A moderately encouraging item:
[A] new report on the state of freedom globally gives hope that we are at the start of a tectonic shift toward liberty across the Muslim world.This year eight countries moved up and only four moved down in the Freedom House rankings. The report gives some credit to George Bush, would you believe it? Read the rest. (Via Kevin Drum and Tim Blair.)
The report comes from Freedom House, a nonpartisan organization founded by Eleanor Roosevelt and Wendell Wilkie. Every year its specialists rate every country in the world on an exhaustive checklist of civil and political rights.
This week, Freedom House released its survey for 2005. The survey grades each country (from a best of 1 to a worst of 7) and then simplifies these scores into a broader categorization of "free," "partly free" or "not free." (For example, the U.S. and Australia are "free"; Burma and Cuba are "not free"; Turkey and Nigeria are "partly free.") Because countries usually evolve gradually, not many of the numeric scores change in any one year, and even a rise or fall in a country's score is usually insufficient to move it from one of the three broad categories to another.