ON-Lion Letter
Before September 11, 2001, the United States did not think much about freedom or democracy in the Middle East.  U.S. policy toward the region aimed to assure a reliable flow of oil, to encourage peace between the Arabs and Israel, and above all, during the Cold War, to prevent our rival from gaining any strategic advantage over us.  9/11 impelled us to reconsider.

Now, as we are entangled in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Mideast's political and social quandaries are at the very core of our foreign-policy initiatives.  And yet, after years of blood and fortunes spent on the democratization there, the only identifiable personalities in the region belong to thugs:  notorious terrorists, backwards autocrats, and fanatical imams.  As Joshua Muravchik demonstrates in Encounter Books' new paperpack Trailblazers of the Arab Spring:  Voices of Democracy in the Middle East, there are in fact many heroes in lands of anti-democratic fanaticism and they are fighting our fight.

Muravchik is a Foreign Policy Institute Fellow at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), a Fellow in Human Freedom at the George W. Bush Institute, and an adjunct professor at The Institute of World Politics.  The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports his SAIS fellowship.  The George W. Bush Institute is co-publisher of the paperback version of the book, which was originally published in 2009.

In the book, Muravchik brings to light the stories of seven remarkable people, six Arabs and an Iranian.  Five are men; two women.  Four are Sunnis, two are Shiites, and the seventh is mixed.  Their lives revolve around a sense of mission and, while the angles from which they attack it are varied, this mission is the same for all seven -- to make their countries more open and democratic. 
Trailblazers of the Arab Spring reminds us that freedom is worth fighting for and finally introduces us to our anonymous friends in the struggle for free societies in the Middle East.

Encounter Books is an activity of Encounter for Culture and Education, a nonprofit group that is substantially supported by Bradley.
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