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Themes Making Of The Freedom Collection

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MAKING OF THE FREEDOM COLLECTION

 

CONSTANCIO PINTO (EAST TIMOR):  

Jail is not a paradise, as you know that… I was arrested about nine o’clock in the morning and then tortured till one in the morning of the next day. And, well, I thought that that was it. That was my life.

 

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DOAN VIET HOAT (VIETNAM):

I was isolated for four years without being able to meet or talk to any…even any other prisoners.

 

ANA LAZARA RODRIGUEZ (CUBA):  

Then the man appeared in the state security car, grabbed his .45 and tells me, “I’m going to kill you.”

 

FANG ZHENG (CHINA):  

On June 4th, I was at Tiananmen Square the whole day. When I was leaving the square, I was attacked by the tank of the Liberation Army. The tank was chasing behind us, finally it ran over me and cut off both my legs.

 

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: November 6, 2003

Time after time, observers have questioned whether this country or that people or this group are ready for democracy, as if freedom were a prize you win for meeting our own western standards of progress. In fact the daily work of democracy itself is the path of progress.

 

ELLIOTT ABRAMS: Former Deputy National Security Advisor

The striking thing about human rights policy in the Bush Administration was how much of it was President Bush. It was not a bureaucratic product. The President personally met with dozens and dozens of human rights activists and he didn’t do it because we sent up memos saying you should do this, he wanted to do it.

 

KRISTEN SILVERBERG: Former Assistant Secretary of State

There were some extraordinary moments during the Bush Administration when President Bush met personally with dissidents, when he invited Kang Chol Hwan to the Oval Office or when he went to Governor’s Island in New York and met with a number of the leading dissidents of the world. And so we wanted ordinary Americans to have the experience that President Bush had, to see the incredible courage and conviction of these individuals.

 

ELLIOTT ABRAMS: Former Deputy National Security Advisor

Everybody understood the President would have a presidential library. The question was, “What is special about it? What does the President really want to put his time into? What did he really care about?” So, rather than just having a book collection, let’s have a collection that’s more of a living collection of all the people who, in this century, were the leaders of the fight for democracy and human rights. So that they are there in the flesh forever.

 

GROVER JOSEPH REES: Former Ambassador to East Timor

The idea behind the Freedom Collection is to document through video interviews but also with other kinds of documents and artifacts the individual stories of democracy, pro-democracy leaders and pro-democracy movements from countries around the world that don't have free and democratic governments.

 

PAULA DOBRIANSKY Former Undersecretary of State

It provides those individuals who put their own lives on the line for the furtherance of democracy and freedom, an opportunity to share that experience firsthand and it reflects on lessons learned. What worked, what didn't work.

 

ELLIOTT ABRAMS: Former Deputy National Security Advisor

We have to understand this at the human level or we will not understand it at all. It is not a story about, or only about, let's say, great social movements. It's a story about people who decided to risk everything.

 

DOAN VIET HOAT (VIETNAM):

I believe that the dictator can not silence any dissenting voice. They can oppress them, but they can not silence them.

 

NIMA RASHEDAN (IRAN):

Nobody can really silence us because technology and time are on our side.

 

DALAI LAMA (TIBET):

The world belongs to nearly 7 billion human beings not Kings or religious leaders, like that or different parties.

 

CHARM TONG (BURMA):

It is very difficult, but don’t give up, and one day our situation will change.

 

AMMAR ABDULHAMID (SYRIA):

You have to realize that the price of silence is much heavier. It may not be perceptible, but it is always much heavier than the price of speaking out.

 

ELLEN SIRLEAF JOHNSON (LIBERIA):

And sometimes the difficulties you face are themselves character building and courage enhancing. So, when I went to prison I came out stronger.

 

CHEERY ZAHAU (BURMA):

Every day, every year we are one step closer to democracy.

 

ARMANDO VALLADARES (CUBA):

Don’t lose heart, don’t lose faith. Keep fighting. Success is getting closer, and soon the entire world will be a democracy and dictatorships will end forever.

 

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: January 20, 2005

America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength—tested, but not weary—we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.

 

 

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