Inspiring Friends of Freedom


Yesterday and today I’ve had the privilege of meeting with pro-liberty activists from Georgia, Syria, Mauritania, and Iraq. Yesterday my colleagues and I met with Paata Sheshelidze and Gia Jandieri of the New School of Economics of the Republic of Georgia to discuss undertaking a program to promote liberty, commerce, and peace in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Today I met with a group that was brought together and introduced to Cato by Jesse Sage of the American Islamic Congress: Abdel Nasser Ould Yessa, Foreign Secretary of the anti-slavery group, S.O.S. Slaves Mauritania, Nasser Weddady, North America coordinator for S.O.S. Slaves Mauritania, and Ammar Abdulhamid, currently a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a prolific blogger in English and in Arabic. We discussed a wide variety of issues and agreed to collaborate on publication of a volume of personal accounts by Arabic liberals of how they had come to appreciate individual liberty, toleration, the market economyh, and the rule of law. Then this afternoon and early evening I met with friends from Iraq to plan my itinerary for my upcoming trip.

It’s an inspiration to meet people so dedicated to freedom and willing to risk everything to promote it in perilous places.

2 Responses to “Inspiring Friends of Freedom”

  1. Tom,

    What was the feeling over the coup in Mauritania? Also, did you get the sense that after ten years of S.O.S. Slaves being in business they were more or less optimistic about the situation in Mauritania?


  2. Tom G. Palmer

    Our discussion was more oriented toward the state of thinking in the Arab world generally, with a view toward kindling a love of individual freedom among speakers of Arabic. So we didn’t discuss in any detail the situation in Mauritania. (Although I did learn that the new government had lifted the sentences of exile on a number of people who had challenged the previous government.)