Monday, March 27, 2006

Global Importune's Call For Justice

As Mark Konrad, the founder of Global Importune states, "If you're silent about injustice, you're giving consent to it."

If you want to do something tangible about injustice, but don't know where to start, Global Importune is a painless way to get involved that requires, at most, about five minutes of your time each month.

Each month Mark selects a political prisoner from a list assembled by Amnesty International. Then he writes a letter on behalf of that prisoner. Mark then mails copies to more than 400 Global Importune members scattered throughout the U.S. and Canada. Each member is asked to sign and date his or her letter and return it in the postage paid envelope. When he receives them back, Mark forwards the letters en mass to the government leader or ambassador of the offending nation.

When writers and peace workers, members of opposition parties, bloggers and whistleblowers are thrown in jail, governments count on no one caring. But when a national leader receives a bag full of mail from strangers who say: we know you have this person and we are watching what you are doing with him, it not only gives that leader pause but often leads to release.

No leader - no matter how dreadful - wants to be embarrassed or wants attention called to his wrongdoings.

As a result of Mark's work - and those who sign these important letters - more than 200 political prisoners have been released around the world.

Mark also sends out letters in support of legislation that remedies injustice. Here's an example from this month that I signed and returned to him:

His Excellency Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu
State Governor
The Round House secretariat
Alausa, Ikeja
Lagos, Nigeria

Dear Governor,

I welcome the current discussion of a "Domestic Violence and Other Related Matters Bill" by the Lagos House of Assembly.

In Nigeria, women suffer from violence in the family: they get 'punished' for supposed transgressions and are beaten, raped or murdered.

If the Bill is passed, it will help to protect those women who face violence in the family.

The government of Lagos State, along with the federal government of Nigeria, has an obligation under international human rights law to prevent violence against women and to assist women in escaping violence. Perpetrators must be prosecuted, and victims of violence given full support.

As the Governor of Lagos State, you have the power to make a difference for these women.

I urgently ask you to voice your support for the "Domestic Violence and Other Related Matters Bill" and undertake a thorough public education campaign on this issue. I urge you to publicly condemn violence against women: say it is never normal, legal or acceptable and that it is a human rights abuse.

I thank you for your attention to this important matter and anxiously await your reply.


As Martin Luther King stated: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

I urge you to contact Mark today and get on his mailing list. Your signature can mean freedom from rape as punishment for third world women. Your signature can mean release for a person languishing in jail for no good reason except that he or she is for peace, told the truth or was working for justice.

Mark can be contacted at: and his website is
He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. Isaiah 61:1


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