I don’t write about politics very often nor do I intend to do so in the future. But, time is running out for the Tripoli Six. Imprisoned in 1999, five nurses and one doctor were tortured until they confessed to a horrific crime; infecting over 400 children with the virus that causes AIDS. They later protested that they were innocent and the scientific data backed them up. Now, they may be executed for a crime they didn’t commit.
I know some of you are thinking, “What does this have to do with me?”
Nature magazine, reminds us what can happen when we fail to speak up on another’s behalf, in an editorial and quote from a famous poem by Martin Niemöller:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Socialist… Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak up for me.”
But what can I do about this?
We can think of the Whos.
No, not the rock band. The Whos. The tiny creatures who star in Dr. Seuss’s “Horton Hears a Who.” It’s one of the greatest storybook moments ever. Tensions run high when the speck that serves as home to the Whos, on a piece of clover, is about to be dropped into a cauldron of boiling oil; their protector, Horton the elephant, is wrapped in chains; and things look very, very bleak. But the Whos gather together, they raise their voices high and they shout “We are here! We are here! We are here!”
None of it helps, until finally the last quiet Who, a baby, joins in and adds his voice to the cry. The Whos are heard! Their dust speck is saved.
This story, of course, is a fantasy, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t work.
My fellow bloggers, throughout the political spectrum have been writing like crazy to get the word out, and bring pressure to bear on Libya to prevent this act. Revere has written extensively about the case and provides several links to documentaries and studies describing the scientific evidence supporting the innocence of the accused. Get your pens out and find a stamp because Janet Stemwedel and Mike Dunford have written posts with excellent advice on writing letters and working to let Muammar el-Qaddafi know that the eyes of the world are watching what he does.
Tripoli is a long way away, but hey Mr. el-Qaddafi we are here! We are here! We are here!