Sunday, December 18, 2011

Writing for Justice

What I did while oatmeal rolls were in the oven

Some people donate a kidney to a stranger; this can extend the life of a struggling kidney patient by 10 years, or so I heard on the radio this week, when a man of 21 was interviewed after doing so. I don't have the guts to give up a kidney — not right now, anyway — so I do what I can in my own small way. I thought I was being pretty brave to sign up to donate bone marrow if I'm ever found to be a match to someone struggling with leukemia. And of course if any of my body parts could be of use when I die, others are welcome to them. But donating a kidney while you're still using it displays compassionate courage that is beyond my grasp at present. Knowing of others who have recently made this sacrifice for someone they've never met drives home to me just how noble I am not. In case I was kidding myself before.

Instead I send Amnesty International a monthly donation to help carry on the fight for human rights around the world, and today I sat down to write letters to world leaders on behalf of prisoners of conscience and their families. I'm adding my little drop to the river of pressure brought to bear on the policy makers of countries that torture, imprison and murder those who don't agree with them.

A read through Amnesty International's quarterly newsletter, making me aware of specific people being held in captivity right now for their peaceful protest against their governments, is a potent reminder of how fortunate I am to live where I do.