On March 28, 2012, I was invited to Dallas, Texas, again to take part in the official launching of the Freedom Collection, an “effort to document the struggle for human freedom and democracy around the world, which presents “a central feature of the Human Freedom initiative at the George W. Bush Institute.” During the event, I, alongside a number of colleagues from around the world, were given a special recognition by Mr. an Mrs. Bush for our efforts to highlight the cause of our people, and were told that we will be among the first to be interviewed for the Freedom Collection.
The Associated Press covered the event here, and here an excerpt:
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a contributor to the collection, participated via video teleconference and several others who have told their stories for the collection were in the audience, including a U.S.-based Syrian dissident Ammar Abdulhamid. Abdulhamid said following the event that part of the impact of the collection in the U.S. could be to help in “galvanizing public opinion so that policymakers right now realize that there is a constituency that wants them to do something about what’s happening in Syria and elsewhere” and wants them take a leading role in pushing for change.
This is a video clip showing the little part of the event in which I was “recognized”:
During the dinner event that followed the event I took the opportunity to ask President Bush to send a special message to the Syrian revolutionaries, which he kindly did. This was his first public political statement since his departure from the White House. Some people in the opposition found the move controversial if not objectionable, but most activists and rebel leaders Khawla and I are in touch with, a veritable who’s who of the people who are making all the difference on the ground, have been quite supportive. Naturally, the Islamists were dubious, but, in contrast to their counterparts abroad, they thought the move was positive as well. After all, we need all the attention we can get.