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Friday, September 21, 2012

Individuals, Organizations and why I'm not slagging Facebook (at least for a while)

For anyone who read the earlier post about a friend of mine at risk, the coast is clearing. I called on a number of friends in the human rights field for ideas and suggestions for interventions to get Anshita to a safe haven. As it happens, the response was quick.

I've known Mark Hiznay for I don't know how long. Mark is a man of sound principle and good taste (he married one of my nearest and dearest...also proving his bravery and resilience; Juliet do not throw anything at me the next time I'm in town.) Long story shortish; Mark is a senior investigator at Human Rights Watch and called on Binalakshmi Nepram. I'm linking to the organization that Bina has founded and cannot stress enough how valuable people like her are. She stands with Rigoberta Menchu and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in my pantheon. That she's stepping in to do the heavy lifting doesn't just make me feel better; it humbles me no end.

Additionally, as an interesting coda, Simon Billenness who I met throught the US Campaign for Burma (speaking of the Lady herself), drew in Shalina Nataraj, VP of Programs, last I heard, at the Global Fund for Women. What makes this interesting is that Bina is a grantee of theirs.

Several thoughts come to mind as a result of all that. One is that I'm fortunate in these friendships; but another is that the world is fortunate to have people in it like Mark and Simon and Nataraj and Bina. This would be a much darker place without them. I know each of them will deny this and say something to the effect that there would probably be someone else and while that might be so, they're the ones that stepped up to the plate.

Another thought is that is that without social media like email and yes, I'm going to say something nice about Facebook, there's no telling how long it would be before I would have heard how Anshita was doing. I can remember the pre-interntet days very well and looking back, it was magnitudes easier to hide, bury and delay news. I personally feel that truth will out, but it takes a lot less time nowadays. In short time after my email went out, Mark and Bina and I were holding a conversation. On Facebook. And just about everyone who knows me, knows how much I grouse about FB as software, as a company and as a social phenomenon. I'm going to declare a moratorium on my snark toward FB. At least for a time.....

The following are organizations that various principles have been involved in and whether you need to call on these groups or not someday, consider supporting them if you don't already. I've had the good fortune to help out with a couple, if not with funds, then with time, and you better believe, my bank account is going to notice a down-tick after I post this.

Human Rights Watch:

Control Arms of India:

Global Fund for Women:

Amnesty International:

US Campaign for Burma:

Lastly, permit me an indulgence. The bodhisattva Tara is the embodiment of the instaneous salvafic/enlightening activity of the Buddha. It's telling that she's the most loved in the pantheon of buddhas and bodhisattvas in Tibetan Buddhism and that one of her origin stories is that she was a princess bodhisattva in a former lifetime; she was told (by a man, duh) that with all her merit and beneficent activity, she would certainly be reborn as a man and achieve enlightenment.

To which she replied: bullshit. No, she didn't say "bullshit"; she explained gracefully, I'm sure, that she didn't need to and wouldn't, take rebirth as a man in order to achieve Buddhahood. I believe today, I've seen Tara in action both in form and substance as a manifestation of that enlightened activity and refuge.

May all beings flourish!


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