I have testified many times over my 30-year career as an international human rights activist. I remember only too vividly my very first one. It was on the subject of human rights in Romania, and I believe the year was 1983. I was so frightened I almost fainted at the witness table. I’m sure my voice quavered and I’ll bet I said “uh” every other word. Somehow, in spite of me, the message about Romanian human rights got through, and the Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee were kind.
Public speaking became easier with practice, of course, and I came to love it. Over the years, I testified on dozens of countries and issues: Genocide. HIV/AIDS. Sexual assault. U.S. human rights policy. Conflict diamonds. Labor rights.
But I’ve never had so much fun in my life than when I got to testify on July 17 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.