensure that no single person or institution becomes too powerful or immune from accountability.
  • My wish is that both our countries will protect and honor these values. And that we will join together in the international struggle to maintain these principles — and bring others along with us. If we do, the world will be a more peaceful, more prosperous place.  And the U.S.-Uzbekistan friendship will flourish!
  • So, please join me in a toast to the next 30 years of our enduring friendship!