Break the Chain Help Zimbabwe

Created 9/4/2001 (9/4/2001) Who wouldn't want to become involved in world politics if all it took was forwarding a chain letter? This example of Armchair Activism fits an old mold - It's not likely to have any effect and more likely to be a privacy risk to those who sign it.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Hi - I never send this type of thing on, but really do believe that international intervening is necessary.....

This is very important

Please help Zimbabwe:

PETITION: To sign this petition, 'copy and paste' this message to a new message and send to all the people you know in the "To...", "Cc..." or "Bcc..." box, go to the bottom of the petition and type in your name and then "Send" We MUST try to get a million copies of this petition to The President of the USA at the Whitehouse.

Remember! , don't just hit 'forward', 'copy and paste' to avoid getting >>> at the beginning of each line.

Please would every 100th person forward this to the Whitehouse address: president@Whitehouse.gov

PETITION; Zimbabwe, "another jewel of Africa" is dying. Strangled by the corrupt forces, short sighted self serving policies of the egomaniacal dictator Robert Mugabe. Freedom, human rights and sensibility has been extinguished. Zimbabwe is becoming an unstabilising factor in the regional politics.

Only drastic measures by international democracies will be able to save Zimbabwe from damnation and prevent long term starvation and civil war in the region as experienced in the Congo. We have to ensure responsible governance for the people of Zimbabwe.

The International community pleads for support to save Zimbabwe:

1. The resignation of Robert G. Mugabe

2. Free and Fair Parliamentary and Municipal Elections

3. Non interference or escalation of regional conflicts. Removal of Zimbabwean Troops from the Congo

4. Restoration of Constitutional Law in Zimbabwe

5. Obedience by the government of the day to the laws of the country.

We the undersigned support this petition

Please would every 100th person forward this to the Whitehouse address as well: president@Whitehouse.gov

Signed:

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

This call to action does less to educate you on the issues and more to convince you to forward it. Let's see how it stands up to the Seven Tests of Armchair Activism:

  1. Expiration - FAILED - Like most e-mail petitions this one is not dated, nor are we given some idea of how long "signatures" will be collected. Given unlimited time, any cause can gather enough signatures. That's why valid petitions often circulate for a very specific period of time.

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  2. Focus - FAILED - It does have a well-defined list of objectives, but the petition's target, the U.S. President, is not likely the one who can make these reality.

  3. Integrity - FAILED - It asks you to send completed petitions directly to the party whose actions you want to influence. BreakTheChain.org contains dozens of e-petitions that ask you to send them to the White House. It's unlikely that any presidential staffer is sorting through them and compiling signatures. A single, personal letter to the president has more weight than 10 e-petitions.

  4. Privacy - FAILED - No e-mail petition is private. Once you sign and send it on, you have absolutely no control over who sees your name and e-mail address or what they do with it.

  5. Reliability - FAILED - The author of the e-mail is not identified, nor is the source of the information.

  6. Sponsorship - FAILED - Nobody takes responsibility for starting this petition, and thus, nobody will ensure its success.

  7. Validity - FAILED - Since the source of the information is not cited, validating it is difficult at best. This letter presents very few facts and does not effectively demonstrate that Zimbabwe is "strangled by the corrupt forces, short sighted self serving policies of the egomaniacal dictator Robert Mugabe."

For more reasons e-petitions are a waste of time, read my primer on "/armchair.html">Armchair Activism in the Chain-Breaker's Library. Break this chain.

What Do You Think?

Category: Armchair Activism
References: None

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