Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Moezeldin Elmostafa - 2008 Hero of the Year

Moezeldin Elmostafa in Court wouldn't be intimidated by Nifong's Boys


A warm and well-deserved congratulations goes to Mr. Moezeldin Elmostafa of Durham, North Carolina, chosen as as the Reader's Digest 2008 Hero of the Year.

By a wide margin, readers chose Moezeldin Elmostafa of Durham, North Carolina, as the Reader's Digest 2008 Hero of the Year.

As we reported in November, the cabdriver picked up two young men in Durham on March 14, 2006, and drove them to the Duke University campus. A month later, Elmostafa was asked to testify on behalf of one of the men, who had been charges, with two other Duke lacrosse player, with sexually assaulting an exotic dancer. Despite intense pressure from the prosecution, Elmostafa agreed to appear as a witness and helped exonerate the trio. Having recently passed his U. S. citizenship test, the Sudanese immigrant says he did only what all citizens should do --- tell the truth. (PlumInnocent - April issue of Reader's Digest page 24)

See Liestopper's article about Elmo from Nov 7, 2007

We urge Durham 's Mayor Bell declared a Day of Honor and award the Key to the City to one of Durham finest citizens!

Hat Tip: PlumInnocent, J

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Elmostafa it is a pleasure to see you honored. I cannot think of a better example of what a US citizen should be. Here's to the day you take your oath of citizenship, but truthfully you have already taken it!

Anonymous said...

Too bad we can't have a one-for-one exchange of people like Elmostafa for the chronically miserable whiners who were born here but have no appreciation for what they have. We could keep immigration under control but vastly improve the population with more decent and produtive citizens.

Even if this guy is not yet a citizen, he is (US) American enough for me.

don t. said...

Mr Elmostafa is more of an American than nifong, brodhead and the 88 mental vacumes will ever be. Congratulations Mr. Elmostrfa on the RD award and in advance on officially becoming a US citizen.

Trinity60

Anonymous said...

Love the expressions on Dumb and Dumber in the background.

Duke Newcombe said...

Bravo! Elmo is most deserving of this award. This makes my day.
Thanks to Liestoppers for bringing to my attention the original RD article so could vote.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Elmostafa, you are a man of integrity and deserved all the admiration you receive. You did what was right. What a legacy to pass on to your fanily. Years from now, a grandchild will be proudly told of their grandfather's honesty.

Welcome to Amercia! You'll do just fine!

Anonymous said...

Yes, there should be a day and celebration honoring Mr. Elmostafa. Gee, do you think Jesse, Al, Karla, Houston, Grant, Barry, Thug, Victoria et al would attend an event honoring one of their own?

mac said...

Mr. Elmostafa should be given a big cut of whatever the lawsuits bring: he was the key log that proved one of the accused's assertions that he was elsewhere at the time of the alleged crimes.

The fact that he faced jail for a crime that never was, as part of the Hoax setup, screams for the need for federal intervention.

Anonymous said...

But don't hold your breath. One hand is washing the other.

Anonymous said...

Mr Elmostafa is obviously a man with good character and high morals We respect his decision to be honest. He is a HERO!

To make a true, though simplistic statement - he has a brain, a heart, and courage - and was not deterred by the falsehoods of the many "false wizards of Duke and Durham", as many people were.

Congratulations to Mr Elmostafa.

Anonymous said...

Beth Brewer deserves it alot more, if not for her there would be no world attention, and Nifong would still be in office while 3 men sit in jail for crimes they did not do but where railroaded for political gain. Beth is a hero, Elmo just told the truth.

Anonymous said...

If there was ever a picture that tells a 1000 words. Think the photographer needs an award. Anyone id the jackboots?

Anonymous said...

I am sure those jocks have Elmo's name on their list - After, the Jag, Vacation Condo, etc.

Duke Newcombe said...

Magazine names cabbie Hero of the Year

By Dan E. Way : The Herald-Sun
dway@heraldsun.com

Mar 15, 2008

DURHAM -- Moezeldin Elmostafa is elated beyond expression. He has risen from the humiliation of being the cabbie who became collateral damage in the politically motivated Duke lacrosse case to being anointed an American hero.

Reader's Digest has named Elmostafa its 2008 Hero of the Year. He was selected by thousands of readers in an online contest sponsored by the popular, folksy magazine that has more than 40 million U.S. readers. The distinction will be announced in the edition slated to hit news stands Tuesday.

"I feel great about it. I really feel good," said Elmostafa. The Sudanese immigrant and co-owner of On Time Taxi said he couldn't have entertained a dream of this uniquely American miracle story when he immigrated here in 1999.

"When I came to this country I just was by myself, and seven years later I'm a hero. It makes me feel like I'm on a right track," he said.

Consider that the 40-year-old and his wife, who is still in Sudan, just had their fourth child a month ago and it's been an incredibly good streak of fortune. In another month, he will take the oath of U.S. citizenship.

