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Monday, May 01, 2006

Inspiring AI meeting


The Amnesty AGM in Portland was inspiring. When 900 people get together who have one thing in common - their dedication to a world that promotes, supports and fights for human rights, for everyone - it can be busy... and moving. In addition to the work of the meeting (resolutions and all), there were some very inspiring events.

We held a rally in Pionner Square (photo of square left) to oppose torture (and extraordinary rendition). The plastic orange ponchos worn were symbolic of the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay... and with the hot sunny day, they were pretty sticky inside. The speakers included a woman who was a torture victim herself... and who lost her husband, her father and two daughters to disappearance (in Guatamala). We also heard from a Portland doctor who supports 1700 patients who have been torture victims and from a woman who is an expert on the illegal mystery flights the US is using when they illegally detain, and then transfer prisoners to countries where they can be interogated in a way that's ... well, torture. We made a lot of noise.

Actress Mira Sorvino may be famous for her role in Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion (and other movies), but she's also a Harvard grad and an amazing humanitarian. As spokesperson for Amnesty's campaign to stop violence against women, she hosted a MAKE SOME NOISE FOR DARFUR concert in Portland (she's 8 months pregnant too). Along with lots of noise, petitions, letters etc. we had a great evening of music, including Suzanne Vega and acoustic sets from Collective Soul, Tom Morelos (of Audioslave) and Incubus. Okay, those of you my age probably only know Suzanne, but Lauren, Vee and other younger bloggers might have even wanted to be there! (Correct me anyone.)

Anyhow, back to work , family, community and watching NHL hockey playoffs (Go Edmonton!).
Comments:
Sounds like your trip was a success! I was looking forward to hearing how it went. Hope Portland treated you well.
 
Mikk - I didn't have time to get around much but did discover Powell's Bookstore (wow!) and Dead Guy Ale (and some other beers too). Seems like a great city.
 
Gary, this is inspiring. Of course I'd have loved to have been there and not just for the music!:)
 
Cool. And do tell more about the "wow!" bookstore!
 
Jublu - Powells main store in Portland is 4 stories and thousands of square feet of new, used, signed and every other state of book you can imagine. Not to mention a cafe, cool staff, nooks and crannies to sit in ... and deals. I picked up a nice signed copy of EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE for a song. When you enter, you get a map. AND it's independent.

Here's their website - talks about them and sells books. Powells
 
Sure wanted to be there Gary..
 
Hi Gary
Sounds like an inspirational meeting of great like minded minds.

I understand it costs about $25 million for each execution (mainly in legal costs)in NY.

Best wishes
 

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