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New On The Freedom Collection: Bahey El Din Hassan
Watch the new Freedom Collection interview with Bahey El Din Hassan. He is an Egyptian activist who promotes human rights culture in his native Egypt and throughout the Arab world. Prior to the Egyptian revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak’s government, Hassan, a professional journalist, advocated for freedom of the press. Through this activism, he became more interested in the importance of educating others on human rights. In 1983, he joined the Arab Organization for Human Rights and two years later helped establish an offshoot group called the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR). Over the years, the Egyptian government cracked down on EOHR’s work, arresting and torturing several of the organization’s members and stripping its status as a legally registered entity. Despite the threat of violence or arrest, Hassan and others helped EOHR to endure and continued to strengthen Egypt’s human rights movement. In 1993, Hassan co-founded the Cairo Institute for Human Rights (CIHRS), an independent nongovernmental organization that promotes human rights and democracy in the Arab region. Through these various organizations, Hassan has played a role in educating a new generation of young Egyptians on the importance of embracing a universal code of human rights that encourages freedom and dignity for all people. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, Hassan continues his efforts to strengthen human rights education in Egypt and the greater Arab world. Hassan argues that the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime was only the beginning, and that Egyptians must cultivate a democratic tradition, bolstered by a robust civil society, that respects human rights in order to be successful. With regard to a specific role for civil society, he says, “civil society in general and at the heart – civil society for human rights – should work closely with new political actors to build up or to occupy the political vacuum and develop, day-by-day, an influential voice on the political process of transition in Egypt.” While Hassan recognizes this is a process the Egyptians must shape for themselves, he believes the international community must play a constructive role in encouraging democracy in Egypt saying, “In ten years’ time we – Egypt – can start building a democratic country. But I expect that this would be after a lot of suffering. It will be a learning process, a very tough learning process for the Egyptians. And in this regard, the attitude of the international community can contribute to the extension of such a painful transition period or make it shorter.” Watch his interview here. This post was written by Christopher Walsh, Program Coordinator of the Freedom Collection.
Christopher Walsh serves as a Manager for the Human Freedom Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. In this role, Christopher manages communications, evaluation, and public policy research projects that advance freedom and democracy in the world. He also develops and implements efforts to make the Bush Institute a welcoming place for today’s generation of dissidents and democracy advocates, overseeing visits for training, inspiration, and insight.
Prior to joining the Bush Institute, Christopher worked with the International Republican Institute in Washington, D.C. As IRI’s program officer for Central and Eastern Europe, he coordinated political party building and civic advocacy programs in the Balkans and Turkey.
A native of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Christopher is a graduate of American University with a B.A. in International Studies. He currently lives in Dallas with his wife and three young children.Full Bio
Chinese Prisoner’s Death Holds a Message for Americans and China
Liu Xiaobo, China’s most prominent dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner died this week. His death holds a message for Americans and for China.
Release of Chinese Political Prisoner a Timely Reminder to Support Freedom Advocates Abroad
More than half the world’s population still lives in countries where basic political rights and civil liberties are only partly respected, if at all.
Bringing Freedom to the Forefront of 21st Century Politics
Is the global liberal democratic order in danger? Purposefully constructed in the aftermath of World War II, this order -- and the American leadership that is central to its success --has contributed to securing peace and expanding prosperity in the United States and around the world. Today, that order appears to be dissolving. This crisis is not new or sudden; it has been mounting for several years. Global challenges like authoritarian capitalism, violent extremism, demographic pressures, and displaced populations have placed global freedom in decline. Fraying traditional alliances united by core values of freedom are increasingly weak to respond. It is alarming that the downdraft in democratic resilience over the past decade or more includes countries that have long been part of the consolidated democratic West. This is democratic deconsolidation. In much of the Western world, we see a rise in demagogic populism, illiberalism, nationalism, protectionism, and waning conf
The Importance of Speaking Truth to Tyrants
What the president of the United States says matters. Even during the realpolitik policies of détente under Richard Nixon, it was still clear that American policy was based on a set of core values. Nixon’s practical goals of reaching deals with America’s adversaries was never based on the “great chemistry” with himself or praising the Soviet or Communist Chinese leadership doing a “fantastic job.” When the president aligns himself with the autocrats and dictators, he aligns America with their oppression. He sends a message that corruption and brutality are not our concern. Contrast that with how Ronald Reagan defied much of world opinion in calling out the brutality of the Soviet system. Natan Sharansky, then a refusenik imprisoned in a Soviet gulag, later wrote for the Weekly Standard of his thoughts on Reagan’s pronouncement that the USSR was an evil empire: “It was the great, brilliant moment whe