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Sharansky Awarded Medal of Freedom

President Bush awarded Former Prisoner of Zion Natan Sharansky with the highest civilian award

Fear No Evil - by Natan Sharansky

U.S. President George Bush awarded America's highest civilian honor to 10 men and women who have distinguished themselves in contributing to world peace, national security, and culture. Former Prisoner of Zion and Likud MK Natan Sharansky received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Friday at a White House ceremony.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S. highest civilian award, recognizes exceptional meritorious service. The medal was established by President Truman in 1945 to recognize notable service in the war. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy reintroduced it as an honor for distinguished civilian service in peacetime.

Natan Sharansky's life is the story of good conquering evil and an illustration of the strength of the human spirit. Imprisoned by the Soviet regime for his work to advance religious liberty and human rights, he spent 9 years in the gulag. Following his immigration to Israel, he served with distinction in that nation's government. He remains a powerful champion of the principles that all people deserve to live in freedom and that the advance of liberty is critical to peace and security around the world. The United States honors Natan Sharansky for his contributions to and sacrifices for the cause of democracy and freedom.

President Bush awarding Natan Sharansky with the Presidential Medal of Freedom: "Americans first came to know Natan Sharansky as a voice for freedom inside an empire of tyranny. As a Jew applying to immigrate to Israel, he was refused and harassed by the Soviet regime. Natan Sharansky became a leading dissident and advocate for human rights, and after a show trial he was sentenced to a gulag for 10 years. The authorities may have hoped the world would forget the name Sharansky. Instead, leaders like President Reagan and Ambassador Kirkpatrick spoke often of his persecution, and the case of Natan Sharansky became a symbol of the moral emptiness of imperial communism.

 Today the Soviet Union is history, but the world still knows the name Sharansky. As a free man, he's become a political leader in Israel, winning four elections to the Knesset and serving more than eight years in the Cabinet. He remains, above all, an eloquent champion for liberty and democracy. Natan reminds us that every soul carries the desire to live in freedom, and that freedom has a unique power to lift up nations, transform regions, and secure a future for peace. Natan Sharansky is a witness to that power, and his testimony brings hope to those who still live under oppression.

We honor Natan Sharansky for his life of courage and conviction ." (From the White-House website)

 

Natan Sharansky was interviewed by David Essing on the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp (January 26th , 2005)


 

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