Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XIX Number 10, October 2011


Thursday, October 27, 7:30 PM. Monthly 
Meeting. Note new location - 505 S. Wilson 
Ave., Pasadena. Help us plan future actions 
on Sudan, the 'War on Terror', death penalty 
and more. Call 626-795-1785 for more 

Tuesday, November 8, 7:30 PM.  Letter 
writing meeting at Caltech Athenaeum, corner 
of Hill and California in Pasadena. This 
informal gathering is a great way for 
newcomers to get acquainted with Amnesty!   

Sunday, November 20, 6:30 PM.  Rights 
Readers Human Rights Book Discussion 
group. This month we read "The Honor Code:  
How Moral Revolutions Happen" by Kwame 
Anthony Appiah.


Hi everyone
This is my favorite season - Indian summer.  
Warm, with relaxing winds.  All too soon it will 
be colder and time to get out the turtlenecks and 
Don't forget to register for the Western Regional 
Conference that is happening in LA November 
4-6.  It's still not too late!  See the WRC section in 
this newsletter.
We were saddened to hear that Troy Davis was 
executed, after all the last-ditch efforts to save 
him. This month's DP column by Stevi has his 
moving last words.
Con carino, Kathy

               RIGHTS READERS
       Human Rights Book Discussion Group

       Keep up with Rights Readers at

       Next Rights Readers meeting: 
       Sunday, November 20, 6:30 PM
       Vroman's Bookstore
       695 E. Colorado Boulevard

The Honor Code:  How Moral Revolutions Happen 
by Kwame Anthony Appiah

About the Author

(born May 8, 1954, London, Eng.) British-born 
American philosopher, novelist, and scholar of 
African and of African American studies, best 
known for his contributions to political 
philosophy, moral psychology, and the 
philosophy of culture. 

Appiah was the son of Joseph Appiah, a 
Ghanaian-born barrister, and Peggy Cripps, 
daughter of the British statesman Sir Stafford 
Cripps. He attended Bryanston School and later 
Clare College, Cambridge, where he earned a 
Ph.D. in philosophy in 1982. He taught 
philosophy, African studies, and African 
American studies at Yale University (1981-86), 
Cornell University (1986-89), Duke University 
(1990-91), and Harvard University (1999-2002). 
He joined the University Center for Human 
Values at Princeton University in 2002.

Appiah's early writings concerned the 
philosophy of language. He turned his attention 
to political and cultural issues in In My Father's 
House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture (1992), a 
philosophical exploration of the nature of 
African identity in the West and in an 
increasingly global culture. In Color Conscious: 
The Political Morality of Race (1996; with Amy 
Guttman), Appiah argued that the notion of 
biological race is conceptually problematic and 
criticized what he saw as the tendency to 
overstate the importance of race as a component 
of individual identity. The Ethics of Identity 
(2005) critically examined the various notions 
around which "group" identities have been 
defined - including race, religion, gender, and 
sexuality - and considered how group identity 
may both contribute to and constrain individual 

Appiah's other books include Experiments in 
Ethics (2008), The Honor Code: How Moral 
Revolutions Happen (2010), and the novels 
Avenging Angel (1991), Nobody Likes Letitia (1994), 
and Another Death in Venice (1995).

Copyright @ 1994-2011 Encyclopedia 
Britannica, Inc. For more information visit 

How does moral progress happen? How are 
societies brought to repudiate immoral customs 
they have long accepted? In The Honor Code, 
Kwame Anthony Appiah explores a long-
neglected engine of reform.  Examining moral 
revolutions in the past - and campaigns against 
abhorrent practices today - he shows that 
appeals to reason, morality, or religion aren't 
enough to ring in reform. Practices are 
eradicated only when they come into conflict 
with honor.

In gripping detail, Appiah begins his work with 
a portrait of the often-deadly world of 
aristocratic Britain, where for centuries 
gentlemen challenged each other to duels.  
Recounting one of the last significant duels in 
that world - between a British prime minister 
and an eccentric earl - Appiah shows a society 
at the precipice of abrupt change.  Turning to 
the other side of the world, Appiah investigates 
the end of footbinding in China. The practice 
had flourished for a thousand years, despite 
imperial attempts at prohibition, yet was 
extinguished in a generation.  Appiah brings to 
life this turbulent era and shows how change 
finally came not from imposing edicts from 
above, but from harnessing the ancient power of 
honor from within.