"That's all I dream about. If I get my citizenship, I will be able to bring my family" to America, Elmostafa said. "They are in a part of the country [Sudan] where they are kind of safe, not really safe, but kind of safe. I call them every day, sometimes twice a day."

Reader's Digest profiled the 40-year-old Elmostafa and his travails in its November edition, and the ordeal struck a national nerve.

To recap, he was the taxi driver who picked up Duke lacrosse player Reade Seligmann and a friend on March 14, 2006, from an off-campus lacrosse party at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. He took them to an ATM, a fast-food restaurant and then to a campus dorm.

The late-night fare provided Seligmann, who was falsely accused along with two teammates of raping a stripper who performed at the party, with an ironclad alibi.

Shortly thereafter, Elmostafa was arrested on a 2003 warrant charging him with shoplifting at Hecht's department store at Northgate Mall. A woman who got a ride in his taxi had been charged and later pleaded guilty to stealing handbags.

Defense lawyers and lacrosse case observers accused District Attorney Mike Nifong -- who was later disbarred as a rogue prosecutor for his misadventures in the lacrosse case and spent a night in jail -- of attempting to shake down Elmostafa with the old warrant. District Judge Ann McKown found the cabbie not guilty at trial for lack of evidence linking him to the crime.

"That's the only time I ever saw her," Elmostafa said of the lady shoplifter. "I wish I never had picked her up that day."

"It was politics at that time," he said of the move to arrest him. "Those people [the three indicted Duke lacrosse players], they took them to jail for no reason and they took me to jail for no reason, too," Elmostafa said. "I'm still kind of angry against official people here."

"It was a very scary time" as he rode in the back of a police car with handcuffs on, he said. "I thought they were going to deport me, take away my green card and end my life here," or that he might end up spending the rest of his life in jail, the sort of sentence that might be expected in his native country.

But amid the terror arose a level of calming acceptance that he was doing what was right and that he would not allow anyone to sway his testimony about the Seligmann situation.

"I thought about that. I tell the truth, it doesn't matter, so jail doesn't matter," he said.

That gritty resolve amid overwhelming pressure, and the fact that Elmostafa ended up with a $2,500 debt for money he borrowed to defend himself, is what resonated with Reader's Digest voters in the hero contest.

"Mr. Elmostafa won by a very large margin. He was far and away our frontrunner," said Ellen Morgenstern, director of public relations for Reader's Digest.

"When we originally ran the story in our November issue we had a wonderful response from our readers, several of which were offers of monetary donations to help him cover his legal expenses," Morgenstern said. "We've had readers send money to him."

"I'm really thankful for that, for whatever they send, even $1," Elmostafa said. "They make me feel like I've done something good."

The Reader's Digest honor does not come with a monetary gift, but the Durham cabbie will receive other rewards for his perseverance in the face of politicized pressure during the lacrosse case.

"We will actually bestow an award on Mr. Elmostafa, and we are hoping to do that in New York City," Morgenstern said, "and we are expecting that to be done in conjunction with a national morning show" television appearance by Elmostafa. Those details have yet to be finalized.

Hopes of bringing Elmostafa to New York sooner were dashed, but Morgenstern said "I was very impressed" with the reason for the rejection.

"We wanted him to come up as the magazine was coming out" announcing him as the winner, Morgenstern said. "But he said, 'I can't, I have to be here for my customers.'

"We understand that his [business] partner has been away, and he will not leave his customers high and dry" before his partner returns to work, she said. "He takes his work very seriously."

And Americans have taken Elmostafa into the fold as a true American hero.

Letter writers to Reader's Digest variously described him as "the type of immigrant America wants and needs" to "indeed a hero . . . Important people, intellectual elites, people who had much greater responsibilities and power were aligned against him yet he still did the right thing."

"Every day I get a phone call or two calls," Elmostafa said. "People I don't even know. People from all over the country" thanking him for his bold stance to do what's right.

"When you see people calling you a hero, you feel great about yourself," Elmostafa said. "You feel more, like, grateful and thankful for America and the justice system and society, a combination."

Anonymous said...

Elmostafa was in a vulnerable position. Unlike many posters and Durham residents, Elmo was a resident alien. He risked deportation back to Sudan!!!!

Anonymous said...

So what did he even come here legally?

Anonymous said...

Elmo is certainly a man of strong character and I admire his fortitude. Regardless of his status this country needs more of his strength and less intimidation. Who is the brow beating muscle man?

Anonymous said...

I voted for him a while back and faintly hoped that he'd win.

I'm going to look for the issue

Anonymous said...

How bout you put his statue right between your gnomes and lawn jockey you lousy lot of hypocrites

Anonymous said...

Who are you? The security guy in the photo who looks like he's taking a standing shit?

Anonymous said...

How sad it is that a man like this has a hard time becomign a citizen yet we let leeches and criminal aliens stay without a problem.

Anonymous said...

I've always seen this picture simply as proof of the injustice it represents. For some reason, today I notice that Mr. Elmostafa does not appear to be the least bit intimidated by the _____ s. What a man!