Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Translating liberty into Arabic

A fascinating description of an Iraqi risking his life to translate liberal and capitalist Western texts into Arabic.

Asked how he began this work, he recounts meeting an American who was lecturing in Baghdad on principles of constitutional government. The message struck home. "Yes, you could say I am libertarian," Kamil says. "I believe in liberty for all, equality and human rights, freedom and democracy, free-market ethics, and I hate extremism in everything. I believe in life more than death as being the way to happiness."
Intellectual isolation is a widespread Arab phenomenon, not just an Iraqi one. Some of the statistics are startling. According to the United Nations' 2003 "Arab Human Development Report," five times more books are translated annually into Greek, a language spoken by just 11 million people, than into Arabic.
Read it all. With such great writers as Ludwig von Mises, Adam Smith, Hayek and Frederic Bastiat being translated to Arabic, it could be the start of a great cultural shift towards liberalism and freedom. Fingers crossed.