Just had to plug this post from Canis Iratus:
Goodbye, Amnesty International
Years ago I was a member of Amnesty International. I bought bookfuls of airmail stamps. I wrote letters to prison wardens in Poland, Peru, and Cuba. They were very nice letters, and I spent hours working on them. I hope the US Postal Inspectors enjoyed them very much.
There was definite focus to AI. The focus was on the prevention of torture and imprisonment for non-crimes. Members did not address letters to their own governments. The point was objective devotion to simple common principles, and politics was right out of it. In fact, AI still claims “A.I. is carefully impartial. It does not support or oppose any government or political system.” Only now it’s a pathetic lie.
The rot set in the Eighties, and the first indication I had of the calamity was this: Suddenly, every dirtstick Rock Star on the planet was in Amnesty International. This was a fatal and irreversible development. AI might have survived an influx of Bulgarian KGB agents or Cthulhu worshippers, but not the likes of Jackson Browne.
AI had always been based on the power of the ordinary citizen – appealing to reason, not celebrity. It was ordinary people speaking out for ordinary people. Mrs. Myrtle Simpson knows what you’re doing to Omar Zamani in your Iranian prison, and Mrs. Myrtle Simpson cares. After all, there but for the Grace of God goes Mrs. Myrtle Simpson. And if she knows and cares, imagine how many other people do.
Now that Brian Damage and the Putrifaction Blisters were running the show, a few changes were going to be made. First of all, the political impartiality was over with. Apart from money and a few guitar chords, the only thing a Rock Star understands is one-note idiotarian politics. (Actually, they no longer bother with knowledge of guitar chords.) Dispensing with politics, therefore, was horribly unfair to our new masters, Rover and Prick. Prince and Sting, I mean. It was like not having a wheelchair ramp. It was like not having a handicapped parking space. Where was Dave Matthews supposed to park his thirty-ton f–king tour bus?
In no time at all my organization was all over the news, along with its new agenda: Human rights are best served by imposing every Rock Star’s lame understanding of Socialism on everybody – or at least, on everybody but Rock Stars. Thus spoke Bruce Springsteen – whom, we were told, was to be addressed as “The Boss”. This was especially hard on me, because in those youthful years I had Bruce Springsteen mixed up with Rick Springfield. I couldn’t understand why I was suddenly taking orders from a David Cassidy marketing clone.
Since my unnoticed exodus, Rover and Prick have been supplemented by other bits of left-liberal detritus, like the current Secretary General Irene Khan, who amuses herself and her Harvard classmates by comparing George Bush to Pol Pot. That really cracks up the Beautiful People at Georgetown cocktail parties. (“AI does not support or oppose any government”, except when it comes to supporting Saddam Hussein’s personal ownership of Iraq, and opposing the regime of Darth Bushitler.) Such sophistication is lost on the little Red-State proles, the Glen Wishards and the Mrs. Myrtle Simpsons, those obsolete tools of yesteryear. Whatever happened to those funny little people?
Consoling thought: Somewhere there’s a Tanzanian prison guard who really misses reading my letters. “Whatever happened to that guy who was always writing to us?” he muses. “I used to get such a kick out of him. I wonder if he ever learned how to use a semi-colon? Oh wow, somebody just uploaded the new U2 album …”
Lots more where that came from. Very humorous guy.