Write a Letter that Can Save a Life
By Mirna Santana
"If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded." ~Maya Angelou
I would like to encourage you to write a letter. This is not a love letter or a letter to your family and friends, though I would say, write those too. The letter I wish to encourage you to write is a letter to one of the people withheld because of political reasons or other reasons that is relate to someone else misuse of power (such as gender, race, class, and so on). See Amnesty International Campaigns writeathon for more details.
Your words can SAVE LIVES.
"Join hundreds of thousands of people around the world in marking International Human Rights Day this December by taking part in Amnesty International's Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon - the world's largest human rights event. Through letters, cards and more, we take action to demand that the human rights of individuals are respected, protected and fulfilled. We show solidarity with those suffering human rights abuses, and work to bring about positive change in people's lives." Amnesty USA
The are many prisoners in other countries, and also in your own country. People who have been withheld without any trial or summary. You can see how many cases there are by visiting Amnesty International.
Your words can SAVE LIVES. Those people include women, young people, poor people, rich people, journalists, and even children. Some of them had been subject to all sort of unthinkable things, if being incommunicated or withheld without a reason is not bad enough.
If you can go beyond being empathetic with a person who is far away and whose lives you may not relate too--you could seek for your own people, your neighbors. Every month someone in your own city or town may have been withheld for minor crimes or for really bad ones. Though you may think these people deserve to be in prison, some of them may be innocent. Some of them may be your neighbors. They are somewhat the product of ill families or societies or perhaps to give them responsibility, the result of their own demise. They are however human beings with the same needs and yearnings to heard something from the outside world or from a compassionate neighbor.
I invite you to write a few lines to someone who is in prison. Maybe he/she is so solitary so much that he or she wants to die...you can save his/her life too. Of course it is not your obligation. Only if you wish to do so...only if you wish. Perhaps, it is easier to start writing a letter to those people who Amnesty International have found out are withheld without trials, for political reasons, or for other reasons that really do not deserve such punishment.
Last week, I saw the picture of a journalist, who was abused in Egypt...One of my friends said, she looks like you. I am glad it was not you. This made me think that that woman was safe--just a day before--she was a professional journalist doing her job until something bad happened to her. Life can change drastically in a short period of time. That is what happened to many victims of crimes, and or policies--or the lack of them--and those are the peoples whom Amnesty International is looking to help through your words.
What do you or me have to do with all the violence around, perhaps nothing, or perhaps a lot.
When we think seriously. We realize that there are soldiers sacrificing their lives for us to have better lives...for us to live in peace. There are people doing hard work, and being withheld not in prisons but in sweat shops... Thus I wondered: What is the price others pay for me/for us to be who we are? How many things are connected, and how do we participate in an economy that hurt others. We ought to think a little about that. I don't say these things for people to feel guilty, but for people to be aware...
What kind of society we want to live in? How do we want our children to be, when they grow up? Do we want to be humanitarian and caring or callous about what is going around?
How much difficult is to be compassionate vs careless? I don't know. I barely have enough answers for myself. Yet, I know a lot of the discrepancies in our systems of governance, and even in the way we express ourselves or do not help--in ways that sometimes help sustain big injustice gaps.
Perhaps, we could only care about our own happiness...but being the human animal, a primate, I dare to think that is not how our internal clocks work.
We never know when that kid that was caught for getting a buzz, was someone related to us. When is all the 'evidence' scientific, or real versus being falsified.
We may not understand why someone who write graffiti in a private property would be treated as another who committed rape or murder... Or why someone who was drunk or doing drugs did not seek help...There are many things we may or may not understand about others. We may not know why someone was able to kill...even if it was to protect a child or themselves. Those issues trouble us deeply. We can make judgments based in very little information. There is a justice system, the rules of laws--and we want to trust it.
In some cases, like in many human affairs, the basic principles--the human rights, are not followed. And bad things happen.
Sometimes, people forget civility and behave in ways that are not even seen frequently among the wild 'aggressive' creatures, such as predators. It is the a very obscure side of the human condition.
There are all types of humans in prisons some are criminals some just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some of them, may have been teens crying for help or attention. It is not to us to judge them.
At least for those teens that are not growing under the shade of the trees, and one day will return to society...and to those whose ideas or likes may have caused them to be withheld by others who had more power (system, guns, political or physical power, etc.,). Those I ask you to consider writing a few words to let them know there is something to look forward.
I have always heard that no matter the type of reason someone has been in jail for, there is always a scar. It is always difficult to re-integrate to society, and be who they were before or better. It shall be easier if the person knew those outside still are caring for them.
No matter what the problem was....
They were like you and me,
Like our brothers and our sisters...and now they are lost.
Lets help them to come back.
A few lines will be like a pad on their backs.
A few lines will tell them someone out there care.
I heard recently that some segments of society belief that the individual is not relevant, their uniqueness, not even their voices...they silent them. They tell them to be ''like the others''--or face the consequences. Most of the times the consequences aren't pretty at all. While for some people this just tough them up; for others mistreatment represents a catastrophe...and the lost of their lives.
I leave you with the words of Lord Byron, The Prisoner of Chillon
"The Prisoner of Chillon is the surviving brother of three reformers, who are supposed, by the poet, to have been cruelly immured there. The mournful narration is clothed in soul-subduing and heart-chilling pathos, glaring with the gloomy horrors of captivity, and showing its frightful effects on the human mind. The extracts given need no comment ; they almost speak out in tones of agony and horror!
They chain'd us each to a column stone, And we were three yet, each alone; We could not move a single pace, We could not see each other's face, But with that pale and livid light, That made us strangers in our sight.
My brother's soul was of that mould, which in a palace had grown cold,
Had his free breathing been denied The range of the steep mountain's side ;
But why delay the truth? he died.
I saw, and could not hold his head, Nor reach his dying hand...
They coldly laugh'd and laid him there: The flat and turfless earth above The being we so much did love ; His empty chain above it leant : Such murder's fitting monument!
But he, the favorite and the flower... Most cherish'd since his natal hour His mother's image in fair face, The infant love of all his race, His martyr'd father's dearest thought. My latest care, for whom I sought To hoard my life, that his might be Less wretched now, and one day free; He, too, who yet had held untired A spirit natural or inspired ...."
Don't let them suffer without our support or our words...
PS: To all the hub writers, because, I thought that you who can't avoid pouring words...may have a few words to send away to our fellow humans who really need them. You can help them withstand the unthinkable, or hope to say the light of a better day.
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