Friday, June 13, 2008
Next stop - human rights for all...
I'm in Toronto now, for the Amnesty International AGM. It's a gathering of the tribe, maybe 300 activists from across Canada. There will be business things to do, like elections and resolutions and debates on policy - important and some people love that stuff. There will also be direct actions to take, great workshops and inspiring guests and moments.
One of those guests is Rebiya Kadeer, and amazing women who is having an impact worldwide as she works to free Huseyin Celil, a Canadian citizen imprisoned in China. Here's a story in the Globe today about her.
Ms. Kadeer is considered the most important leader of the Uyghur people - the Muslim minority group to which Mr. Celil belongs. She met with Canadian officials this week, and is in Toronto today kicking off Amnesty International's annual general meeting.
Question: when you feel outrage about something being done to someone or something, how do you channel it or deal with it?
Answer to your question: I pray, and if there is ever something I personally can do to help, I usually try.
Examples you'll enjoy .... as a kid, I jumped in to help a boy getting kicked on the bus and got kicked too and later ridiculed. Later, in high school, there was this boxer/bully guy who got paid by his friends to beat up some other kids. I jumped on his back outraged after he threw the first punch. He flung me off like a swatted fly. It hurt. My friend still got a bloody nose. =(
PS - Hurry back. I'm missing your comments on my blog!
I do all that I can do. Sometimes that is not enough :(
Thank you for doing the work that you do -- for all of us.
Your question has been very relevant in my life lately. For me, these days, I seem to go directly to that serenity prayer and try to discern if what is before me is something I can or should work to change. When I have my answer, I try to work on the change (or accept the situation) fearlessly and effectively and lovingly. Not always easy, to be sure, but if I can look in the mirror and know I did my best for myself or someone else, I can live with that.
I agree that the blogging community is a virtual tribal alliance where we are free to discuss things with one another when we don't feel especially comfortable doing so among our workmates. Since I work as support staff in a very conservative specialty medical practice most of what I overhear is people trying to placate the opinions of fairly wealthy doctors and administrators. It reminds me of a favorite old Kinks song "She Wears A Hat Like Princess Marina (So She Don't Care)". It's depressing.
So far as your question is concerned I have to agree with your friends who have commented before me.. and to emulate the Dalai Lama in a very small way. I try to use skillful means.
It’s natural enough to feel angry, to feel a sense of outrage, but to remain in that state I think will may well limit your opportunities and good intentions. Ultimately I think it’s a matter of a shift in consciousness; to create awareness which wins over the hearts and minds through thoughtful communication and factual persuasion. You can’t do that as well if you remain angry, especially if it’s evident in your communication.
All of the business things to do, like elections and resolutions and debates on policy - are of equal importance with those aspects which involve more direct action, the latter will be heavily influenced by the former and vica versa. I know you would be already aware of that from your board meetings. Some as you say like that stuff, but I think that my well be their best way they can add their own contribution to the organization. It is of equal importance to the words of your inspiring guests.
Seriously, it does sound like you are actually trying to do good things. How can I begrudge you a vacation like that?
Even I miss you.
Sometimes a little bit of all of it.
hope you can rest up from your whirlwind 'tour'
Mary - you do a lot.
Cheri - you're one of my heros too.
Susan - I met Mr. Celil's wife in Toronto last week. He's a cause now because he's a Canadian citizen, but as so many others, no charges, no open trial, no lawyer, long sentence and it's not even known what prison he's in. The Chinese have a long effing ways to go.
Point made about the US prison rate though - highest in the world, even higher than China's...
Lindsay - you're so wise! You're right of course, about the roles people play all making a difference.
Callooh - what a nice bracelet you have.
Utah - I'm touched... and I miss you too. I'll be around soon.
Fran - yes, outrage and action... and ice cream :) And humour and love and friendship and solidarity and at Amnesty meetings... dancing, lots of dancing.
Ingrid - that's very cool. You're one of my heroes too.
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