Wield­ing the mighty pen

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By JOE DAW­SON

Karen Ab­planalp was able to make a dif­fer­ence through the writ­ten word and now she will en­cour­age oth­ers to do the same.

The Grey Lynn writer and pho­tog­ra­pher will be part of a three­p­er­son panel at an Amnesty In­ter­na­tional event next week aim­ing to en­cour­age peo­ple to speak out on be­half of those whose life and lib­erty are in dan­ger.

Amnesty In­ter­na­tional’s Write for Rights cam­paign will shine a light on key cases of hu­man rights abuse and re­mind peo­ple that the writ­ten word is a pow­er­ful tool.

Ms Ab­planalp was able to help bring about change when a story she wrote on hu­man rights abuses at a West Pa­pua mine contributed to a New Zealand su­per fund with­draw­ing its in­vest­ments from the mine.

Many peo­ple have cam­paigned for West Pa­pua and Ms Ab­planalp was not a lone voice on the is­sues, but says ev­ery ef­fort can help.

‘‘Amnesty ap­proached me to speak at the cam­paign be­cause of a story I had writ­ten about su­per fund in­vest­ments in a West Pa­pua mine, and be­cause the story was about hu­man rights it was a good fit,’’ she says.

‘‘It showed how writ­ing can achieve re­sults.

‘‘Part of the prob­lem with West Pa­pua is that it is like a dirty lit­tle se­cret, it has a me­dia black­out and it’s sealed off so the pub­lic don’t know about it but it’s in our back­yard.

‘‘So it was the old fash­ioned idea of let­ting the light in on some­thing and that’s the idea of this writ­ing cam­paign.’’

She says any­one who sees some­thing they don’t like and wants to make an ef­fort against an in­jus­tice has the power to do so.

‘‘The writ­ten word is a really good way, any­body can go ahead and write.

‘‘The idea that or­di­nary peo­ple can unite and take ac­tion to make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of vic­tims of hu­man rights abuses is a very pow­er­ful one.’’

Ms Ab­planalp will be joined on the panel by au­thor and graphic de­signer Sarah Laing and free­lance me­dia pro­fes­sional Kadambari Gladding.

The evening will fo­cus on six cases, in­clud­ing Rus­sian punk band Pussy Riot, a prom­i­nent Chi­nese hu­man rights lawyer, a man who’s been lan­guish­ing in Guan­tanamo Bay for nine years with­out trial and an Egyp­tian woman who was beaten sim­ply for help­ing some­one.

What: Amnesty In­ter­na­tional’s Write for Rights event.

When: Mon­day, De­cem­ber 10, 6pm till 9pm.

Where: Al­pha­bet City, 71 Mt Eden Rd, Mt Eden.

Writ­ing wrongs: Grey Lynn writer and pho­tog­ra­pher Karen Ab­planalp will be speak­ing on the power of the writ­ten word at Amnesty In­ter­na­tional’s Write for Rights event on Mon­day night.

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