I write letters for Amnesty International. I have done (on and off) for many years, usually without any expectation of achieving anything. Every now and then, however, I get some good news. Today, for example, I received a letter saying that three men detained in Sudan for their political beliefs (they are members of the Sudan Liberation Movement) have now been released without charge.
The three men (Abulgasim Ahmed Abulgasim, Zakaria Ahmed Abulgasim and Mukhtar Ali Ahmed) had been the subject of an “Urgent Action” by Amnesty a few weeks back, and I wrote letters to the Sudanese authorities with the usual feeling of dread. Today’s letter reminded me that sometimes this stuff works. Perhaps the Sudan government would have changed its mind and released these people on its own, but I doubt it.
Spending five minutes writing a letter actually changed the lives of three men in Sudan. The power of collective action: my five minutes along with your five minutes and hundreds of other people’s five minutes convinced a government to change its policy. That’s very powerful. I wish everyone who reads this post would join. Amnesty could do with a couple more members.