Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bloggers Unite for Human Rights

I've been an advocate of human rights in my own quiet little ways since I was a teenager. I can remember begging and pleading my parents to agree to keep a foreign exchange student so I could understand what it was like to live in another country. Claudia, from Brasilia, Brazil, was our first student. She was so much like me and yet so different--and I was hooked. I begged and pleaded to be allowed to go somewhere as an exchange student, and I spent my 16th birthday in Peru. My parents hosted many students over the years, and when my own children were in school I followed suit. My oldest daughter has lived in both New Zealand and Russia--Siberia, no less--and we learned from a Serbian teenager what life was like under Milosovic.

Right now I'd love to jump on the bandwagon with the others who criticize the actions of the Myanmar government. There were human rights issues galore there before Cyclone Nargis struck, and now that the government is restricting aid to its homeless, starving, and injured citizens, the number and urgency of human rights issues in that country has soared.

But I'm too embarrassed to say too much. You know, it's that old "he who lives in a glass house shouldn't throw stones" saying. The U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay has become a global symbol of U.S. human rights violations: illegal detention, denial of fundamental legal rights, and torture. There is absolutely nothing that can be done to improve the image of our Guantánamo Bay facility, and it will serve as an embarrassment to the United States for generations. I agree with Amnesty International that the only proper recourse is to close the facility.

Tearitdown.org is Amnesty International’s global initiative to end illegal U.S. detentions. You can do something about Guantánamo: Click the image below and sign the pledge. Hang around for a few seconds afterward and watch the show--and let me know if you manage to see your own name (I couldn't sit still long enough to wait for mine).

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If you want to do something on a more personal level, host a foreign exchange student--it's a handshake toward future global understanding, tolerance, and peace.

3 comments:

CyberCelt said...

Good post! I am more concerned with what is happening in Burma as far as no aid getting to the 10,000s of homeless people.

Thanks for purchasing EC space from me. I appreciate it.

Peggy said...

I agree, good post. I would love to host a foreign exchange student when I'm older. I remember and still am close friends with the few that went to my high school. :)

mire said...

I think you guys will like this site:
http://www.nonprofitshoppingmall.com.

You can shop at all your normal stores at the normal prices AND give to UNICEF or Doctors Without Borders. Both groups are listed on this site and I am pretty sure they are some of the few groups being let into Burma.

You go to the site, choose the nonprofit you want to give to and then shop the "mall". A percent of your sale will go to the group you chose.

I hope this enables everyone to be able to GIVE and support these group's aid efforts.