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I’m helping out a bit with Pandagon’s blogathon for Amnesty International. The site’s two authors, Jesse and Amanda, have vowed to post an entry every 30 minutes for 24 hours straight, from 8am EST June 11 to 8am EST June 12, and ask their readers to donate money to Amnesty. This effort is, of course, a counter-backlash to the Bush administration’s backlash to Amnesty’s lashing out about the US government’s lashing of prisoners and detainees and the like. You can donate by clicking on the button below.
I thought I’d help the two sleep in slightly if I “donated” a few blog entries in advance to post in the middle of the night, but they seem to be posting midday anyway. Ah well.
Amnesty International is sort of two organizations in one. The first half is the “write letters to for the release of political prisoners” project. AI identifies people in foreign countries who seem to have been jailed for no other reason than that they oppose their government’s repressive policies. Then, they get hundreds, even thousands of people to write letters to those governments, demanding freedom for those prisoners. This tactic depends upon (successfully) that these governments’ fears that a mass of foreign letters could turn into policy changes in those foreign countries. And when faced with those fears, releasing one prisoner seems a cheap trade-off. The organization I work for, Axis of Justice, has partnered with Amnesty on multiple occasions to get letters and signatures at rock concerts, and our efforts have gotten at least two political prisoners out of jail.
The second half of Amnesty is their watchdog effort. They act essentially as investigative journalists, trying to ferret out all the human rights abuses that they can, as a way of exposing and hopefully ending them. Of course, exposing a problem doesn’t necessarily lead to a rememdy in all (or even most) occasions, but if no one knows that a government is torturing people in secret, there is certainly no reason for that government to stop their evil.
So this is what the Bush administration is badmouthing: efforts to free innocent human rights defenders, and efforts to tell the world about human rights abuses worldwide. That’s why I’m pissed.
Anyhow. Click below to send some money to Amnesty via Pandagon’s blogathon, either because you want to support Amnesty, because you like human rights, or to poke Bush and Cheney in the eye.
Also, Amnesty is asking that you respond to the White House hoo-ha by asking Congress to establish an independent commission to investigate the abuses at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, etc.
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