Tonight I signed up for the Amnesty International Global Write-a-thon, the world's largest letter writing event, organized to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10, and to give people like us a chance to use the proven power of writing letters to pressure authorities around the world to release those who have been unjustly imprisoned and to stop the torture and abuse of others.
"The pen is truly mightier than the sword," says Amnesty. "Millions of Amnesty International members around the world have taken up the pen to bring freedom and hope to prisoners of conscience, human rights defenders, victims of torture and other individuals at risk since 196.1 They've acted on the words of imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who asked the world: "Please use your freedom to promote ours."
I've pledged to write three letters for the write-a-thon and apparently in November the website will provide a list of the featured cases, the people who need our advocasy and I can choose then who I will write for. I've promised to write and send them between December 5 and 13. These letters, Amnesty says, "make a difference in the lives of real people." They give two women realeased from prison in February 2009 as examples: Ma Khin Khin Leh of Myanmar (Burma) and Hana Abdi of Iran, both women's rights advocates, both unjustly imprisoned and both freed largely because of the letter writing pressure that Amnesty International brought to bear.
The letters I write will advocate for the freedom and protection of women like these, but they will be an act of personal revolution too. The island patriarchy has worked hard to make me believe that I am powerless. But try as it might this wicked culture cannot take away my voice, or the belief that my voice joined with others can indeed set an innocent woman free and make a difference in the world.
I promised Amnesty I'd encourage you to sign up for the 2009 Write-a-thon for Human Rights, to use your freedom to promote freedom for others, so consider yourself encouraged!