Snowden deserves praise and honours say human rights activists and sociologists

Snowden deserves praise and honours say human rights activists and sociologists

The link is to an op-ed (translated from Swedish into English) published in Sydsvenska dagbladet on 29 August 2013.

The author, Stefan Svallfors, is Professor of Sociology at Umeå University (Sweden) and the Institute for Future Studies (Denmark) and he makes a couple of very excellent points with which I agree whole-heartedly.

As such, Svallfors states that “Snowden’s revelations make explicit demands on citizens and politicians to act and react”, asking the question of how we have “responded to these demands”.

“Not in any impressive way one must say,” he argues. “Individual politicians and many citizens have reacted, expressed support for Snowden, trying to act in his defence […] But otherwise an awkward silence, evasive answers, gentle tiptoeing.”

“It is tragic,” he writes, “to see how thin the liberal veneer is in many places. When liberalism is no longer easy and obvious, when it requires courage and sacrifice, when we are forced to choose and our choices have real costs, what happens then? We fall into line, we bend to power. Without grumbling we let fairly manageable threats from terrorists sweep away fundamental rights and freedoms. We must demand more of ourselves and our elected officials than that.”
He, is right, of course, it is high time, we demanded more than that – of ourselves and our elected representatives.

Meanwhile in Germany, anti-corruption group Transparency International, together with other civil rights groups have awarded Snowden the Whistleblower-prize honouring his courage and sense of responsibility and expressing their gratitude for his actions. The prize honours informants who act in the public interest.

Well done, at long last, I say, and stand with Snowden!


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