Bike4Peace reached DC a day early and Cynthia McKinney, whose home was burglarized during the bike ride across America, reached out once again to victims of the US government
By Cynthia McKinney
Well, first of all I have to apologize to Uncle Ernie. and Reverend Sandra Decker. I didn't get my information to you on time--and to all of you, too! But, I hope you'll understand why when I give this update.
But first, I need to add that one of my favorite books of all time is "Godel, Escher, Bach," in which there is something called a "recursive loop." Part of the reason for my lateness with this final, wrap-up Bike4Peace 2010 report is that, toward the end of our ride, I became involved in several recursive loops that made me very busy; so much so that the time for writing lapsed while I was coursing the various loops.
The first loop entailed travel from Pueblo, Colorado to deal with a burglary that seems to have netted the burglars my external hard drive containing much of my intellectual property, among other things. Now, what was interesting was that they had to search for it. Well, before I declare it swiped, I'm checking and double checking my belongings. But it's not in its usual place. I'm still coursing through this loop and external hard drive sub-loop.
However, after I had just been thrust into the burglary loop, I received an invitation to become involved in the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a woman believed to have been the screaming female voice heard by Moazzem Beg, a U.K. resident of Pakistani descent, who was detained and tortured and by U.S. authorities in various U.S. terror gulags. I have heard and seen Moazzem's riveting testimony of his treatment at the hands of the U.S. military. Of course, Moazzem--just like many others, including Dr. Aafia--just happened to be at the wrong place and the wrong time, and became statistics of torture and injustice in the U.S. prosecution of its so-called "War on Terror." One can get more information on Moazzem Beg at www.cageprisoners.com and at www.criminalisewar.org, the Malaysia War Crimes Tribunal.
At any rate, I had read a riveting account of a witness at her "trial," who was incensed by the glaring injustice. So, when the call came, I was ready to become part of a justice campaign in any way I could be helpful. That necessitated sending a message to the White House and State Department asking for Dr. Aafia's repatriation. I had also been asked to travel to Pakistan to ascertain flood damage and advocate on behalf of innocent victims as well as to share some information about the case of Dr. Aafia with Pakistani government authorities by leading a delegation of Pakistani-Americans and those knowledgeable of the law and certain precedents. That's when I discovered that my passport had been stolen!!!
That sent me into yet another emergency loop to get a replacement passport expedited in time for our travel!!!
After getting the replacement passport, I then sent it to the Pakistani authorities in this country, along with a visa application--where both my passport and my visa application were held hostage for about a week while I idled in Chicago and precious time was being lost endangering our time-sensitive mission. Soon, it became clear that our delegation would not travel and that a game of "four corners" was being played with us to allow the clock to sound the time out alarm before Dr. Aafia's sentencing, which occurred on September 23rd. My effort to help on compassionate grounds a woman who has become known as the "Daughter of Pakistan" came to a standstill and eventually, my passport and visa application were both returned, without explanation, to my representative. More can be learned about the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui at www.draafia.org.
By the time I made it back to my familiar environs of campground, tent, and bicycle, Bike4Peace had crossed Kansas. Missouri, the Mighty Mississippi River, Illinois, and had forged their way into Kentucky! It felt good to be back with biting mosquitoes, annoying flies, buzzing gnats in love with my ears, nose, and eyes, and my all-natural insect repellent that didn't work!
Unfortunately, on the day of my arrival in Kentucky, one of our bikers had to leave and return to California where his partner was waiting for him. Anyone who knew YeYo knew it was impossible to be without him for two entire months!!! But, by the time of his departure, YeYo had picked up a bug and was so sick! Food poisoning was the suspected culprit, a little medicine, and he was good to go--unfortunately, away from us!
I left Bike4Peace once again to participate in a New York 9/11 event that will be broadcast on television soon--we hope--under the auspices of Independent News Network (INN). I can't wait. Lenny Charles invited all of the people who participated in my 2005 Congressional briefing and then some! I was on a panel with Governor Don Siegelman and Senator Mike Gravel. We were there to show the audience what happens to elected officials who represent a threat to the existing political disorder! All of the testimony throughout the day was riveting. Then for me, it was back to Kentucky and Bike4Peace 2010.
And the mental calculation wasn't difficult: after Kentucky there was only Virginia, and after Virginia, there was D.C.!!!!! Wow, honestly, in the beginning, I had been misunderstood in so many quarters for choosing to do this and now, here we were, on the verge of actually reaching our goal. What an amazing feeling!
As it turns out, Bike4Peace 2010 arrived in D.C. one day early!!!! On that day--the last day--I rode 60 miles!! While I was stuck in one of those multi-layered recursive loops, I remembered listening to a lecture about the role of melanin and the production of energy. I seemed to get more energy as the sun's rays penetrated my skin. I didn't know where all the energy was coming from--I imagined a little furnace inside my abdomen, just burning away.
