A little over a year ago I tried to put into words here some thoughts I had on empathy and imagination and what they had to do with activism for human rights and social justice. What I managed to say was:
"Ultimately, though, I believe that the strongest motivator for the defense of human rights is ... empathy. It is because I can imagine how it might feel to be a Palestinian mother who watched her child die because the ambulance carrying him to the specialised hospital in the West Bank was not allowed to pass an Israeli checkpoint that I feel compelled to work towards securing the right to freedom of movement for her and for everyone else. It is because I can imagine how it might feel to be an Algerian asylum seeker in New Zealand, labeled a security risk by the central intelligence agency but unable, even through my defense lawyer to see the basis on which I am accused of being such a risk, that I feel bound to do what I can to defend the right to a fair trial and a defense for him and for everyone else."