Zarganar Coming to the U.S.

     Many AIUSA groups know about the Burmese prisoner, Zarganar.  Several local groups across the country adopted him and worked tirelessly for his freedom. On October 12th he was released, along with around 200 others, from his latest stint in prison.
     The 50-year-old comedian had been serving a 35-year sentence spurred by his criticism of Myanmar's decision to block foreign aid in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis.  
     We are excited to learn that Zarganar is on his way to the U.S.  He will arrive at the end of January to spend three months working with the Clinton Foundation.  Our country specialists will be working to learn more details about his visit -- where he'll be, and definitely, how Amnesty members might be able to meet him.  
     Stay tuned...and wishing you all a Happy New Year!


Commemoration of Maguindanao Massacre in San Francisco

AIUSA Philippine Country Specialist Vener (Nerve) Macaspac organized and led a spirited action on November 22d at the San Francisco Public Library, to commemorate the 57 victims of the Maguindanao Massacre.  The event was sponsored by AIUSA in collaboration with the CA-NV United Methodist Church Philippines Solidarity Task Force. Approximately 25 people attended the event which included a video screening, a brief open forum, a Write-A-Thon, and the offering of prayers inside the Library.  The group then proceeded outside to light candles in front of a BART station which offered great traffic for canvassing.

The focus of the letter-writing was solidarity with the victim's families.  Nerve is cooperating with the Amnesty office in the Philippines to make sure the letters are delivered to the families.

For anyone who has organized an event, you know how much planning and anxiety goes into the process. Nerve is a relatively new country specialist, and this was his first foray into this form of activism -- what a great initiation!  Thanks to Nerve, and also to the AIUSA Western Regional Office for their help.