Making Sense of Cynthia Mckinney’s “Dignity”

The news may be louder if the US politician onboard Dignity was not such a publicity repellent. Unfortunately, the politician onboard the fateful vessel with humanitarian supplies targeted by Israel was none other than former US Rep. Cynthia Mckinney; a politician who has accomplished so much, yet received so little publicity.

Let’s begin with Ms. Mckinney’s run for President in 2008. (Yes, there were alternatives to Obama and McCain.) She was running for the Green Party, yet I’d be surprised if any mainstream networks ever discussed her candidacy, or even mentioned her name. The “Yes We Can” and “Straight-Talk Express” has completely smothered her, along with all the other third party candidates. It may be common for mainstream networks to ignore third-party Presidential candidates, but what else has she accomplished?

Most anti-Bushers remember Congressmann Dennis Kucinich’s attempt to impeach President Bush, a bold move that played out like a successful Lindsay Lohan publicity stunt, spanning across left-winged and right-winged media. However, not many people recall that Mckinney introduced a Bush impeachment bill of her own, back in 2006; two years before Kucinich. What else?

Ms. Mckinney was arrested for assaulting a police officer. When a political figure becomes entangled with the law, media hounds and colleagues alike demand apologies, press conferences, and resignations. Partisan figures would spearhead spit-wars spiraling into a media frenzy: Blagojevic, Fosella, Filner, Craig to name a few. Yet, Mckinney’s case was barely covered. Was she convicted? I don’t know, it wasn’t in the news.

Lastly, Mckinney has been consistently and vehemently vocal about reopening investigation of the events on 9/11. Still, many people ask “Who is Cynthia Mckinney?”.

Did I mention she is African-American and a woman? She is like a Obama-Clinton-RonPaul hybrid! Still, only few know her name.

Her most recent venture was consistently outrageous and consistently silent. Ms. Mckinney was onboard a vessel destined for Gaza strip from Cyprus, carrying humanitarian supplies, the crew and 16 passengers including physicians and journalists, one of which works for CNN. The vessel was intercepted by large Israel gunships when it ‘severely rammed’ it causing heavy damage, which forced it to dock in Lebanon.

Israel accused it for entering a conflict zone. There was ample he-says-she-says regarding the existence of warnings and the severity of the damage. At the end of it all, however, when is it ever justified to intercept a ship by ‘ramming’ it with a bigger ship, with or without warning, especially one that was known to be neutral? I can only guess those Israelis watched too many episodes of “Cops” and the car-chases. Unfortunately, ships don’t spin out when rammed on the side. They break and sink, and people drown in freezing cold water.

The ordeal would be quite a story, particularly after examining the pictures of the ridiculous damage suffered by the boat. The limping journey back to shore would be an epic film in itself. Yet, this story is getting little notice, continuing the Mckinney legacy.

As we watch the atrocities unfold in Gaza, with increasing intensity, we dismiss the efforts by many peace activists taking bold actions to quell the conflict wit courageous actions. These kinds of stories are important as it presents a third perspective, one that is not as 2-dimensional as support for Israel, or support for Hamas. There is a choice to support neither, the choice to support peace. Many of us tends to forget there is always that army, albeit small in numbers, that upholds the message of peace and justice amidst chaos. As well, many of us can make easy choices of aggression, while not having seen and experienced the actual atrocities:

This story is a tremendous inspiration for us who feel powerless. Know that there are many good people out there who value human lives, and would go into looming danger to indiscriminately rescue precious human lives. Although their initial mission of delivering emergency aids have been intercepted, the failure has instead transformed into a message of activism. It’s just too bad that Mckinney just doesn’t seem to be destined for publicity. And that is our job to amplify the volume of her message.

SABUNG AYAM
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