I figure I should explain to you about the charity that I’m doing this 24 hour Blogathon thing for: Amnesty International. First off, I decided to do this Blogathon a little late in the game, so I didn’t have a lot of time to set everything up. So I went with the suggested list of charities on the Blogathon website. From that list, AI was the one that most reflects things I believe in. However, if I were to have chosen my own from all the charities, I’d probably have gone with something fighting climate change, since An Inconvenient Truth scared the pants off me.
Still, I believe in what AI does, and am happy to be raising money for them ($283 so far!). You can read up on Amnesty International through their website (http://www.amnesty.org/), but that’s a little dense because there’s so much content. So a good primer is their wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amnesty_international. Here’s their basic goals:
-Free all Prisoners of Conscience (a “POC” is a person imprisoned for the peaceful exercise of their beliefs, which differs somewhat from the typical use of the term political prisoner, but not including persons whose beliefs Amnesty International define as “hate speech”).
-Ensure fair and prompt trials.
-Abolish all forms of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners, including the use of the death penalty.
-End state-sanctioned terrorism, killings, and disappearances.
-Assist political asylum-seekers.
-End all forms of violence against women
-Co-operate with organizations that seek to put an end to human rights abuses.
-Raise awareness about human rights abuses around the world.
These are all good things right? I’m a big fan of human rights, what with being human and all. I’m also against the death penality and believe that societies can be judged based on how well they treat their prisoners (which is to say, the worse they treat them, the more likely it is that the country is a terrible place, not that criminals need to be given palaces to pay for their crimes in). I also oppose torture and am pretty disgusted by what’s going on at Abu Gharib, because it’s such a fundamental abuse of the ideals that America is founded upon (right to a fair trial, innocent until proven guilty). I love those ideals, even if America sometimes fails to live up to them. I don’t believe that the war on terror superscedes these ideals, and by acting like that, the US has already dramatically changed their way of life for the worst because of terrorists.
So while I may never participate in a AI letter writing campaign, I do think I’m doing my part today by raising some money to help them in their cause. I’ll probably get into my thoughts in these matters more throughout the day (more material, yay!), but feel free to discuss or ask more questions.