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wacky, yet bizarrely beautiful, time that
redefined me.
Somehow, I think Shawn Dorman
had a lot to do with this wonderful
issue. I have always enjoyed reading
, but this time it was espe-
cially rewarding.
By the way, I have already joined the
Moscow Veterans Web site described
in the December Cybernotes
Thanks for the memories!
Barbara Dillon Hillas
Alexandria, Va.
Three Gems
I would like to commend you for
three articles in the November
, all
reprised from earlier issues. I particu-
larly enjoyed Donald Roberts’ wonder-
ful satire, “Human Rights Report for
the Hun Empire, A.D. 451.” It
brought me back to 1976, when I was
assigned to what was then the Office of
the Coordinator of Human Rights and
Humanitarian Affairs. While there, I
helped compile and edit the first
human rights reports that the State De-
partment submitted to Congress in
April 1977.
The reports were required on all
countries receiving any form of security
assistance, based on Section 502B
(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act, as
amended in 1976. Overseas posts and
the department struggled with the un-
precedented task of documenting the
human rights practices of the 137 coun-
tries that received any form of U.S. se-
curity assistance — even if only an
instruction manual — and crafting
credible public reports to Congress.
State did not want to destroy diplo-
matic relations with those govern-
ments, which were not accustomed to
having their human rights records pub-
licly divulged and judged by the U.S.
We weathered the resulting diplomatic
storms, and I am pleased to say that
while the reports were not as blunt as
critics would have liked, they did not
descend to the level of the satire in the
Hun Empire’s human rights report.
Still, Mr. Roberts’ parody contained
many phrases familiar to those of us
who negotiated the initial reports with
desks and bureaus. Those modest ef-
forts were the forebears of annual
human rights reports that subsequently
became more detailed and candid, and
ultimately were written about every
country in the world. In the process,
respect for internationally recognized
human rights became a constant ele-
ment of U.S. foreign policy.
Second, reading the late Ambassa-
dor Hume Horan’s commentary, “The
U.S. and Islam in the Modern World,”
which you first published nearly a
decade earlier, reminded me of the
clear thinker and clear writer that I re-
member from 30 years ago. His com-
ments on Islam’s frozen theology and
practices, and the unnecessarily, but
perennially, stalled Israeli-Palestinian
F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 2 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L
(January 2012
, p. 76)