In even more intricate ways, Appiah 
demonstrates how ideas of honor helped drive 
one of history's most significant moral 
revolutions - the fast-forming social consensus 
that led to the abolition of slavery throughout 
the British empire, and recruited ordinary men 
and women to the cause.  Yet his interest isn't 
just historical.   Appiah considers the horrifying 
persistence of "honor killing" in places like 
Pakistan, despite religious and moral 
condemnation, and the prospects for bringing it 
to an end by mobilizing a sense of collective 
honor - and of shame.

With a storyteller's flair and a philosopher's 
rigor, The Honor Code represents a new approach 
toward moral inquiry. Ranging from a great 
mandarin's abandonment of an ancient Chinese 
tradition to Frederick Douglass's meetings with 
Abolitionist leaders in London, Appiah reveals 
how moral revolutions really succeed. 

             Gao Zhisheng
            by Joyce Wolf

If you are invited to a diplomatic reception by 
the Chinese Embassy, don't try to present your 
host with a gift copy of Gao Zhisheng's book, A 
China More Just. Slovakian legislator Ondrej 
Dostal did just that, and he was forcibly ejected 
from the party. The story was reported in The 
Epoch Times, 

A youtube video at 
offers a glimpse of a Slovak (or Czech) 
translation of Gao's book. You might also enjoy 
a bit of the Slovakian video at

Seriously, it's good to learn of international 
efforts in behalf of Group 22's adopted prisoner 
of conscience, human rights lawyer Gao 
Zhisheng. He endured arrests and torture while 
in custody and has been missing since April 
2010. In a letter to the Chinese Ambassador that 
accompanied the book, Dostal wrote, "I join my 
voice to the voices of world's democratic public 
who requests the release of Gao Zhisheng to 

Back in the U.S., Gao was the subject of an 
August 22 press release from the Congressional 
Executive Committee on China, which stated, 
"CECC Chairman Christopher Smith [R-NJ] and 
Cochairman Sherrod Brown [D-OH] call on 
Chinese authorities to immediately account for 
and free China's most famous human rights 
lawyer, Gao Zhisheng." The CECC also 
publishes an annual report on human rights in 
China, available from their website. You can 
subscribe to their email list and newsletter. 

Our own California Senator Dianne Feinstein is 
listed as a member of this commission. I suggest 
that this month we might write to Senator 
Feinstein and express our appreciation for the 
Commission's report and press release about 
Gao Zhisheng. Her contact information is 
available at

         By Laura G. Brown

Group 22 was represented by Joyce Wolf and 
Laura Brown at the Social Activism Speaker 
Series (SASS) event "Advocating for Refugees" 
on Oct. 18 at Caltech. A refugee caseworker, 
Shurkry Cattan, talked about his efforts to 
resettle refugees from diverse countries, such as 
Somalia and Jordan. He's worked with the 
International Rescue Committee (IRC), and most 
recently with a group called Tiyya in Orange 

Cattan talked about being inspired to visit 
Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan after his 
parents went through a similar ordeal. The 
people there and more than a million more like 
them in 58 camps spread over Syria, Lebanon, 
and Jordan have no hope of resettlement, he 
said. Instead, they live their lives as permanent 
residents of these crowded camps plagued with 
garbage and sewage problems.

Surprisingly, the largest number of refugees in 
the world right now are from Iraq, Cattan 
pointed out. More than 2 million people have 
fled Iraq following the 2003 U.S. invasion and 
war in what has been described as the biggest 
mass migration since Israel was created in 1948. 
Most Iraqi refugees have gone to Syria and 
Jordan. Since 9-11, only a few thousand Iraqis 
have been allowed to resettle in America.

Most recently, Cattan has worked with Tiyya to 
help refugees obtain resources, jobs, and 
citizenship.  He also provided a youth soccer 
camp last summer in Glendale. To Cattan, the 
reason for assisting refugees is a simple one: 
"It's a humanitarian issue. These are people, and 
they need help." Those interested in more 
information or in volunteering can contact him 




Amnesty West invites you to attend the 2011 
Western Regional Conference. Join hundreds of 
human rights activists from across the region in 
sunny California for expert panel discussions, 
skills-building workshops, and networking with 
leaders from across the Western region. Find out 
more today!

