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10 Amazing Courageous People In History

Last updated on Apr 22, 2014
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Acts Of Heroism

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

When researching this list, I wanted to find stories that convey the inherent altruistic nature we're all capable of, but don't often hear about. Those unsung heroes that risked everything for a greater good and, for a moment, transcended their own immortality to make the right decision where most others would have hesitated. Some heroes affect one life, while others can change the course of history. Today we'll be looking at 10 courageous people in history and their amazing acts of heroism.

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Alia Muhammad Baker saves one of the largest collections of books in Iraq

During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the city of Basra came under siege. Constantly bombarded by Australian, American and British forces, nothing in the city was safe, including the historical artifacts. The Al Basrah Central Library held some of the most important texts in the Middle East, but with anti-aircraft guns on top, was also a prime target.

Head librarian Alia Muhammad Baker braved the fire and, recruiting whoever she could find, managed to rescue 70% of the books before the library was consumed by a fire, including irreplaceable centuries-old manuscripts. Braving a war zone, and acting directly against the governor of Basra who had denied permission to move books, Baker saved integral parts of Iraq’s culture.

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Dr. Daniel Ellsberg leaks the Pentagon Papers to the press, and sticks around to face the music

Long before Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, and Julian Assange, there was Dr. Daniel Ellsberg. A strategic analyst employed at a global strategy think tank, he helped to contribute research to a study of classified documents regarding the conduct of the Vietnam War. It wasn’t until late 1969 that Ellsberg became disturbed by the course of the war, and he decided he should do something about it. Photocopying classified documents, he first approached members of the Senate, working throughout 1970 to try and persuade them to release these documents to the Senate. Unsuccessful, he shared the papers with Neil Sheehan of the New York Times, who then published them. After publication, Ellsberg then leaked the papers to other papers, including The Washington Post. Despite facing a number of charges that carried up to 115 years of sentences, Ellsberg stayed in the country instead of being a coward and running. He surrendered to authorities and faced the charges, and in 1973, all of the charges were dismissed.

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