I could see my skin turning black black again. And I was energized by it--or maybe by the lecture on melanin that I was remembering. Amazingly, I rode more than I had ever ridden in one day on this entire Bike4Peace journey, and I never got a muscle cramp--nor a brain cramp! (A brain cramp is that little voice resident in your imagination that tells you that it's time to stop because you've done enough!)
And Babette Hogan of PoliDocs was there to greet us--kinda! PoliDocs is doing a film entitled, "Seriously Green" and Bike4Peace's triumphal entry into D.C. was captured for the film. How beautiful it must have been: the silhouette of Bike4Peace 2010 against the dusky D.C. skyline. That was September 20--one day early! We ended the day by attending a screening of the film, "GhettoPhysics" (opening in theaters on October 8) in which I have a small cameo! As we left the theater, I read an e-mail message indicating that a 30-year old African American Green Party candidate for the U.S. Senate who was riding her bicycle had been hit by an SUV. Stunned, doesn't even begin to describe how I felt. Natasha Pettigrew, bicycling victim of a hit and run.
On September 21, Bike4Peace boarded a bus headed to New York City to hear Ahmadinejad speak. I was asked to give some brief remarks, which I will send under separate cover, since I believe this e-mail is way too long already! On the way back, I learned from the D.C. Green Party that Natasha was dead. All I could think of was Natasha's mother's complete and utter grief. How could this happen? After having just crossed the country and experienced all kinds of motorists, I knew how it could happen.
On September 22, we participated in our closing events for Bike4Peace 2010. At 10:00 am, Bike4Peace convened at the U.S. Capitol and then rode to the White House. We met our goal--on time! From the House of Common Sense to the White House that needs some common sense. And, as if to underscore the importance of what we had just accomplished, I opened my e-mails after our standing-room-only event at the National Press Club to see that, sandwiched in-between NATO bombing raids that killed civilians and children, President Obama defended his war against Afghanistan and renewed threats against Pakistan. It was also Obama's Pentagon that reportedly flooded a town in Pakistan, killing hundreds of innocents, so as to save the military base from which U.S. drones are launched. Shades of New Orleans and the Lower 9th Ward all over again. Given the circumstances of today, there is very little more important than our engagement for peace. Thank you, Bike4Peace--Ron Toppi and Vernon Huffman--for actualizing personal transformation while visualizing U.S. policy that promotes peace.
On September 24, Zaccai Free, whom we met at the screening of "Ghetto Physics," took Yaney to the airport, signaling the beginning of the end of Bike4Peace 2010. Scott, went to his brother's and will probably shave his beard before he heads back to Boston! Vernon and his daughter, Lucy, took off on their fully-loaded bikes, for another adventure--cycling to New York City, where Lucy lives. Annie visited with friends before heading back to the West Coast. And I attended the vigil for Natasha Pettigrew and hugged her mother in an embrace that lasted way too long--but still wasn't long enough to absorb all the pain. I wish I were a sponge so I could soak up the world's pain and put an end to it once and for all. You can read about Natasha here: www.natashaforsenate.com. The Maryland Green Party has named Natasha's mother, Keniss Henry, as its U.S. Senate nominee. At dusk, the candles were lit for Natasha and Bike4Peace 2010 officially ended.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Please Note: For those of you in the Atlanta area and who can attend, please put October 6 on your calendar. On that date, at 10:00 am promptly, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners will officially present my mother and me a proclamation in honor of the life and work of my father. Please come and be a part of our extended family and share this honor with us:
Subject: McKinney Proclamation Presentation...
The Board of Commissioner’s meetings start and 10:00 a.m. and I always urge everyone to be there by then. The Chairman usually starts the meeting as soon as he has a quorum, which is generally by 10:00 a.m.
After roll call, prayer and the pledge of allegiance, the Commission approves the agenda for the day and the very next thing is proclamations. This usually occurs between 10:15 a.m. and 10:20 a.m. That’s why I always recommend that the participants be in Assembly Hall by 10:00 a.m.
When it’s time for presentation, the Chairman calls the recipients down to the podium. Chairman Eaves and Commissioner Darnell who are both sponsoring this proclamation will speak and he will give the family the opportunity to address the Commission. Afterwards, our photographer will take a group shot and the family would be free to either stay or watch the remainder of the meeting or exit.
Aaron V. Johnson
Community Policy Director
Office of Chairman John Eaves
Fulton County Board of Commissioners
141 Pryor Street, 10th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30303
(p) 404.612.8251, (f) 404.730.4754
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