Now here is a message I just received that cheers me up greatly!
(To go with part 1 of course.)
Dear Amazing Avaazers,
Avaaz is on fire, at 10.5 million people and rising fast. But we’re also deepening our activism — and with the combination of depth and huge numbers, we’re winning, over and over again. Scroll down to see some great examples from the last several weeks.
We’re not just effectively delivering petitions, we’re running safe houses and smuggling routes to protect democratic movements, challenging corporations by bringing lawsuits or calling all their shareholders, donating millions to equip human rights defenders with the latest technology, and powerfully delivering the voices of our community direct and in person to presidents, billionaires, ambassadors and cabinet ministers.
It’s working — scroll down to see how. In recent weeks alone, we’ve helped win victories on everything from banning cluster bombs and sanctioning Syria to saving the Internet and the UN climate treaty:
ON THE FRONT-LINE OF THE ARAB SPRING
Avaaz has been at the heart of the struggles for democracy in the Arab world. Funded by $1.5 million in small member donations, we’ve broken the media blackouts that dictators tried to impose — training a huge number of citizen journalists and equipping them with top flight technology to get information out. Top editors at BBC and CNN have told us that in cases like Syria, Avaaz has been the source of as much as 30% of all their news coverage!
When no other organization could, our network smuggled in over $1 million USD of vital emergency relief to communities under brutal siege in Syria. We also smuggled activists and their families, at risk of torture or death, out of the country. Our secret safe houses shelter dozens of top activists from regime thugs, giving them a protected base from which to operate. Assad’s murderous regime is not happy about it — Syrian state TV called our campaigner “the most dangerous man in the world” to the regime.
We’ve also matched front-line support to democratic movements with fierce global lobbying of our governments to squeeze brutal regimes — millions of Avaazers successfully campaigned for powerful European oil sanctions and Arab League sanctions on Syria.
PEOPLE POWER VS THE MURDOCH MAFIA
It was the biggest deal of Murdoch’s career, growing his extremist global media empire by 50% through acquiring a huge UK-based company — BSkyB. Everyone said we couldn’t stop it, but Avaaz members thought differently, sending 668,784 messages and 30,000 phone calls to members of the UK Parliament, and running stunt after stunt as well as 2 opinion polls that showed massive public opposition.
Avaaz was also the only organization to promise to legally challenge the government in court if they approved the Murdoch deal. The Minister responsible for the deal was so rattled that he repeatedly postponed approval for months, publicly blaming Avaaz. The delay gave us space to build awareness of a huge corruption scandal in the Murdoch empire until finally, the deal was dead.
We haven’t stopped there — we need to roll back the Murdoch threat and fundamentally reform our corrupt media. Avaazers recently used our new tool to call all the shareholders in Murdoch’s biggest companies, NewsCorp and BskyB, creating the largest shareholder rebellions in the companies’ histories!
And in Australia, where Murdoch controls 70% of the print media — we helped defeat Murdoch’s attempt to snatch a $223 million TV contract from the public broadcaster and pushed the government to create a far-reaching inquiry into Murdoch and media reform.
A GLOBAL OUTCRY TO SAVE THE AMAZON
Half a million of us joined more than 1,000 indigenous protesters in demanding that Bolivian President Evo Morales halt construction on a highway that would slice through the heart of the Amazon.
Avaaz staff delivered our petition to top Bolivian cabinet ministers in a long and stormy meeting. Our widespread solidarity strengthened the legitimacy of the indigenous protesters whom Morales tried to marginalize, and threatened his desired reputation as an environmentalist.
The pressure worked! After our campaign, Morales canceled construction, repealed the decision granting permission for the project, and pledged to protect the impacted TIPNIS national park and indigenous territory — the crown jewel of the Bolivian Amazon — forever! We’ll hold him to that promise.
VICTORY ON CLUSTER BOMBS!
Three years ago, Avaaz mobilized to help push through a global ban on cluster bombs, saving thousands of children. This year, the US quietly lobbied nations to sign a new law that would have allowed their use again! Our 600,000-strong petition helped push 50 states to oppose the US’s underhanded plan.
Many delegates used our petition to strengthen their arguments in negotiations. Our powerful banner, placed right outside the conference room — together with 1000 fliers that the Avaaz team plastered throughout the conference center — sent an unmistakable reminder to the negotiators about the opposition they faced back home. The US initiative failed — together we helped save the lives of thousands of innocent civilians.
CLIMATE CHANGE: KEEPING HOPE ALIVE
At critical climate talks in Durban, more than 800,000 of us helped salvage the UN climate treaty from a cabal of polluters determined to kill it. Our team on the ground in South Africa delivered our message day in, day out through hard-hitting actions like this ad in the Financial Times — released on the final day of tense negotiations. Despite massive pressure by oil-backed planet killers like the US and Canada a deal was struck to save the vital Kyoto Protocol and give us a fighting chance by keeping climate negotiations alive.
EU Climate Chief Connie Hedegaard said: “Thanks to the over 800,000 people from around the world — your voices made a vital impact at the end of the talks.”
SAVE THE INTERNET – GREAT PROGRESS!
In days, over 1 million of us worldwide signed a petition opposing a scandalous bill that would give the US government the right to shut down any website — targeting sites like WikiLeaks, YouTube, even Avaaz!
President Obama’s team responded, and Avaaz organized a 1 hour meeting with top White House officials to deliver the petition.
We’ve now been told privately that Obama is likely to oppose the bill as it stands. When we started, insiders all told us the bill could not be stopped, now they’re all telling us the bill may soon be dead in its current form — that’s people power!
TAKING ON CORRUPTION IN INDIA
Avaaz’s anti-corruption campaign in India was the most viral campaign in Internet history! In just 36 hours, over 700,000 Indians joined the petition to support a strong law targeting corruption among public officials called “Jan Lokpal”. We staged marches across the country, erected hard-hitting billboards across the capital, and launched an independent public opinion poll showing that the majority of Indian voters wanted an ambitious Lokpal.
We helped win that round — a bill is coming before Parliament now! The Times of India hailed Avaaz as “a key player in the Jan Lokpal initiative.”
ITALY – A WIN FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH
During his last months in power, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi tried to gag democracy by enabling the government to shut down Internet websites on a whim. Our community fought back and won!
Italian Avaazers sent 200,000 emails and flooded Facebook and Twitter. We mobilized hard-hitting public demonstrations covered by top media and shelved the law for good! Now Italian democracy is free from Berlusconi
– and we are still going strong.
These are just a few of the victories we’ve won together in the last
several weeks. Since launching almost 5 years ago, Avaaz has run over
1000 campaigns! And as our community has grown and deepened our
commitment, we’re winning on more and more of them. If we stay on this
track, and keep hoping and believing in change and in each other,
anything is possible.
Ricken, Dalia, Luis, Allison, Ari, Maria Paz, Wen-Hua and the entire