Letters to the Editor

Write a letter and support human rights

What do I write to a young woman in Iran, arrested after collecting signatures for women’s equality and given six years in prison?

What do I write to a journalist in Sri Lanka, charged with treason after criticizing the government for the human rights disaster resulting from the civil war there?

What do I write to people in Honduras being pressured to sell their land by thugs that murder, kidnap and burn with impunity?

At the San Juan County Fair, the local chapter of Amnesty International offered anyone interested the chance to face those questions. I found that expressing my appreciation for the difficulties these people face was hard.

It’s difficult enough to write a simple but genuine greeting to a friend or relative in circumstances that, in comparison, are pretty similar to my own, but these people are living with difficulties that are so unfamiliar. What do I write that can reach across those differences and be truly encouraging?

Nearly 300 postcards were written at the fair and tacked to the wall for all to read. The wall of cards was beautiful — all of those attempts to send a message of encouragement — and the cards are now en route to their recipients with postage paid by the Amnesty International group and by donations collected at the fair.

This fall, the local Amnesty group will provide more opportunities to write to people experiencing human rights violations and to those in governments that have the power to stop those violations. We’ll hold Write-A-Thons at the Naked Bean Café, 150B First St., in Friday Harbor, on the second Thursday of each month from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

— Thursday, Sept. 10: Stop Violence Against Women.

— Thursday, Oct. 8: Restore the America We Believe In.

— Thursday, Nov. 12: Protect the Rights of People Affected by Armed Conflict.

— Thursday, Dec. 10: Human Rights Day, Freeing Prisoners of Conscience.

For additional information, please contact Steve Kirk, 378-8567.

Amnesty International is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human rights worldwide.

Friday Harbor Group
Amnesty International
Friday Harbor

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