AUGUST 9TH, 2011
Report from Libya:
Impact of U.S. War in Africa
Special Guest Speaker
Former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney
Organized by Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO)
August 9th Cynthia McKinney Event Report
On August 9th, 2011, about 275 people, young and old and significant number of different nationalities came together at the Heritage Hall in Vancouver, Canada, for a special event, 'Report from Libya: Impact of US War in Africa.' It was a chance to hear from Cynthia McKinney, former US Congresswoman and 2008 Green Party Presidential candidate, about a recent fact-finding delegation which she led in Libya during the NATO bombing campaign on that country. Organized locally by Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO), this event was part of a twenty-city tour across North America organized and coordinated by the International Action Center (IAC) featuring Cynthia's testimony and experience. As the only Canadian stop in the tour, it was a huge success in bringing Libya forward as an issue for the anti-war movement in Canada.
August 9th Cynthia McKinney Photo Gallery
The evening was opened up by the MC, MAWO's spokesperson Janine Solanki, who welcomed everyone and stressed the importance of Cynthia's tour and public discourse about the current situation in Libya. She welcomed Cynthia up to the stage where she was received with a standing ovation from the crowd.
The event began with a traditional Indigenous welcoming by Coast Salish elder and media and social justice activist, Kelly White. She sang and drummed a welcoming song, and then honoured Cynthia with a traditional starblanket she had made to recognize her dedication and fight for social justice.
The ceremony was followed by video footage of Cynthia's fact-finding trip to Libya. It included interviews with students whose university had been bombed by NATO, an Imam who was the sole survivor of a NATO attack, as well as an interview on Russian Television (RT) with Sara Flounders, co-director of the IAC, on the recent developments in Libya.
Following the video footage, Cynthia spoke with great passion and dynamism as she shared her experiences in Libya. Her first hand accounts contradicted the lies spread in mainstream media, and expressed the spirit of resistance that Libyan people are showing in the face of NATO attacks.
After Cynthia spoke, questions were taken and Cynthia elaborated on what the West has to gain in attacking Libya, why the US government is spending money on war instead of human needs at home and how we can work to stop the bombing of Libya. One of the comments from the audience was also a heartfelt “please run for President again.”
Before the event ended, Cynthia was asked to promise to return to Vancouver, as the demand to hear her speak on this issue was more than this one event. The event ended with another standing ovation, and many people gathered to thank Cynthia and speak more with her.
Alongside this speaking engagement, many thousands more heard Cynthia's message with six media agencies that interviewed Cynthia and covered the event, including local news radio, a provincial TV station, international coverage from Iran's Press TV (for the Press TV news clip click http://www.presstv.ir/detail/193379.html or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4FgsuHT5Fg), as well as print and other radio coverage.
As the number of bombs dropped by Canada, the US, and NATO over Libya increase, events like this one are crucial for understanding and building opposition to the attacks that are undermining the Libyan people's self-determination. The rest of Cynthia's tour throughout the US is a great contribution to this fight and in Canada and internationally we must work together to further advance this struggle against war and occupation.