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.: Can Harry Potter save the world III :.



"That best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.”
William Wordsworth


So, here we are for the last part of the Special Edition of Harry Potter Around the World. Since the beginning of the month, I’ve been discussing with you whether Harry Potter will be able to save the world or not. But if you remember, it’s not the wizarding world that I’m talking about, it is our real planet. In the first part, I started telling you some stories of people who went through some hard times, but had the books to give them relief and hope. I told you, as well, about the “magic” that appears to be surrounding the series, not just making people feel better, but also bringing them into the fantastic world of Literature. Then again, in its second part I showed you the stories of the people who embrace the books and are into charity. Jo, the actors, even The Snitch, all of them are helping our world be a better place to live in.

Now it’s time to go beyond the famous people and see how there are fans that use the books themselves to help others. One good example of how fans can get together to help others is the “HP Alliance”. This HP-fan-organization is a group that encourages people to use in real life the messages of love and benevolence presented in the books. Through the motto “The Weapon We Have is Love”, they try to show people how both worlds (Harry’s and ours) are similar, both facing “dark and difficult times”. However, as in the fantasy, “as long as there are those that are aware that the weapon we have is love and that more than ever, it’s time to use that weapon” the Dark Arts may not carry on with its bad intents. It’s time to “build the real Dumbledore's Army”, they claim, and we can help them.

How can we help them? By many different ways. If you feel like volunteering, you can send them an jobs@thehpalliance.org'>email with all your experiences and feelings along with the name of the job you want to perform in the subject. You can also support their efforts to undermine the Darfur conflict, and save the people that have been suffering due to it. Check out how on their website. Yet, if you don’t want to move from your chair, but you’re still willing to help them, you can buy a HPA T-shirt or tell everyone you know about them. Some publicity, like I’m doing, is always helpful. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, what you know how to do, or how you get involved: helping is always rewarding and obliging.

There is another organization that seems to have learned this lesson: Performancing.com. This is an online group that helps bloggers to develop their blogs by giving tips, making publicity, or simply creating a net of people that are into blogging, so that they can share together different experiences and ideas. The guys from Performancing.com created a blog in which the pre-ordering of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is being used to raise money for the ones in need. According to them, “for each Harry Potter Book that is sold through [that] website, [they] will donate a total of $1 to the Global Literacy Project, a charity that focuses on the needs of children around the world by encouraging literacy as a tool to break the cycle of poverty.” Their “goal is to donate one million dollars by selling one million Harry Potter books by the end of 2007”. Unfortunately, the selling isn’t getting along as they had expected. As said by Ryan Caldwell, by July 11th they had only 20 books pre-ordered. But there isn’t just bad news. If you google Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, you’ll come up with Performancing’s blog in Google’s front page, above many huge Harry Potter websites (quoting Ryan, “this could change of course, as Google might flip some switch”). Also, they have been receiving a lot of comments, and even if they don’t achieve the one-million mark they can still “sell the blog and donate all proceeds to charity as well”. It’s also nice to say that, besides the charity event, they’ve been sponsoring a contest where the person that writes the best ending and the person that writes the most accurate one will both win $500! It’s worth checking this blog out!

Conversely, you don’t need to be involved with an organization to lend a hand. Dixie Pethoud, a friend of mine from Nebraska, USA, has been using the Harry Potter books to soothe social desolation and to buttress literacy. Dixie has been sponsoring a thirteen-year-old girl from Angola through the Christian Children's Fund for almost two years now. Since last year, she decided she wanted to send her books, so she contacted the Fund and asked them if she could. Alas, they said “no”, because according to her, “books tend to get stolen, packages cost the people you are sending them to money, and they really want everything that’s sent to be sent in a business size envelope.” However, she decided to send the books, in any case. Then, she bought Harry Potter in Portuguese (the language of Angola), and “(…) decided to tear the pages out, staple them back together in chapters, fold the stapled chapters together lengthwise, and mail them in business size envelopes.” This has worked out and she’s already gotten a letter from the girl stating that she is receiving the books. Her efforts to do it, give the girl a chance to develop her reading skills, is something that can make all the difference in Angola. Not to mention the hope and bliss from the fact she knows someone cares for and loves her.

It may seem that Harry Potter is just a children’s series that has enthralled the whole world and made many people who did not care for literature decide to embrace it. There’s some “magic” surrounding Jo’s work, that’s for sure. Yet, the stories I brought you in the three parts of this Special Edition of Harry Potter Around the World, show us that there is more than this “magic” surrounding the books. There are people acting, making the difference. There is a mix of passion, compassion, unselfishness, generosity, and the wish to live in a better place. If Harry Potter can’t save the world, we can.

Thanks for all the reading and now let the Deathly Hallows makes us laugh and cry.

See you all next month.

Regards,

Bruno Miquelino
bruno@thesnitch.co.uk'>bruno@thesnitch.co.uk

P.S. Once more, thanks to Dixie for all the support.

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