George W. Bush, with a few brave men:
President George W. Bush poses with cyber dissidents prior to the start of the Bush Institute’s Conference, “Cyber Dissidents: Global Successes and Challenges,” being held in Dallas today at Southern Methodist University. Pictured from left to right are Ernesto Hernández Busto (Cuba); Oscar Morales Guevara (Colombia), Visiting Fellow, George W. Bush Institute; President George W. Bush; Mohsen Sazegara (Iran), Visiting Fellow, George W. Bush Institute, and Ahed Al Hendi (Syria). Photo Courtesy of the George W. Bush Institute
James K. Glassman, Executive Director of the George W. Bush Institute, issued a statement today prior to start of the Institute’s Conference on Cyber Dissidents: Global Successes and Challenges. The conference is being held in conjunction with the human rights organization Freedom House, on the campus of Southern Methodist University.
“Today’s conference launches the George W. Bush Institute’s initiatives in human freedom. It features several dissidents from around the world who are using tools made possible by Internet technology in their important work of advancing democracy and freedom. Dissidents are participating from such nations as Venezuela and China, and dissidents in exile elsewhere in the world from such nations as Cuba, Syria, and Iran. This is a historic event. We believe it is unprecedented for freedom advocates of such talent and courage, from so many nations, to gather in one place to discuss the use of new technology. At few times in history, has work like theirs been more important. But is it being fully appreciated? It is here in Dallas.”
“This conference highlights the work of a new generation of dissidents in the hope that it will become a beacon to others, who can be both inspired and educated. It aims to identify trends in effective cyber communication that spread human freedom and advance human rights. It will explore what oppressive regimes are doing to block Internet access by advocates of freedom and what advocates are doing, with the help of the best technology, to circumvent censorship.”
“Also, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the Internet is a tool. In the past dissidents – like those in the American Revolution – used the power of a cogent voice or of stirring words on paper. What is really important is what that tool is used for. And in this case, there can be no more important work than to bring about freedom in repressive countries through nonviolent action that is inherently democratic in nature. To achieve freedom, will and strategy count as much as, or more than, technology. As does moral support, especially at the top. President Bush and Mrs. Bush provided such support, meeting with dozens of dissidents and other freedom advocates at the White House, and the results – in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe – brought freedom to tens of millions. Their work continues at this today at this conference on cyber dissent.”