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Freedom Rider: Silence on Cynthia McKinney

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cynthia mckinneyby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The shallowness of what passes for Black leadership reveals itself most dramatically at times of outrage and death. “While Cynthia McKinney languished in an Israeli jail, black leaders mobilized to say and do absolutely nothing,” preferring to make themselves part of the Michael Jackson story. “The only national action requested by” Rev. Al Sharpton, “the president of the National Action Network, was a demand for a Michael Jackson postage stamp and a national day of mourning. 
 
Freedom Rider: Silence on Cynthia McKinney
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were busy advising Michael Jackson’s family, too busy apparently to deal with any other issues.“
What country illegally kidnapped and then imprisoned a former member of Congress and a Nobel peace prize laureate? Was it Iran, Myanmar, or perhaps Sudan? The correct answer is “none of the above.” The rogue nation in question is Israel, the beneficiary of largesse forced from the pockets of millions of American citizens.
Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, peace prize winner Mairead Maguire, and nineteen others were captured by Israel while on a humanitarian mission to bring food, medicine, and building supplies to Gaza. Their vessel, the Human Spirit, was intercepted in international waters and its passengers were taken to Israel and imprisoned for four days.
Israel is justifiably given the rogue title because an even bigger rogue, the United States, is its only benefactor, to the tune of $7million per day. Israel has the sweetest deal in international relations. In return for being the recipient of more American foreign aid than the rest of the countries on earth combined, Israel gets to do as it pleases, including imprison people who would be treated as dignitaries anywhere else in the world.
Vice President Joe Biden explained it all to us. For once he should be thanked for his famous inability to keep his mouth shut. In a televised interview he said Israel can do anything it wants, including declare wars and kill people. The subject of discussion was Iran but the vice president said the same applies to any action Israel may want to take at any time against any one.
“Israel gets to do as it pleases, including imprison people who would be treated as dignitaries anywhere else in the world.”
"Look, Israel can determine for itself — it's a sovereign nation — what's in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else."
“Look, we cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do.” (Hopefully that last statement applies to nations other than Israel.)
While Cynthia McKinney languished in an Israeli jail, black leaders mobilized to say and do absolutely nothing. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were busy advising Michael Jackson’s family, too busy apparently to deal with any other issues. Perhaps that explains their silence on the subject of McKinney and Maguire. McKinney’s former colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus must have also been similarly occupied. They too went out of their way to say and do nothing about the illegal and immoral treatment of someone they should have defended very publicly.
The silence from the corporate media is, sadly, not at all surprising. The complete surrender of black American leadership is also sad and also not surprising, but is nonetheless disgraceful, and should not pass without comment. Cynthia McKinney was one of the first victims of the corporate takeover of the Congressional Black Caucus. She was targeted for defeat in 2002 by Zionists and other powerful forces determined to get rid of one of the few truly progressive members of congress.
“Cynthia McKinney was one of the first victims of the corporate takeover of the Congressional Black Caucus.”
The black caucus could have responded in any number of ways to prevent falling prey to McKinney’s fate. They might have insured electoral success by mobilizing their supporters, resurrecting movement politics and exposing the forces who would seek to undermine popular will. Instead they chose to capitulate, to go along to get along. They decided not to put up a fight for themselves or for their constituents, who were left without the representation they thought they were getting when they made their choices on Election Day.
As always, the result of capitulation is more capitulation, and it now spreads beyond the hallowed halls of Congress. The only national action requested by the president of the National Action Network, was a demand for a Michael Jackson postage stamp and a national day of mourning. 
It is easy and safe to fight for what is palatable to the powers that be. Supporters of Cynthia McKinney, Mairead Maguire, and other defenders of human rights should never be dissuaded or discouraged from doing what is hard. If their struggle results only in silence, then it will have been in vain, and that would be the ultimate disgrace for the Gaza 21.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com.

  

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Where is the CBC?

The CBC showed their lack of leadership and independence by not doing what Ireland did for their jailed citizens.  Irleland drafted a resolution condemming the actions of the Israeli Government.  The CBC should have done the same for their captured Americans.  Unbelievable!

USELESS CRUMMY POLITICIANS

I have no need for any politician to tell me anything/offer anything/demand anything/suggest anything for the King of Pop.(Leave him alone anyway) That is not what they are supposed to be doing. When they start challenging the obozo on his crimes: gutting of funding for schools, continued slaughter of people in far away places, using tax payer dollars for his foolish and frivolous travels with his family, literal destroying of thousands of jobs, etc. THEN and only THEN will I pay any attention to them.

