“Activism” is a word which has seen a marked rise in popularity as of late. It would seem, from a mere cursory glance at any of the popular social media sites that nearly everyone is an “activist” so some stripe. But just as the rise of the internet marked a influx of glorified googler calling themselves “journalists,” the real investigators stuck out, such is the case with real activists like Thor Halvorssen Mendoza. For those unfamiliar with the name, Thor Halvorssen Mendoza is the son of the noted drug trafficking commissioner and enemy of Pablo Escobar, Thor Halvorssen Hellum. Mr. Halvorssen is also the leader and co founder of the Human Rights Foundation and a vociferous detractor from socialism and tyranny the world over.
Unlike the leaders of many other non-profit human rights defense organizations, Thor Halvorssen is notable in that he is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and get down in the dirt for his cause. Such was just the case during a 2010 trip to HO Chi Minh City to interview Thich Quang Do, the leader of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, a church which had been facing increasing levels of repression and persecution from the local government, so much so that the spiritual leader had been placed under house arrest for no other reason than that he was affiliated with the previously mentioned faith.
Mr. Halvorssen was able to sneak into Thich Quang Do’s abode and craftily film a lengthy interview about the state of affairs in Vietnam. However, as Mr. Halvorssen was leaving the premises he was detained by police who then decided to use his body as their new punching bag, he was then thrown in prison. Yet despite all of pain he suffered at the hands of his captors, Halvorssen made sure that they were not able to secure his recorded interview with the Buddhist leader which he, along with a confederate, smuggled out of the premises by hiding it in their rectum. That may sound silly but the information which came to light helped human rights organizations world wide put pressure on the Vietnamese authorities and it was all thanks to one activist who was willing to do anything it took to get the job done.