An alternative to Avaaz

I got a real buzz out of Avaaz in the early days.  Here was I feeling powerless in the face of a world of  suffering and injustice, and along comes Avaaz to give me a voice, let me stand up with thousands of others and be counted. When an email arrived asking me to support a cause, I purposefully devoted my time to read it and enjoyed that little glow that came as I clicked the “Send” button on the petition.  I was a force for good!

When the campaign for a No Fly Zone over Libya came in March last year, I read the alert and thought it was something peaceful that would save lives, so I signed the campaign like so many before.  I was soon uneasy about that decision and the more I read, the more I saw what a mistake for the Libyan people that NFZ became.  The deaths since the NATO intervention in Libya could be as high as 50,000,  but Avaaz still have the indecency to feature this campaign in their ‘highlights‘ and claim that a massacre was prevented.  Interestingly the title of this ‘highlight’ has changed since last year from “UN: Libya No Fly Zone” to “Lives Saved in Libya” and makes no mention of the NFZ now.  (Thanks to the Wayback Machine for remembering.)

Avaaz have moved onto Syria now, actively supporting the anti-government forces – taking sides in a civil war.  I haven’t signed any of the numerous petitions supporting this. Quite simply, I don’t trust Avaaz any more.  Whether their actions on Libya and Syria are simply misguided, or quite purposefully in support of Western government/corporate aims, I don’t know.  But it’s made me realise how much of the positive actions I’ve taken when signing petitions have relied only on the Avaaz version of events.  And how else could it be?  What single individual has time to read up on every corner of suffering in the world and truly understand it?  I used to trust that Avaaz had put that time in and were enabling me to add my voice in support.  But look at an Avaaz alert, full of emotive language and numerous phrases highlighted in bold designed to push the buttons of a compassionate reader.  It’s manipulative.  And where on the Avaaz website are the member forums for discussion of the issues raised?  Nope, the trust has gone for me.

Avaaz claims millions of followers, and I don’t doubt that the vast majority are caring people, and see supporting Avaaz campaigns as compassionate acts.  But compassion without wisdom is like driving an ambulance with your eyes closed – maybe you’ll arrive to save someone’s life, but what of the damage you do on the way?

There have been many subsequent campaigns that on face value I would still support, but even if they are genuine good causes, I see supporting them as also supporting Avaaz, and giving legitimacy to all their work. No, Avaaz and I have parted ways for good.

An alternative

So what’s the alternative?  Well, I’ve decided to devote the time I would have spent signing many and varied Avaaz petitions to actually reading up and understanding just a few issues in depth – finding various sources, looking at background information, history, that sort of thing.  I want to see the world change, to see less suffering, but I think a fuller understanding of one issue would allow more opportunity for compassion steered by wisdom than signing up for numerous campaigns I know very little about.

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9 Responses to An alternative to Avaaz

  1. theozarker says:

    It’s very hard to know, in this corporate-funded, politically corrupt era, where your support and, sometimes, your money is actually going. Best of luck with your quest and your blog.

  2. I’m grateful for the initiative you’re taking to clarify concerns about Avaaz and their questionable campaigns. I’ve also had serious concerns about their connection to the war machine so I appreciate your research. I feel strongly that Avaaz has had it’s priorities wrong on certain campaigns and have voiced this concern directly to them—- but they continue to overlook the issues that I feel are far more egregious—like the need for a reinvestigation into what really happened on September 11th, 2001.

  3. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » Avaaz: Empire Propaganda Mill Masquerading as Grassroots Activism « Aletho News

  4. I’ve always been a bit suspicious of signing internet petitions — it’s just too easy to do any real good. Being a positive force for change in the world is difficult, especially considering the forces we’re up against. Keep up the quest for the truth and the struggle for peace, even if you only achieve it in your own circles.

  5. OK I agree entirely but after making an in depth investigation and understanding an important issue, how do I help to achieve the neccesary change? Where do I find an alternative to avaaz? Until I find an alternative organization capable of presenting a huge petition to help stop some immoral actions, corruption, human rights abuses etc. I will sign avaaz petitions that I have personally selected and investigated.

  6. Paulo says:

    Thank you for enlightenment about Avaaz. I just receive their e-mail for selecting which actions I think they should focus on 2016. Severeal options but not of them going to the root of the problem. Can they be so naive So I began to write a few suggestions for them to tackle, real issues like exposing the FED monopoly on money issuing, the IMF debtocracy, the zionist occupation of sovereign nations, the 911 hoax, etc. And then that inner voice wispered… “Avaaz is part of the game”. Just did some research and found your blog confirming it, In fact the naive was me, for giving money to deceivers.

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