Note: The content on this website is still heavily under construction. Please do not take the collection of articles here to be indicative of some inherent bias. The current selection exists because these are the only profiles that visitors have submitted. If you feel compelled to add another profile, you may do so by creating an account first. Additionally, if you find that an existing profile is problematic, you may modify it by creating an account and explaining in the comments section the reasons for your changes if they are not obvious.
The Alliance for Essential Liberties in the Middle East (AELME.org for short) is a collaborative effort to draw more attention to the plight of civil rights activists in the Middle East and to pressure elected representatives in the United States to publicly advocate for the release of the persons in a consistent and constructive manner.
Any visitor to the website may create an account, edit an existing profile, or create a new one. In this way, we hope to harvest the distributed knowledge and passion of people around the world in order to work for the benefit of colleagues that are struggling to reclaim their rights in hostile political or social climates.
We like to think that the launch of this organization fills an important vacuum in the realm of political activism and discourse regarding the civil rights movements in the Middle East.
First, we recognize that the language of human rights is frequently abused by politicians in the West for domestic political reasons and also to justify certain imperialistic policies. Our intent is to avoid this trap by properly contextualizing current events and keeping the focus on all governments in the region, even (perhaps even especially) those who are close political or military allies of the United States and often escape scrutiny for that reason. Our politicians must be held to high moral standards when it comes to essential human liberties (if they are willing to overlook them abroad, will they forget about them at home one day too?).
Second, the successful execution of our efforts will, hopefully, protect the rights of our peers abroad while also weakening existing political orders. By placing pressure on those regimes to liberalize politically, we help open the atmosphere there so that domestic movements are able to mobilize their supporters more freely to have a more effective role in shaping the future of their own countries. In this way, we avoid imposing our own, unique political systems on societies with differing social and economic conditions. True freedom is not about a uniformity, but plurality.
Want to help? Get informed by reading through our profiles of activists currently in prison. Get involved by creating a user account to receive action alerts and updates, writing letters to your representatives, making phone calls to their offices, and, if you can spare, donating money to our cause. Everything helps--even a simple link from your weblog to our website.
If you have a Facebook account, you may also want to consider joining this group to draw more attention to the project and to receive updates about the website.