Friday, 28 September 2012

You have the right to remain silent...


So the SP and I were walking in the woods, the way we do. And the leaves are turning now, starting to sigh into Autumn. They’re not quite falling…except for those which seem to want to immolate themselves, tumbling perfect to lie stark, graphic splashes of saffron, vermilion and chestnut against the dark mud.  And all my usual medicine walk messages popped up – oak leaves, blackbirds (male), grey feathers. But I always want more. 

‘Y’know,’ I said to the SP, who listened intently, his eyes bright, his tail quivering.  ‘We haven’t had a sign lately. Not a big one.’  And he agreed, licking my hand with quiet intent.  And then, as we walked down the very steep bit at the end, coming back towards town, I saw something bright on the path right in front of us.  As in really bright pristine white.  With big pink lettering.  And a zip.  And it said:

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT

Huh?  I picked it up. It can’t have been there for more than a few moment – it wasn’t even damp. Yet there was nobody around.  And I thought about how that applied to me and pondered.  But then I thought. Hmm, it’s not always about you, Jane, you spoiled greedy little bitch. J  Cos it was a leaflet from Amnesty International.  An organisation for which I’ve always had time and respect.  And it took me back to what I was saying the other day about how there’s nothing much we can do about stuff – y’know, about Syria and all.  But, hey, I figure maybe we can do a little bit, by supporting organizations like this. 

Anyhow, what did it say, this sign?  When I opened it up…

* When a 13-year old girl in Somalia is buried up to her neck and stoned to death.
* When peaceful protesters in Syria are arrested, beaten and murdered simply for voicing their opinions.
* When a woman is sentenced to 20 lashes and three years in an Iranian prison for wanting the same rights as a man.
* When a family in Nigeria is violently evicted from their home to make way for corporate development.

Whenever and wherever a fellow human being is persecuted, tortured, oppressed or abused you can have the right to stand silently by.

Or, of course, you can help people like Amnesty who try to help people like this. And I thought, shit yeah.  We don’t know we’re born, right?  Because so many people can't speak - they really can't. And it's not just places like Syria, and North Korea and Somalia. Look at Pussy Riot, look at what's going on in Russia and Belarus. Look at what's happening on the Internet. Check out Amnesty's campaigns - they might open your eyes to a little of what's going on.  

But what good does it do, for me to raise my puny arm here on this little blog?  Isn’t it just a case of making myself feel better, of feeling less guilty about swanning off to some lovely spa, while people are rotting in cells, while children are starving in Africa, when people are being tortured, FFS?  Well.  I feel like this.  If everyone who read this sent a donation to Amnesty or, if you really can’t afford a tenner, wrote about it and encouraged others to do so, then I guess it could make a difference.  Hey, it’s worth a try, huh?   Just remember…that while you have the right to remain silent…

YOU ALSO HAVE THE RIGHT TO SPEAK OUT 

PS...they also have a nifty shop... :
That's the badger! 

2 comments:

Frances said...

Jane, Amnesty has done many wonderful things for many folks over the years.

Yes, they will accept donations, but the writing of letters is where their strength has been.

I encourage your readers to connect with AI, and see just how much commitment might be within your zone.

xo

solange noir said...

I agree. I've been writing letters for them for years. Donate if you can, but write no matter what. It really does make a difference.