I’m not a crybaby. “Believe me” . . . as one fellow running for president is fond of saying.
Yesterday, however, at the San Francisco Freedom Forum, I was admittedly glad that the ballroom was dimly lit. Listening to speakers from across the globe tell their stories of struggling for freedom, I became . . . well, verklempt.
The event, organized by the Human Rights Foundation, is an expansion of the long-running Oslo Freedom Forum. It featured speakers such as:
- Hyeonseo Lee, who not only escaped from North Korea, the world’s most totalitarian regime, but later returned to help her family get out as well.
- Yulia Marushevska, the Ukrainian anti-corruption crusader, whose powerful YouTube video, entitled “I Am a Ukrainian,” helped the world see the Euromaidan protests.
- Anjan Sundaram, the journalist with chilling tales of the totalitarian regime of Rwanda’s President Kagame, who recently overcame term limits through a referendum wherein 98 percent of the country supposedly voted to allow him to stay in power until 2034. Embarrassingly, Kagame spoke at Harvard and Yale on democracy and human rights. Sundaram recalled a Rwandan who explained, “We don’t know where the state ends and we begin.”
- Zineb El Rhazoui, who co-authored the comic book The Life of Mohamed with slain Charlie Hebdo editor Stéphane Charbonnier, and now lives facing an ISIS death sentence.
And many more.
As a father, it made me . . . (give me a moment) . . . think about how important freedom is.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.