Blogging for Human Rights: Boston Tea Party


On Thursday, December 16, 1773, the evening before a large shipment of British tea was due to be landed in Boston, Captain Roach appealed to Governor Hutchinson to allow his ship to leave without unloading its tea. When Roach returned and reported Hutchinson's refusal to a massive protest meeting, Samuel Adams said to the assembly "This meeting can do nothing more to save the country". As though on cue, the Sons of Liberty thinly disguised as Narragansett Indians and armed with small hatchets and clubs, headed toward Griffin's Wharf in Boston Harbor. Swiftly and efficiently, casks of tea were brought up from the hold to the deck. The casks were opened and the tea dumped overboard. The work, lasting well into the night, was quick, thorough, and efficient. By dawn, over 342 casks or 90,000 lbs of tea worth an estimated £10,000 (adjusted for inflation as £953,000, or $1.87 million in 2007 currency) had been consigned to waters of Boston harbor. Tea washed up on the shores around Boston for weeks. Attempts were made by the citizens of Boston to carry off some of the tea. A small number of small boats were rowed where the tea was visible, then beating it with oars to render it unusable.

Enough was enough. The British, after passing tax after tax after tax on goods for the American Colonies stepped over the line. The Boston Tea Party marks a turning point in American History. The event was when the American Colonists decided that the British Monarch had gone too far in exerting his control and set a process in motion which led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War.


Today, as bloggers, we unite in support of human rights. (I encourage everyone to visit the Human Rights Watch website for detailed information regarding the state of human rights every where in the world.) But while what we do today is a loud outcry against human rights violations worldwide, we are really only a small voice when it comes to affecting change.

For true change to occur where the peoples of the world are being oppressed, they have to have leaders that will say "Enough is Enough" and set a course of events in motion that will lead to change within their own countries.

I believe that what we, as bloggers, can do is speak loudly to all that read our blogs and tell those that are oppressed that there are resources out there they can turn to for support. There are people, us for example, who will listen and contact our own leaders and as proxies ask for support if the oppressed are not able to do so on their own. The internet and blogosphere are awesome communication tools. We can tell powerful stories and engender worldwide sympathy.

However, for true progress to be made in countries where human rights oppression is commonplace, leaders and protesters must emerge within those countries to speak out and to organize and to mobilize and effect their own change at home. While such a course of action may be dangerous, the risks can be lessened with help from us, the bloggers. We can publicize and communicate to world leaders and world media what actions are taking place. We can influence world opinion. We can pressure our own leaders to act. We can assist the human rights leaders in just about any way imaginable in terms of communicating their plight to the world. But they must choose to act within their own countries.

As bloggers, as citizens of free countries, and sympathetic individuals we can scream foul and cry in agony for every human rights abuse reported. But we don't have the power to change their governments. Only the people of a country where rights abuses are taking place have the ability to rise up and demand an end to human rights abuses. And if they are willing to do that, and when they are willing to do that, you and I and bloggers worldwide will be here and ready to make sure that their actions and their struggle and their fight is heard, reported and known to the most remote corners of the Earth.

Thanks for reading.

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Matt said...

Most excellent post, Matt. Thanks for the choice of the Boston tea Party for your Human Rights post; we all need a refresher as to our forefathers went through to establish this great nations.

I fully support your efforts to bring bloggers worldwide together to effect changes. I think together we can and MUST make a difference, especially for those who cannot speak for tehmselves.

May 15, 2008 11:13 AM

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