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Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Review: Top Ten Protectors of Liberty

The year started out with high hopes for everyone who loves liberty and despises oppression. It will end pretty much as last year ended -- oppression is more prevalent than freedom, and individual liberty seems to be disappearing fast.

With that, the Reality-Based Libertarianism Top Ten Protectors of Liberty:

1. Zanaib Ahmed, Bahrain: After following her story via Twitter I was one of the first Americans to interview her (An Interview With A Bahraini Revolutionary - March 6, 2011). Members of her family have been imprisoned, she herself has been thrown in prison, yet she stands against the brutal Bahraini regime.

Zanaib Ahmed, Bahrain

2. Asma Darwish, Bahrain: I posted several stories about Asma in the spring. She has fought to have the story of her brother's detention brought to light, in spite of the danger to herself and her family. That two young women are fighting heroically for liberty in a society that does not view women as equals is extraordinary.

Asma Darwish, Bahrain
3. Mohammed Nabbous, Libya:  Mohammed started an underground Internet news station in Libya at the start of the revolution there and was killed by government forces on March 19. He was instrumental in bringing the Libyan revolution to the attention of the world long before the major news organizations became interested.

Mohammed Nabbous, Libya
4. Naama Margolis, Israel: She is eight years-old and all she understands right now is that she does not want to go to school because of the religious men who taunt her and spit at her because her mother does not view religion exactly the same as they do. (Naama Margolis, December 27, 2011) But we can hope that her story will be an inspiration to others who reject oppression in the name of religion of nationalism.
Naama Margolis, Israel
5. Unidentified Greek Motorcycle Policeman, Athens: As Greek society and government fell apart because they had spent themselves into oblivion, Greek citizens took to the streets to violently complain about having to take responsibility for destroying their own country. This unidentified police officer was hit with a Molotov Cocktail while riding his motorbike. After removing his burning helmet he was hit again with another gasoline bomb. He is a hero because he put his life on the line to protect his country and its people from themselves.

6. Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar: In some form of detention since her democratic victory in 1991 that the ruling junta later nullified, Suu Kyi is a symbol of liberty against oppression in the mould of Nelson Mandela.
Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar
7. Marisol Valles Garcia, Mexico: Twenty year-old, single mother, Marisol Valles Garcia was the only person to step up and take the job of police chief in her small northern Mexico town of Praxedis G. Guerrero. She has since fled, possibly to the United States after the threats to her life (and to her son's) became overwhelming. The story of her leaving her post was reported by ABC News as "Female Mexican Police Chief Fired." The bias of the reporting is curious. The next time you light up or take a hit of something, understand that you are equally responsible for the death threats to a 20 year-old woman and her 2 year-old son.

Marisol Valles Garcia, Mexico

8. Maria Corina Machado, Venezuela: Opposition candidate to Hugo Chavez, Machado was shot at during a speech at a softball stadium in November. Her bravery in the face of the depraved regime of Hugo Chavez has gotten very little, if any, coverage in the United States.

Maria Corina Machado, Venezuela

9. Vaclav Havel, Czech Republic: Along with Lech Walesa, Havel helped bring the Soviet Union to its knees. The playwright, poet, dissident and politician passed away December 18.

Vaclav Havel, Czech Republic
10. Reserved for the first American to step up and put their reputation and life on the line for freedom. Sadly, it doesn't seem Americans are particularly interested anymore.

I did not set out to populate the list almost exclusively with women but that is how it turned out. I'm not sure if this says anything about gender and freedom in the modern age, but I think it might.

I assembled this list looking at individual protectors of liberty, but we should all remain mindful of our servicemen and women who sacrified their time, health or lives to the cause of freedom, whether we were in political agreement with those efforts or not.

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