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MONDAY, JULY 6, 2009, 9:42 P.M.

Former Congresswoman detained by Israel…

Former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia's 11th District
In office
January 5, 1993 – January 3, 1997
Preceded by 	None — district created
Succeeded by 	John Linder
Former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia's 4th District
In office
January 7, 1997 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by 	John Linder
Succeeded by 	Denise Majette
Former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia's 4th District
In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by 	Denise Majette
Succeeded by 	Hank Johnson
Born 	March 17, 1955 (1955-03-17) (age 54)
Atlanta, Georgia
Political party 	Democratic (January 1993 – September 2007)
Green Party (October 2007)
Spouse 	Coy Grandison (divorced)
Residence 	Lithonia, Georgia
Alma mater 	University of Southern California
Occupation 	high school teacher, college professor
Religion 	Roman Catholic (The Spokesman-Review)
Former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia's 11th District In office January 5, 1993 – January 3, 1997 Preceded by None — district created Succeeded by John Linder Former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia's 4th District In office January 7, 1997 – January 3, 2003 Preceded by John Linder Succeeded by Denise Majette Former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia's 4th District In office January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007 Preceded by Denise Majette Succeeded by Hank Johnson Born March 17, 1955 (1955-03-17) (age 54) Atlanta, Georgia Political party Democratic (January 1993 – September 2007) Green Party (October 2007) Spouse Coy Grandison (divorced) Residence Lithonia, Georgia Alma mater University of Southern California Occupation high school teacher, college professor Religion Roman Catholic (The Spokesman-Review)

Good evening, Netizens...


How many of you have heard or remember Cynthia McKinney, the former congresswoman from Georgia? Until yesterday afternoon, although I remember her being the first African-American woman ever to represent the State of Georgia, who made a place in history for herself by signing a document in favor of impeaching former President George Bush, Dick Cheney and Condolessa Rice. I vaguely remember hearing about the confrontation with Capitol Hill Police officer who did not recognize her as a member of congress. Eventually the Capitol Hill Police figured out who she was, and she apologized for some of her rather brittle, racist comments made at the time of her arrest. Other than that, I pretty much drew a blank. Until today.


In the last 24 hours she has managed to once more surface in the headlines, this time aboard an ocean-going ship named Spirit of Humanity which attempted to run the Israeli blockade which surrounds Gaza, and was arrested by Israeli authorities and, for a time, incarcerated in a jail with other inmates. According to late information, the Israelis wanted her (and others from the ship) to sign what were termed documents regarding their deportation from Israel, and McKinney refused. The documents were ostensibly in Hebrew, which she cannot read. I wouldn't sign a document I couldn't read, either.


With McKinney onboard the Spirit of Humanity was Mairead Maguire, the 1977 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for co-founding a group that worked for peace in Northern Ireland, who was also arrested and detained for a short time.


From my perspective, like most similar circumstances surrounding Gaza and the Israeli government, it all depends upon whom you believe. Israel has blockaded entry to Gaza, which is governed by the organization Hamas, for two years, and the activists knew this when they sailed. The activists onboard the Humanity claim they were unlawfully stopped, boarded and arrested in international waters, after their GPS units and other navigational equipment onboard their ship were jammed by devices on Israeli warships. I guess that would make it a bit difficult to determine whether they were truly in international waters, wouldn't it?


Although the Israelis are being typically closed-mouth about what supplies they found aboard the Humanity, the activists claim they were transporting humanitarian supplies only, including crayons for children. There is something truly odd about McKinney's statements made repeatedly to various news sources, about the Israelis preventing them from delivering crayons ostensibly for the children of Gaza. Gaza is in theory in a state of war with Israel, although no one really has declared it thus far. In a state of war, when people are starving and dying every day, why send crayons to children? My unpatented but trustworthy BS meter is going nuts every time I re-read the statement about crayons for the children of Gaza.


Earlier this afternoon, in a moment of decision between whom to believe, I contacted a good friend who has vastly more experience at such things than I, and I asked her for her take on this issue of crayons for kids. Her advice to me was to trust my gut (and my BS meter).


Perhaps someday someone will have the nerve it takes to bring the people of Gaza and Israel to an agreement. Until that day, or at least until my gut settles back down, I've fulfilled my goal and written about the former Congresswoman from Georgia, and by the time you read this perhaps she will even be on her way back home to the United States. You haven't heard the last of Cynthia McKinney, though.


Dave




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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.