You'll probably think it's tofu knitting, if you're right of centre, or appeasement if you're leftist, but Amnesty really works.
My personal conviction about this stems from a bizarre experience of receiving a reply to an Amnesty letter once.
I recall I was working with a muslim academic from UAE on translating some of Edward Said's fables, many years ago, when an Amnesty letter I'd written to the then leader of Israel resulted in a personal reply. The Secretary of State himself (later to become president) had decided to take the time to write back to me to explain in great detail why his army had been instructed to kill arab children in the street. Apparently I was a victim of media propaganda, and was not to think of these dangerous terrorist militias as 'children' per se. Oh, and that the killing would continue, thanks.
The job I was working on at the time I received this state apologia for the most incredible brutality put me into contact with
arab academics some people who were extremely interested in what an Israeli government's justification of child killing might be -- especially when its intended audience was not the UN, the US, any figure of state at all, but a UK undergraduate who had written simply asking why it happened.
It's the simplicity of the thing that makes Amnesty work. You write letters, and you ask why. You ask if it might be possible to calm down, old chap. You remind them that someone somewhere knows these people are still alive.
Current Appeals for Action:It costs #24 or USD$25, or CA$20, or AUS$55 or Kr240 to join Amnesty International. Then you get to write some letters to Ministries of Foreign Affairs, and that might cost you a few stamps.
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- Women of Rwanda: marked for death
- Belarus: Stop the silencing of trade union activists
- Ratification - Bahrain
- Angola: Stop forcible eviction of families
- Stop violence against women - Act now
- Ratification - Jamaica
- Thailand's anti-drug policy should not be killing people
- Burundi: Women under attack
- Ratification - Burundi
- USA: "Double jeopardy" for some Guantanamo detainees
- "Justice only in heaven" ? End the death penalty in Uzbekistan
- Ratification - Yemen
- Viet Nam: Help free Le Chi Quang, imprisoned for internet use
- Mexico: Stop violence against women in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua