Signing letters

Mina Ahadi and Maryam Namazie wrote a letter to the UN.

We are writing to ask that the UN general assembly condemn stoning as a crime against humanity and issue an emergency resolution calling for an end to the medieval and barbaric punishment as well as the immediate release of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and others sentenced to death by stoning.

We also ask that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad not be allowed to address the general assembly and that his government be boycotted.

The letter has 40 signers. Is that too many, do you suppose? Would Julian Baggini consider that over the maximum for signing a letter whose content he agrees with?

I am glad that people are protesting on the key issues that the pope has got very wrong. If only a few people were doing so I might have felt it necessary to sign the petition. But when everyone starts piling in, it is perfectly reasonable for others to say it is time to back off before it gets too ugly.

What number adds up to “everyone”? It certainly wasn’t literally everyone in the case of the letter protesting against the pope’s visit, we know that; we know that from the fawning media coverage and the sycophantic government attendance and the groveling of much of the public. So what is the number? 40? 100? It’s hard to know if 40 makes it under the wire as “only a few people” or gets shut out as “everyone piling in.”

The two letters have a good deal in common – both have to do with urging bodies that should recognize universal human rights not to give a platform to a male autocrat who does not recognize universal human rights and who is at the head of a body that systematically violates human rights.

I have a hard time seeing any good reason for refusing to sign either one, much less for arguing against doing so in public.

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