Letters to Hoder
June 11, 2011 9:16 PM   Subscribe

Contact page for Amnesty International in Canada and in USA.
Thank you for posting this here, it needs the widest exposure possible on the site as proportionately so few people visit meta let alone projects. It would be wonderful if there there was no further follow up needed but I'm afraid there will be for some years. As mendel points out in the projects thread every little bit helps. I don't know hoder, have never interacted with him here or anywhere else but he is a member of this community which so values the right to express ourselves as we think and for this he is being imprisoned and as such deserves our help, however small it might seem. So it would be nice if we could get off our apathy for a few minutes and activate. Thank you Brandon Blatcher and thank you DarlingBri.
posted by adamvasco at 10:19 PM on June 11, 2011 [4 favorites]

In the spirit of the occasion, let's move past the initial bumps and create the thread we want this thread to become, rather than focus on what has been. If there are continuing issues surrounding appropriatness of comments in the thread, they should be moved to MetaTalk, where they belong.

I do not currently have a blog and I am not on facebook, so I am going to write a letter to Hoder and post it here, and then I am going to make a donation in his name. Perhaps others can do the same, and this space can become something worthy of MetaFilter.

posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:35 PM on June 11, 2011 [5 favorites]

Can he actually receive these letters, or is this so that people feel they are doing something?

A valid question. The author's answer is here.
posted by Kalthare at 11:49 PM on June 11, 2011

Can he actually receive these letters, or is this so that people feel they are doing something?

Perhaps a bit of both. Who can really say? Words are powerful things. Words put Hoder in prison. Perhaps if we put enough of the right words out there, they might also make some small difference. And, if all they do is let his family know that he is loved and the world refuses to forget him - well, that seems worth the effort too.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:52 PM on June 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

I had somehow not seen the earlier MetaTalk threads, but this really brought home what has happened, which makes me really frustrated and sad.

My question for adamvasco is, what would be the point of contacting Amnesty International? I'm assuming they can't get letters to him, or is that wrong? Are you saying we should write to them and ask them to do whatever more they might be able to do here?
posted by salvia at 11:54 PM on June 11, 2011

Mod note: bunch of comments removed - you know where metatalk is.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:03 AM on June 12, 2011

salvia: contacting Amnesty can only raise awareness about Hoder's plight. He could be considered a Prisoner of conscience. I linked Amnesty USA because a large majority of Mefites are from there. I linked Amnesty Canada because Hoder is a Canadian citizen, though it has not done him much good. I would not assume too much or too little about Amnesty. They have both official and unofficial means of communication as do the Red Cross.
Maybe Amnesty cannot get letters to Hoder today, but maybe they could next year and there base is far larger than here.
However this thread is about DarlingBri's thoughtful and altruistic project. Those who wanted to go the extra mile could contact Amnesty.
posted by adamvasco at 12:38 AM on June 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hello Hoder,

I've been following the news of you since your detention began, thanks to your friends here on MetaFilter, where I am also lucky enough to call myself a member. It seems fitting, somehow, to read your old blog posts and the fractured details of your current troubles as they emerge from halfway around the world on a laptop, in a darkened room, over-medicated and still in pain, as if we are sharing a secret in the dead of night. You and I. And whoever else may be listening.

The secret isn't really secret, of course. Telling truth to power has always been a dangerous proposition. The other half of the secret, though - the one I keep here in the dark - is maybe less understood, if still felt, I think, on a cellular level by all who strive for power and all who cannot help but hold them to account. And that secret is this: truth is the water of life. You can dam it, you can hide from it, you can even poison it - but you simply cannot live without it. And once you get thirsty enough, there's no telling what all will get wet.

And try as you might, you cannot drink from a fist.

Your thirst for the truth has caused you great pain and landed you in darkness, but I promise you that your efforts have not been in vain. You have shed light on the inherent beauty of your homeland, as well as the injustices that threaten to overshadow that land. You have opened eyes and even more importantly, in championing blogging as a tool for grassroots political justice, you have opened he lines of communication that will one day drive the shadows back into the night, where they belong.

You suffer because you were dangerous, and in their desperation, your tormentors demonstrate their weakness. Your story is being told. Your words were once a trickle, but in your suffering they gain force and are repeated and become as a river. Soon the truth will flood, and there will be no containing it. And still, they cannot make a fist and drink.

You matter. You have made a difference. You are a hero.

Can you hear me Hoder? I think I hear the rain.

posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:01 AM on June 12, 2011 [24 favorites]

Hoder, you are not forgotten. If after a while you sat there in prison thinking as you must have, that nobody outside of your family remembered or cared anymore - no. You are not forgotten. You have been in prison since before Barack Obama was elected. Though I do not know you, I learned about what had happened to you, and over the last few years made sure to post in Metatalk every so often. I can't read some of the updates your family gives, but usually someone comes through to provide a translation. I put the Hoder tag in my rss feed reader, so I see news about you. I have seen pictures of you in articles, and have been following your story for a while now. You are one of us. You are not forgotten, brother. When you get out, I want a hug.
posted by cashman at 6:53 AM on June 12, 2011

posted by cortex (staff) at 7:12 AM on June 12, 2011 [3 favorites]

Disclaimer: I started this project. I'm delighted to see it on the blue, so thanks Brandon Blatcher.

Can he actually receive these letters

I tried to answer that earlier in a comment in Projects, which Kalthare linked to above. It is a totally valid question, I just don't have an answer. Hoder is not to the best of my knowledge getting actual post in Evin prison; if I thought he was I'd have given thought to the pros, cons and potential perils of a paper postal drive. However, at the time of the last reports about access to Hoder, he was getting visits from his family. The organiser of the Free Hoder Facebook group is, I believe, Hoder's brother or cousin and knows about this project, so there is some chance that Hoder will at least know we are writing to him. Beyond that, I really couldn't guess.

I have updated the website FAQ to try to address this question. It's hard because there just isn't a solid answer one way or the other, plus the answer could change at any time as the circumstances of Hoder's incarceration change.

or is this so that people feel they are doing something?

Whenever Hoder gets out, I'd like him to know that he was not forgotten while he was imprisoned. That's my personal motivation for writing.

However, writing letters has the potential to help in a small way. Press coverage of Hoder's imprisonment has declined over time; it's hard to write about a story where nothing has changed and nothing is happening. It is possible, though, to write a story about a lot of people doing something, ie writing to Hoder. Mass effect this year, or next year, could re-raise Hoder's profile in the press.

Now, whether that would have any impact, I don't know, but I'm pretty confident it isn't going to hurt.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:03 AM on June 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Crap. Not to threadhover but I forgot the most important part: people have started writing letters and I am posting them as they come in. Thank you, awesome mefites.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:10 AM on June 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

When Hoder first went MIA, I wrote to Canadian and American state departments, as well as some investigative type reporters, but I never got much response. It astounded me that other people have had the press all over similar stories, but we haven't been able to break through with this one. I'm gonna forward some of these links to a different batch and see if we can't get some better media traction.
posted by dejah420 at 3:10 PM on June 12, 2011

posted by mds35 at 7:07 PM on June 12, 2011

Oops. Commented before getting facts straight. Above "." moment of silence was for another Hoder, who died in Iran while on hunger strike.
posted by mds35 at 5:58 AM on June 13, 2011

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