  I am grateful for

 
I am grateful for this article because I didn't know that former Congresswoman McKinney had been in an Israeli jail ... I think it should have gotten more media coverage.  This is a great article but it is fascinating however that the article packaged this as an issue of the failure of Black leadership!  I think Black Leaders should have spoken up for McKinney, but its obvious (for Blacks & whites) that you don't challenge Israel or its policies - they are a model for effective lobbying complete with bully tactics, media influence, etc.  Very few have the courage to stand up against them, and if its one thing we already know - our current ‘leaders’ lack true courage ... or vision. Let’s be real, our ‘leaders’ haven’t had an agenda since the Civil Rights movement. 
But it seems to me if we are focusing on Blackness and humanitarian efforts, maybe we (along with McKinney) ought to take a page from the Jews and even the Arabs, and focus our efforts on benefiting our own.  There are many impoverished and/or war torn areas in Africa that could benefit from our support and solidarity - there are even a ton of mentally, morally and spiritually impoverished areas of our people right here in America.  It seems to me (at least in my neighborhood) that the Arabs create businesses and opportunities for themselves in our communities - I don't think it would hurt if we decided be selfish and try to solve our own problems before lending a hand to others. 
Now don't get me wrong,  I am all for a Palestinian state in their homeland, but even the other Arab countries have not given any of their land for a Palestinian state - ex Saudi Arabia has a lot of land & money but as far as I know, they never invited Palestinians to create a homeland on their land either. 
Being a humanitarian to others is nice, but I think Black folks have enough things to worry about in our own diaspora, in our own neighborhoods, even in our own households - just my 2 cents.
 

separation politics blues

Some of your points are well taken. And the fact that Africans and African Americans themselves as a group has its own share and enough pressing problems can not be debated. However, what exactly the sources of them are and how to possibly solve them can and continues to be. Yet, in my opinion one of the possible solution that you suggest here is that of African Americans separating themselves from the greater global world affairs in order to focus on it's own problems with  Identity Politics is not one of them. And you use Israel and Arab nations as examples to that affect.
 
Well firstly, African Americans are Americans and that means they are affected (often deleteriously, but not always) politically by what the nation as a whole concerns it self with at home or abroad. Therefore, when as Mrs. Kimberly points out, American supplies Israel with $7 Million (tax payer)Dollars a day to under take the forging of it's Zionist Empire at the demise of other peoples; then it is not only a philosophical one, but a political imperative that African as well as all Americans not only speak out against it, but act to end the criminal behaviour that is not only commited against the Palestinians, but also against the Americans whose Dollars are divested from its peoples that so desperately need it to live the Democratic Dream deferred and in many cases denied them.
 
Secondly the us and them fomular really only works when one, as the Israelis and Arabs do posess, have the Capital, hence political and military power to exact, maintain and perpetuate their brand of seperation politics blues. Ethic and moral posturing offer only the mythical basis not the practical ones that are demanded in order to assume that position of; See it works for us.
 So, as is evident by our own modern civil rights history as well as current events; playing the us and them, identity political game was, is and will always be a losing game; at least as far as it concerns African Americans and all other Americans with whom all of our true Demcractic dreams (inspite devide and conquer tactics and lies) are interdenpedent upon.
 
And as far away as Europe and the Middle east appear on the map they are very near and dear to us and the political trajectory that US foreign policy assumes when it aims its big guns (money) in their or any other nations direction determines how that dream of equality and dignity will be played out  here at home. So, we better damned well know what time it is (over there) and as Mckinney and others have, act when and how we can. Because, whether we like it or not, we are all in this together; the sinkin and or the swimming.

Whats wrong with solving our own problems before helping others?

.
I appreciate the spirit of your well-thought-out comments, and you make some good points as well; but I never mentioned separatism, actually what I’d like to see is our people dedicating their energies and talents to solving our problems – and perhaps when we have some power, we can make a push to help other folks. I definitely understand that we don't live in a vacuum, but I'm not sure if it is wise to sacrifice to build another’s house when your own is crumbling (unless they’re going let you move in)! I think in many instances, our people fantasize that if we support others, they will support us in turn. Despite the experiences of the last 300 years, I think we truly believe that partnerships, alliances, and Rainbow Coalitions will be our salvation. You just can’t get us to believe that we are truly on our own, and most other groups really don’t like us and don't care about our plight (and sometimes it seems we don’t care either). In my experience, most other groups have their own agendas and development as a priority – Black folks are unique in that regard because we value coalitions and helping others above our own self development. I wish Cynthia McKinney well in her push to aid Palestinians; I have to admit that her cause is just, but I also believe that charity begins at home and at the rate we're going, we'll still be having this conversation 5 decades from now.

Gaza 21

DURING THE ABDUCTION OF CYNTHIA MCKINNEY AND OTHERS OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT I CALLED MANY MEMBERS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCAS.  I CALLED BARBARA LEE'S OFFICE THREE TIMES HOPING SHE AS THE CHAIRPESON OF THE CBC WOULD MAKE A STATEMENT CONCERNING THE SITUATION. 
I MUST SAY I WAS COMPLETELY TAKEN ABACK BY THE COWARDISE OF THE CBC MEMBERS. I CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY THERE AFRAID TO CONFRONT THE RACIST REGIME OF ISRAEL EVEN WHEN ONE OF THEIR OWN FOLKS IS UNJUSTLY KIDNAPED AND INCARCERATED ILLEGALLY.  IT IS SHAMEFUL AND INSULTING.  30% OF THE US FORCES IN THE MIDDLE EAST ARE BLACK (SHAMEFULLY) YET OUR SO-CALLED LEADERS ARE AFRAID TO CONFRONT RACISM OF THE CRIMINAL COWARDS OF ISRAEL AND THEIR SUPPORTERS!  MAKE'S YOU WON'T TO HOLLER 



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