In Norse the meaning of the name Thor is: God of thunder. When you talk with the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) founder, you will quickly determine that Thor Halvorssen is one who will never back down or stay silent.
Thirty-nine-year old Thor Halvorssen recently spoke with the WeeklyStandard.com about his job, background, tyrants and political status.
He loves his job and the foundation he established with a headquarters in New York City in 2005. He was raised on activism involving human rights with two parents who weren’t afraid to speak out for the common good. His father was Venezuela’s drug czar at the time, who uncovered and exposed government corruption. His father was repeatedly tortured in prison, and his mother received a bullet during her participation in an anti-Hugo Chavez demonstration. Currently, Thor Halvorssen’s first cousin remains jailed in Venezuela as a political prisoner.
He suggests that people who stand up to tyranny and dictatorships, like the defectors and dissidents, are his heroes.
Thor Halvorssen won’t keep his mouth shut and is unafraid to go where few dare, most notable to Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City in 2010. He and a cameraman had traveled there to capture and record an interview with the patriarch of the banned Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam.
The pair sneaked into the monastery, obtained the interview and were on their way out when Vietnamese authorities discovered their presence. The cameraman was able to slip out a side door with the video card carefully hidden, but Thor Halvorssen was taken into custody and beaten black and blue. Vietnamese authorities finally released him, after he convinced them he was merely a Buddhist seeker.
People have tried to slap political labels on Thor Halvorssen, mostly as a conservative republican, but that’s not him.
Thor Halvorssen likens his political leanings to the famous John Stuart Mill tradition, as a “classical liberal.”