Did I tell you that I disliked Ebadi's speech in Boston?
I thought that the speech script was poorly written, with incorrect historical references (Hitler with good intentions?), misplaced emphasis on things (X-camp instead of Evin), and lacking the right expertise (trying to prove the compatibility of Islam and Democracy instead of talking about her own work). But dislike of her talk doesn't mean that I dislike who she is or what she does.
As a reaffirmation of this sentiment, I found the following beautiful letter from her in the Human Development Report of this year:
Human rights embody the fundamental values of human civilizations
By Shirin Ebadi
People are different, and so are their cultures.
In short, these common principles, which are shared by all civilizations, reflect our fundamental human rights. These rights are treasured and cherished by everyone, everywhere.
So cultural relativity should never be used as a pretext to violate human rights, since these rights embody the most fundamental values of human civilizations. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is needed universally, applicable to both East and West. It is compatible with every faith and religion. Failing to respect our human rights only undermines our humanity.
Let us not destroy this fundamental truth; if we do, the weak will have nowhere to turn.