Friday, October 30, 2009

Live from the 56th Congress of Liberal International

Busy, busy, busy... Naturally, as the First Husband, I have a critical role, smiling and waving at people (apparently, the gin drinking is core too, but I prefer vodka as a rule...). There is some foreign travel too, and that is why this posting comes to you from the Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel, in the Garden City area of Cairo.

And so I find myself in a large, windowless hall, listening to an rather worthy speech by the Minister of State for Legal and Parliamentary Councils. Of course, he is speaking in Arabic, although I am wearing one of those inexplicably uncomfortable translation gizmos, so I know what he is saying. In fairness, it is really rather impressive that a representative of the President has made the time to speak to our assembled throng.

Next up is Anwar Ibrahim, leader of the Opposition in Malaysia, the former Deputy Prime Minister and imprisoned by the Government on entirely trumped up charges for six years. He takes, for entirely obvious reasons, a strong line on the independence of the judiciary and the defence of human rights and freedoms.

He is, in himself, a fascinating personality. A liberal and a Muslim, his reputation was built as Minister of Finance, transforming the economy, building free market structures sympathetic to the cultural norms of his country, and guiding the nations through the squalls that characterised the world economy at that time.

His imprisonment on charges of sodomy was a deliberate attempt to destroy his political career and his personal reputation, an act which drew worldwide condemnation. A lesser man might have been destroyed, but he has fought the charges, been found not guilty, and gone on to be fully rehabilitated without a stain upon his character.

It is an honour and privilege to have him within the international liberal family.

1 comment:

Oranjepan said...

...but you know how we are all more in thrall to personal sexual tittle-tattle than matters of public concern!

I want to know how you can be certain that those charges were trumped up...

OK, no I don't. I want to know how the current debates from around the world compare. Whose controversies are raging hardest? Are there any new trends emerging? Are there any delegates capable of making the jump to becoming global ambassadors?

Cairo, huh? Some people have all the luck!