Ammar was born in Damascus, Syria in 1966. When he was 17, Ammar studied English for three months in the United Kingdom. At 18, he spent a year at Moscow University before moving to Wisconsin in 1986. Two years later, he moved to Los Angeles, California, then, returned to Wisconsin in 1990 to study history. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Steven’s Point in 1992.
Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian democracy activist who exchanged radical Islamism for the Federalist Papers after studying in the United States, is featured in the Freedom Collection and recently shared his story with educators from across North Texas. "I don't know how many people can say the Federalist Papers actually inspired them to quit their fanatical sort of outlook on life," he says, "but to me ... that was really empowering."… Like Natan Sharansky a generation ago, the stories of men and women like Phyoe Phyoe, Joseph, Ammar, and Dalel keep the skeptics' view in doubt today. Even in the Middle East, where the democracy deficit is the starkest in the world and the immediate outlook is bleak, there's no doubt that the universal tug of freedom is present there as well.
Amanda Schnetzer is the director of the Human Freedom Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute.
Jon Stewart’s monologue tonight was an impassioned, frustrated meditation on the Charleston shooting and other recent tragedies. “I didn’t do my job today,” he said. “I’ve got nothing for you in terms of jokes and sounds, because of what happened in South Carolina.”
If Americans still insist on dealing cynically and apathetically with one of the country's oldest and most infamous and painful problems, namely racism, why should we find their indifference regarding the tragic and mind-numbing developments in Syria, or any number of conflict zones around the world, surprising?
“When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse.” (The Atlantic, Nonviolence as Compliance)
Similarly, when calls emerge from certain quarters addressing “both sides” of a conflict and appealing for calm, even when one side has been using overwhelming violence from the get-go while the other remained committed to nonviolent tactics with few exceptions, we can all be sure that a ruse is in the work.
The problem highlighted by the current riots in Baltimore and the earlier riots in Ferguson cannot be reduced to the casual observation that mostly black neighborhoods cannot be effectively policed by a mostly white police force. Due to its more intimate knowledge of the local communities, a mostly black police force can be as equally oppressive in its tactics if not more so, unless the real problems are addressed.