What makes an "emergency request"?

28 May 2004

Earlier this week I got an email from Amnesty In­ter­na­tional with the subject “Emergency request for help - No Excuse for Torture.” It urged me to make and “emergency contribution” and/or sign a petition asking the Aus­tralia gov­ern­ment to ensure that all al­le­ga­tions are investigated, and that those re­spon­si­ble are brought to justice.

As far as I can recall, this is the very first such “emergency request” I’ve re­ceived from Amnesty. I figure there are only two ways to read this un­precen­dented act, one un­flat­ter­ing to Amnesty, the other un­flat­ter­ing to their members: either Amnesty be­lieves that torture at Abu Ghraib by US troops is the most out­ra­geous (or under-publicised?) act of torture on the planet today, and there­fore es­pe­cially de­serv­ing on Amnesty’s attention, or they figure that Abu Ghraib has made members re­mem­ber (or realise) just what a bad thing torture is, and have taken the op­por­tu­nity to solicit donations.