Image from article, with caption: Former Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy held a press conference at Ryerson University after returning from Canada from Egypt where he was imprisoned for terrorism-related charges.
Canadians who get into trouble abroad want to know their government will go to bat for them. If they are caught up in political turmoil through no fault of their own, they especially want to know they won’t be left twisting in the wind.
Mohamed Fahmy, the Al Jazeera journalist who was imprisoned in Egypt for more than 400 days for the alleged crime of “spreading false news,” was not abandoned by the Canadian government. But now that he is safely back in Canada, he is making it clear that Ottawa could have been much more effective in advocating on his behalf. At the very least, Prime Minister Stephen Harper could have been more adroit in combining public diplomacy with behind-the-scenes lobbying to free Fahmy much sooner.
A Princeton PhD, was a US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United." Affiliated with Georgetown University for over ten years, he shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."