Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Testimony that Deserved to be Televised

On Tuesday May 17th, at the same time that pro-Saddam demagogue George Galloway was spewing his anti-American nonsense before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, another hearing was taking place on Capitol Hill. Entitled "Defeating Terrorism with Ballots", this hearing was held before the House Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations. The topic of the session was "the impact of current pro-democracy policies on Arab and Muslim cultures suffering what the Arab Human Development Report termed “deficits” in freedom, women’s empowerment and knowledge."

Among the distinguished witnesses who testified at this hearing were two courageous men who have made enormous sacrifices in the cause of democracy. One was Natan Sharansky, the Israeli political figure and former Soviet dissident. Sharansky spent 9 years in the prisons of the Soviet Union whose passing George Galloway has openly mourned. The second man was an Iraqi named Mithal Al-Alusi, who founded a political party called the Democratic Party of the Iraqi Nation (DPIN).

In an article orginally published in the May 16th New York Post, Heather Robinson describes Mr. Al-Alusi's moving and powerful story:

In the aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Mithal Al-Alusi moved back to Iraq from Hamburg, Germany with his two sons, Ayman, 30, and Gamal, 22. For the Al-Alusis, it was a joyous homecoming. Twenty seven years earlier, they had fled Iraq after Mithal was sentenced to death for opposing Saddam Hussein's tyranny.

Now they were returning to help shape a democratic Iraq.

After committing the unpardonable sin of visiting Israel last September, Al-Alusi was fired from his job in the interim government, and a warrant was issued for his arrest:

After 27 years in exile, Al-Alusi was not about to be intimidated. With the help of his sons, he founded the DPIN and got the party onto the ballot for the upcoming elections. Eventually, the government dropped the charges against him. Shortly before the election, his younger son, Gamal, was quoted as saying, "It is true we are in danger, but if this is the price for democracy and peace, it is a very low price."

A few days after the election, in which the DPIN garnered several thousand votes, Mithal passed on a trip to inspect the party's new offices; his sons went without him.

Terrorist insurgents ambushed the car. Ayman and Gamal Al-Alusi and their bodyguard, Hayder Hassain, died of gunshot wounds.

In the course of working to build a free Iraq, Mr. Al-Alusi has lost his only sons, murdered by the same bloodthirsty terrorists whose cause George Galloway openly espouses. I cannot begin to imagine the pain of his loss. Yet he continues his efforts undaunted.

It is the height of irony that at the same time that George Galloway was preening for the cameras, two brave men who have suffered greatly at the hands of those whom he has supported were testifying just a few hundred yards away. Unfortunately, it was the shameless demagoguery of Gorgeous George that received all the attention. To be honest, I was as guilty as anyone. It is heroes such as Natan Sharansky and Mithal Al-Alusi whose remarks should be televised, instead of the likes of Galloway.


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