In some ways, things are very encouraging: it's obvious that many people around the world are moved to support the MV Iceberg 1 captives, as indicated by the over 3,000 "Likes" on the Mariners Action Group Facebook page. And the Mariners Action Group website has had encouraging traffic. This blog has received some good, informed comments, and we welcome more of them. All these things are positive, especially given the short time the MV Iceberg 1 Mariners Action Group has been in existence.
But the number of people who have stepped forward to become active members has been small - as of right this minute, as you can see by visiting the membership site (to go there, click the yellow button in the Join Us tab) only five people have committed to membership. Some of this can be explained by the newness of the MV Iceberg 1 Mariners Action Group - people are still thinking about it, perhaps, and some of you may be waiting to see what we accomplish. We respect that serious approach. You have a right to see results before you take action.
That leads to the question: what, in your view, should the Mariners Action Group be doing right now? You are the key!
It's very important that we hear from you! Mariners Action Group is not some effort you join and help with at someone else's direction. It's not an initiative run by a government, the maritime regulators or the industry.
Mariners Action Group is designed to be directed by it's members - by you - the seaman who bears the brunt of the piracy problem. This organization was started by professional seamen for the benefit of professional seamen, and we want seamen to direct it. You are the key.
Whether you're an active mariner, the member of a seaman's family, or simply concerned about the injustice and gross human rights abuses endured by the pirate hostages - if you choose to be a supporter, we need your voice. You know what needs to be done - and, probably better than anyone else, you know how to do it.
For instance, right now Mariners Action Group is trying to target our first petition, on behalf of the MV Iceberg 1 hostages. Can you help us direct it - who does your experience tell you will be the most productive target for this petition?
Some of you have said that you've already launched petitions on behalf of the hostages. Please tell the rest of us what you've learned in the process - how to avoid pitfalls and wasted effort - what you would do differently the second time around. This is wisdom that only you can provide. You are the key!
What you've learned during your struggle can empower and guide the rest. Please take that responsibility, exercise that leadership. Whether it's to help target a petition, or to suggest other actions the organization should take, your voice is essential.
The hostages and their families are counting on you! In every sense, truly - you are the key.