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Amnesty International Celebrates 50 Years of Serving Humanity

Amnesty International celebrates 50 years of defending human rights this week. Amnesty International celebrates 50 years of defending human rights this week.

Saturday, May 28 marks the 50th anniversary of one of the planet’s most important organizations – Amnesty International. For half a century, Amnesty International has been fighting to protect human rights, with some of the group’s most notable causes being the elimination of torture, extrajudicial executions, and the recruitment of child soldiers. To help mark their 50th anniversary, Prague-based studio Eallin has created a stirring animated video (see below) scored by Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer along with Lorne Balfe.

Most hydroponics growers I know have a vested interest in human freedoms and the right to pursue one’s passions in peace and without persecution. That makes many of us sympathetic to some of Amnesty International's fights to protect human rights. And it’s not just the fight of the good fight that stirs our hearts. With every victory for human rights, Amnesty International gives hope to those of us who long for a world filled with more freedom and peace.

Personally, when I hear stories from Amnesty International about things like the slave camps in North Korea, I realize that my problems are those of someone who is very privileged in the grand scheme of things.

For instance, one of Amnesty International’s most recent victories was the freeing of Azerbaijani journalist Eynulla Fatullayev, signaling a great step towards freedom of speech in Azerbaijan. And one of the biggest international news stories of 2011 was the release of Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi after over seven years of house arrest for her advocacy of democracy in that troubled country. Amnesty International had lobbied long and hard for Suu Kyi’s freedom.

Amnesty International also does an incredible job of spreading awareness of the world’s atrocities. One of their campaigns only recently came to my attention, and it is eyebrow-raising and heart-rending. Amnesty International estimates that 200,000 people live in slave camps in North Korea.

Children are born into these camps, and sentenced to a lifetime of imprisonment because their parents have been deemed enemies of the state. Executions are routine. Few prisoners ever escape this hell on earth, but when they do, Amnesty International shares their stories with the world. Now, satellite photos are being circulated to illustrate evidence of these camps, and just how awful and repressive the North Korean regime is.

As hydroponics indoor growers, we know the value of freedom. But sometimes we take our circumstances for granted. Personally, when I hear stories from Amnesty International about things like the slave camps in North Korea, I realize that my problems are those of someone who is very privileged in the grand scheme of things. My hobby has its risks, but my family’s lives aren’t at stake. And it’s in sobering moments like these that I realize I have some level of responsibility to help out the world’s less fortunate. On the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International, I’d like to take this space to say thank you, not only for all the hard work protecting human rights around the globe, but for reminding me of my blessings and my responsibilities as a peace- and freedom-loving person on planet earth.

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A stirring animated video marking Amnesty International's 50th anniversary.
Last modified on Thursday, 23 August 2012 17:07

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