Raed Mokaled, a Lebanese Ban Advocate, reminded the audience of the tragedy that happened to his family: the loss of his son Ahmad, 5 years old, in 1999, in a public park near Nabathieh in the South of Lebanon, contaminated with cluster munitions:
"Ladies and gentlemen, government representatives, those from whom we await strong support in signing and implementing the agreement to prohibit cluster bombs, representatives of associations, those who have dedicated themselves to banning the use of cluster bombs, participating individuals, I say peace…
Peace to my son, to Ahmad…
And to his companions all around the world are these words…
Words that take us from the slumber of forgetfulness to awaken us to the coming deaths…
Deaths that come from the meadows of death that are polluted with the creations of us humans. It is that blind weapon that is not constructed except by individuals who have lost sight and insight.
It is that hate-filled weapon that is not used except by hate-filled people. How ingenious is the criminal mind that thought up such a weapon?
A weapon that never has and never will protect the interests of the nations that defends its existence and use, the nations that know that the effects of cluster bombs are on the innocent.
Isn’t it strange that we humans seek cures to protect humans, and at the same time develop weapons to kill humans?
Tears dry up between words, between the truth. Here are the woes of the world piecing our consciousness; they shame us as human beings if we don’t strive to make the world a safer place.
Ladies and gentlemen;
From the innocent children and mothers and fathers of the world, from all over the world and from the diversity of its languages and religions and cultures, we ask of you as human beings, for the safety of all those in the world.
We ask you for protection, protection from this weapon that lies in wait and that does not differentiate between anyone.
We ask you for support, support for everyone around the world who has been wounded by a cluster bomb, to ensure that they live in dignity.
We ask you to take responsibility, to stand by our responsibilities as governments and NGOs and civil organizations towards each other, because we are human beings.
Weren’t we all created by the same Creator?
Last but not least, to my son Ahmad: your blood will always be a witness, and the echo of your last words will always remain in my memory. The five candles that you never put out will continue to burn the efforts of anyone who tries to stop the prohibition of cluster bombs agreement.
Ahmad was killed and many like Ahmad were killed all over the world, leaving us with a thousand and one questions, and leaving a world that takes pride in the tools of killing it has created. Don’t let cluster bombs remain as evidence of human barbarity.
Oh decision makers, remember that our children are like your children. Would you accept what happened to our children to happen to yours? Let us protect the future of the coming generations, and let us work together to make the earth an ideal place for our living safely away from cluster bombs.
I offer you my peace and peace to the souls of Ahmed and his companions"
Raed Mokaled, Beirut, 16th September 2011