Monday, June 15, 2009

Freedom is Contagious

In the spirit of the Iranian protests, I thought I should link to a "This I Believe" essay by Harold Koh, a law professor and Obama state dept nominee. He writes about freedom's power to light up people's eyes. Here's the an excerpt:

During the summer that Nixon resigned, I was visiting Seoul. Someone tried to assassinate Korea's president and he declared martial law. I called my father and marveled that Korea had never enjoyed a peaceful transition of government. Meanwhile, the world's most powerful government had just changed hands without anyone firing a shot. He said, "Now you see the difference: In a democracy, if you are president, then the troops obey you. In a dictatorship, if the troops obey you, then you are president."

And so I studied law, became a law school professor and dean, and eventually a human rights official for the State Department. I traveled to scores of countries. Everywhere I went -- Haiti, Indonesia, China, Sierra Leone, Kosovo -- I saw in the eyes of thousands the same fire for freedom I had first seen in my father's eyes. More

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