23 May 2007

Free To Defend Freedom

Amnesty International

"In an age of technology, the Internet has become the new frontier in the struggle for the right to dissent. With the help of some of the world’s biggest IT companies, governments such as those in Belarus, China, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia are monitoring chat rooms, deleting blogs, restricting search engines and blocking websites. People have been imprisoned in China, Egypt, Syria, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam for posting and sharing information online."
We in the West take so much for granted — like the fact that I can write this blog and you can read it and, should you be sufficiently motivated, even comment on it. Today's Amnesty International annual report reminds us that not everyone enjoys such liberties — see for instance the recent cases of Sandmonkey, Savva Terentyev, Kianoosh Sanjari, and Kareem Amer.

Yet, as the foreword to Amnesty's report concludes, "Marches, petitions, virals, blogs, t-shirts and armbands may not seem much by themselves, but by bringing people together they unleash an energy for change that should not be underestimated ... People power will change the face of human rights in the 21st century. Hope is very much alive." It is in this spirit that The Difference will before the end of the week launch a campaign to help the people of Zimbabwe as they attempt to reclaim their democratic rights.

So, if you're sitting comfortably in the West, why not exercise your freedom and leave a comment? And if you're reading this in a country where you're at risk of imprisonment or worse, know that you are in our prayers.