IN AN ever more impressive annual gathering of people who have taken a stand for liberty and those who are determined to help them, the historic centre of Oslo became a focal point this week for dissidents, pro-democracy campaigners and former prisoners of conscience, as well as admirers of their causes. In a well-tried formula, speakers at the Oslo Freedom Forum were given about 12 minutes each to tell their stories, explain their personal predicaments or lay out their proposals. They were asked to prepare these presentations carefully because they would be live-streamed across the world and viewed by myriad visitors to the OFF website.
Two of the most inspiring presentations this year were offered by a Christian pastor from Zimbabwe, and a Bangladeshi publisher who is known for airing secularist ideas. In other words, a man of religion and a person who gives a platform to those who question religion.