We are proud to share that our Founder, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, was awarded the Oxi Day Courage Award from the Washington Oxi Day Foundation. This award honors leaders who have taken courageous action to preserve freedom and democracy. The award ceremony took place on October 26, 2017.
The creation of this award was inspired by the spirit of the national Oxi Day holiday in Greece that commemorates October 28, 1941 when the Greeks told Italian Fascists “OXI,” which is Greek for “No!” The Italians demanded surrender and passage of their armed forces through Greece. The Greeks refused to surrender, and the Italians launched an invasion. After five months, the Axis powers entered the country, but the Greeks again courageously said “no.” They never provided the Axis powers a list of Greek Jews, thus saving them from concentration camps.
Previous recipients of this award include Vice President Joe Biden, American Journalist James Foley who was murdered by ISIS, and Khalil al-Dakhi, an Iraqi who rescued women and children from ISIS forces.
In her acceptance speech, Ayaan described the three things she says “Oxi” to. “I say no to the set of principles that legitimize violence and oppression. I say no to the use of a prophet as a moral guide. And thirdly I say no to uncritical obedience to a clergy who coerces believers into submission.”
Ayaan details how one of the last conversations she had with her father made her realize the importance of saying no, standing up for herself, and standing up against practices that lead to violence and oppression. “Unless we say no to these principles, no to this rigid moral guide, and no to uncritical thinking, then terrible practices will continue.”
At the AHA Foundation, we work to put Ayaan’s vision for the world into practice. It is because of our supporters that this is possible. You can watch Ayaan’s acceptance speech above.