Reprinted from www.u-land.dk--
It must be fundraising season over at Amnesty International.
Blogdai loves ‘em, for sure—there’s no one I’d rather have in my corner if I were thrown into a Chinese prison in Lhasa (blogdai just missed this in 1998) or faced a Rangoon firing squad. AI goes to bat for lots of folks who get in over their heads around the world.
But, have you ever seen AI go to a place like Nepal or wherever in an official capacity and not insists that there was some immediate human rights crisis? http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGASA310232005?open&of=ENG-2S4 Just once it would be nice to hear AI go somewhere and say something like: “Well, things are getting better.” Blogdai thinks it’ll never happen. No “crisis” means no funding. AI is a publicly supported entity just like any NGO. They need their cash-flow. Their bread and butter lies in getting in the middle of human rights issues and making noise, and just like most public groups, they may embellish from time to time. Create a sense of urgency and you increase the giving from your donor base. That explains their breathless “brink of catastrophe” language when they talk about Nepal.
So, the world must be on a slow abuse cycle, if all AI can do now is call for a mass demonstration against the King in Washington. bannehttp://news.webindia123.com/news/showdetails.asp?id=83337&amp;amp;n_date=20050523&cat=Asiars They must have been talking to Sujata. Wonder if they get to use her people and banners as well?
This makes blogdai wonder: has Sujata gotten a hold of someone in AI and sold them a bill of goods? AI can't resist a good human rights "catastrophe" angle, no matter how contrived, so this just may be the most interesting marketing partnership yet in the human rights community.
May 25, update: They are still at it! Another breathless set of reports hits the wires. First, (surprise), people in China do not get a fair trial! AI scoops us all by reporting that in China "Thousands of people were sentenced to death or executed, many after unfair trials." Hasn't this been happening for, what, a few decades now? Next, in an apparent attempt to increase donations from the home crowd in the EU and UK, Amnesty takes a good jab at the Yanks with:
"Furthermore, the US, as the unrivalled political, military and economic Super Power, sets the tone of governmental behaviour world-wide. By thumbing its nose at the rule of law and human rights, what message does the US send to repressive regimes who have little regard for the rule of law anyway?"
All this from their annual report which does not fail to mention the "increasing impunity" of abuses of Nepal's security forces. http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGPOL100142005 Blogdai wonders: how did they know this? Since AI is not allowed in the field with the RNA and cannot adequately document all security force actions, how can they tell us, with any accuracy, that abuses are increasing?
Seems old AI is a little short of funds this year. This last report really stirs the pot. Get everyone emotional about everything and eventually you hit a hot issue that makes someone write a donation check. Maybe they should hire telemarketers?
June 16 update: Amnesty International breathlessly urges the world to immediately ban all weapon sales, even the non-lethal variety, to Nepal http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4094264.stm for fear that some Maoists might get hurt. "Arms should not be exported as long as there is a clear risk that they might be used to commit serious human rights abuse," Amnesty's Asia Pacific programme director, Purna Sen, told the Reuters news agency. " That's like refusing to wash your dishes because germs might be damaged.
Next, AI continues to press for funds from their UK donors by saying Britain supplies non-lethal aid to Nepal that "could" be used to kill civilians. http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/story/0,11538,1506531,00.html They cite 6,700 assault rifles that may or may not have been shipped to Nepal. Mean old Britain: they've contributed a whopping L110,000 to Nepal's military over the last 4 years--shame, shame!