American author Nelson DeMille once said: “If everyone howled at every injustice, every act of barbarism, every act of unkindness, then we would be taking the first step towards a real humanity.”
For one reason or another, “everyone” will not, but on Friday, Moose Javians at least have an easy opportunity to support the fight against injustice, and one need not even “howl,” but merely do something completely familiar — sign one’s name.
Friday marks Human Rights Day around the world, and features a massive letter-writing campaign: Write For Rights, organized by Amnesty International. In Moose Jaw, the local chapter, Group No. 192, will be set up from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Java Express to participate in the day.
Group No. 192 has been in place since the 1980s, having held an event in honour of the day for many years. The group has always been small, with a core of about a dozen members, and it meets only once every two months, but it is committed to remedying injustice wherever it is found.
Participating in the Write For Rights day is easy; the letters are already written, all that is being sought are signatures. Does one more signature from a far off small city in the little ol’ Saskatchewan mean anything? Maybe not, but it is not going to hurt and public pressure can work.
Without public pressure, neither Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi or three of the six individuals Amnesty groups in Canada wrote in support of last year likely would have been freed. When enough people speak out on causes, governments and other authorities can no longer ignore the complaints; consider the G8/ G20 protests aftermath unraveling since June’s summits as an example.
One of the cases this year is that of Liu Xiaobo, the jailed Chinese dissident who, on Friday, will be awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize in absentia. Another is closer to home, the case of the Lubicon Cree in northern Alberta, an Aboriginal group that has seen their traditional lands plundered while they languish in poverty.
It is winter in Moose Jaw, and that means cups of hot chocolate, coffee, or cider are always welcome to cold hands and chilly tongues. So stop by the café Friday, grab a drink, and sign a letter or two in support of justice. It is the least one can do.