This year's conference theme, Human Rights for 
All: One Movement, One World, underscores 
the momentous human rights victories and 
struggles of the past year and spotlights the 
growing grassroots movement to fight human 
rights abuses around the world. Over 500 
committed Amnesty activists from across the 
thirteen Western states are expected to converge 
in Los Angeles to participate in skills-building 
and content-focused workshops, expert panel 
discussions, and direct actions for human rights. 
The conference will feature prominent human 
rights defenders and leaders in the field who 
will discuss the most pressing human rights 
concerns of today: the uprisings in the Middle 
East and North Africa, the growing movement 
to abolish the death penalty; protecting migrant 
rights; ending poverty; the torture debate; and 
much more. The conference will also include a 
special human rights track with partners and 
allies in the broader human rights community. 
Register for the conference today and visit
conferences/western-regional-conference for 
more information about content, Ideas Fair, 
group sales, subsidies, and more.
(The conference agenda is now available at

         by Stevi Carroll

- Troy Davis

As we know, Troy Davis was put to death by 
the state of Georgia September 21, 2011, after a 
long worldwide effort to have his sentence 
commuted to life without parole.  To the end of 
his life, he remained firm in his innocence.  

To the family of Mark MacPhail, Troy said, "I 
was not responsible for what happened that 
night. I did not have a gun. I was not the one 
who took the life of your father, son, brother."

To the medical personnel who conducted his 
execution, he said, "May God have mercy on 
your souls."

To his family and friends, he said, "Keep the 

The faith that we are asked to keep is our 
continued struggle to educate our brothers and 
sisters about the difficulties inherent in the 
death penalty and to work toward its abolition.

In that vein, we have the opportunity to work 
on a petition drive to put the death penalty on 
the November 2012 ballot.

- SAFE California

The initiative to have the death penalty on the 
ballot has been given the go ahead by the 
Attorney General.  This initiative does NOT 
intend to abolish the death penalty, but rather to 
replace the maximum sentence to life without 
possibility of parole.  The prisoner will be 
required to work, if able, and to pay any victim 
restitution fines.  To read the text of the 
initiative, go to

We, along with the ACLU, the Los Angeles 
County Coalition for Death Penalty 
Alternatives, Death Penalty Focus, and other 
groups, have the opportunity to take part in this 
drive.  We need to gather 750,000 signatures, 
and while the campaign will employ some paid 
signature gathers, we volunteers will need to 
gather at least 100,000 of them.  To get involved 
with this effort, contact our Amnesty group or 
Death Penalty Focus at .

- James Byrd, Jr.

Troy Davis was not the only person executed in 
the United States on September 21, 2011.  
Lawrence Russell Brewer was also put to death 
in Texas.  Mr. Brewer was one of three men 
convicted of the brutal murder of James Byrd, Jr.  
While this crime is heinous, the response of Mr. 
Byrd's family is more noteworthy.

Mr. Byrd's son, Ross Byrd said, "You can't fight 
murder with murder. Life in prison would have 
been fine. I know he can't hurt my daddy 
anymore. I wish the state would take in mind 
that this isn't what we want."  His sister, Betty 
Boatner, went further to say, "If I saw him 
(Lawrence Brewer) face to face, I'd tell him I 
forgive him for what he did. Otherwise, I'd be 
like him.  I have already forgiven him."
While many victims' families believe the death 
of the murderers will bring them relief from the 
suffering they feel, for the Byrd family this 
prove not only not to be true, but as Mr. Byrd's 
sister acknowledged, "Otherwise, I'd be like him 
(the murderer)."

- Sentence Commuted

18	Joseph Murphy	Ohio

- Stays of Execution

4	John Henretta	Tennessee
5	Marcus Johnson	Georgia
25	H. R. Hester	Tennessee

- Executions

21	Lawrence Brewer	44	
	Texas		3-drug w/ pentobarbital
21	Troy Davis	41	
	Georgia		3-drug w/ pentobarbital
22	Derrick Mason	37	
	Alabama		3-drug w/ pentobarbital
28	Manuel Valle	61	
	Florida		3-drug w/ pentobarbital

20	Christopher Johnson*	38	
	Alabama		3-drug w/ pentobarbital

* Volunteer - an inmate who waived ordinary 
appeals that remained at the time of his or her 


UAs      27
POC       3
Total    30

To add your letters to the total contact

      Amnesty International Group 22
              The Caltech Y
             Mail Code C1-128
            Pasadena, CA 91125