Saturday, February 24, 2007

On Being Irrepressible

This isn't the post I was going to write. I found something much more important. I want to dedicate it to my mother, Esme, who taught me to care about human rights, to speak out when I can, and take what action I am able to take.

Imagine if the next post you write, or this post you are reading, landed you in prison...

Petite Anglaise - who to many will need no introduction and to the rest I need only say 'Go there now' - has posted an important note from Amnesty International about a new campaign against internet repression and its consequences.

The campaign is called and you can express your support in myriad ways: Sign the pledge, publish fragments of censored material on your blog (see Sidebar), and become an Irrepressible Blogger by writing a post on your own blog about the campaign.

You can also write letters of concern in several recent cases of internet repression. If you have never got involved with Amnesty before, their Letter Appeals really do have a powerful effect on the governments and individuals to whom you write. It's also very easy - the templates are right there on the site, and you can find yourself emailing the Tunisian Minister for Justice, for instance, before breakfast...

Blogging can often feel like a cosy occupation, but for many it's not. It's easy to forget that when we press the 'Publish Post' button we are publishing to every country with internet access in the world. And that some countries' governments don't want their citizens to have that kind of power at the touch of a button. Naively, it had barely occurred to me that fellow bloggers are being imprisoned for this thing I take so much for granted.

Of equal concern are the large internet companies - those familiar, helpful giants - Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, without whom I wouldn't be sitting here now - who are aiding the censorship of the written word in countries such as China. Worrying indeed.

Petite's post startled me. Enough of the navel-gazing for one night. It's good to be startled once in a while.

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