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The politically conscious gather for Cynthia McKinney – but where are all the youth?

June 22, 2011

by Natasha Reid

Willie Ratcliff gives the anti-Qaddafi Libyans information that they are unwilling to accept: that it is the Libyan people who will pay for NATO’s recklessness. Though they may choose to ignore the future implications of NATO action now, by next year, Mr. Ratcliff insists, they will understand that NATO is unconcerned with their “humanitarian interests.” – Video frame: Natasha Reid
A decent crowd of San Franciscans gathered last night for the appearance of former Congresswoman and presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney. Granted, not everybody was there to support McKinney or her message – a truth that became more and more apparent with every errant heckle that emerged from the audience. But the vast majority, indeed, were.

The event instilled a feeling of sadness, anger and frustration in the audience. Sadness upon watching video footage, acquired by McKinney in Libya, showcasing the lynchings of Black Libyans in the country, all taken by Libyan rebels on mobile-phone cameras.

Anger that the mainstream media of the West has failed to adequately cover the situation in Libya – resulting, once again, in mass misinformation amongst the public who consequently find justification in the U.S. government funding war on foreign nations. In Libya, the U.S. bill for bombing and recklessly killing civilians, is $10 million per day.

Frustration that so many are willing to rely upon propaganda-smothered coverage.

Sadness that we have to send activists, such as McKinney, on their own funding to the ground in Libya in order to dispel the misinformation relayed to us by our governments.

But for me, the greatest source of sadness, anger and frustration was the lack of youth in attendance at this event. Indeed, at 22 years of age, I was one of the youngest members of the audience with few peers in sight. Others who appeared in their 20s were anti-Qaddafi Libyan protesters.

Where are all the youth? How can it be that young Libyans, gravely misinformed about the abilities and interests of NATO, were the only youth dedicated to presenting their views at this type of event?

Where are all of our youth? Is large scale disinvolvement of the youth of today, in matters as sensitive as those in Libya, a coincidence? Are the social engineering practices of the West – designed to influence the interests, and non-interests, of young generations – irreversible?

There is a hard fight on the horizon to end our unjustified wars – presupposing that there is such a thing as a “justified war” in the first place – and success is reliant on youth involvement. Indeed, a struggle is upon us to spread awareness and displace latent interests in the upcoming generation with interests of justice and knowledge in the affairs of our world.

Reach out to the youth in your life. Encourage them to form their opinions on the war on Libya and, should they feel inspired to speak, contact their congressional representative (for my U.S. readers).

There is a hard fight on the horizon to end our unjustified wars – presupposing that there is such a thing as a “justified war” in the first place – and success is reliant on youth involvement.

There is an opportunity to prevent further atrocities in Libya should the U.S. House of Representatives vote to de-fund U.S. involvement in Libya this week. This will leave a large hole in NATO’s pocket which will largely impact the future of this operation.

Speak up and speak out. It is our responsibility, our duty, to get behind the wheel and drive our funding home.

Natasha Reid
Natasha Reid is a writer of Zimbabwean and Scottish descent, on a transatlantic mission to explore and reveal new truths whilst volunteering at the Bay View. Natasha holds an honors law degree, though her real passion lies in journalism and political awareness. You can contact Natasha at and keep up with her ongoing journey at

Cynthia McKinney covered many of the same topics in her San Francisco presentation as in this interview recorded a few days earlier in Libya

40 thoughts on “The politically conscious gather for Cynthia McKinney – but where are all the youth?

  1. Mariama C.

    Thank you so much for your commentary. I agree that more of our youth need to become more politically aware about what's going on in Libya and the rest of the world. It's quite unfortunate that many of them aren't the least bit interested because they don't realize that we are a human family and this affects us all. What I usually tell people (because there is also a disturbing amount of adults, who should know better, who could care less as well), is that if they work…this affects them as well. Every legally employed American (and some non-Americans) pay taxes and this money used to drive this war is funded by tax payers. If that isn't enough to want to make people fight against this war and the many others we're involved in, then that is worrisome, because then, one becomes directly responsible whether they like it or not.
    It is important that we find out the truth about we are surrounded by, for some, Libya might seem like another foreign country they have no attachments to and might seem like another realm or planet, but we are all here on Mother Earth and we should speak out against atrocities that are brothers and sisters are faced with everyday, no matter where in the world it is. Thank you again for your commentary, and as a member of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, we appreciate this article and I will definitely be present to hear Sister McKinney speak in NYC on June 25th at the National Black Theater.

  2. Sherry Engleton

    Sister, I am so confused. While I've supported Sister Cynthia Mckinney in her past initiatives I find her current project shilling for the Gaddafi regime to be extremely reprehensible. While I am very ant-intervention, i do not understand why that means I have to be pro-Gaddafi, especially considering his very racist views. How do you explain this?

    1. Eddie

      This is the right quote from the Green Book. Your link distorts the meaning of the words used.

      Black people are now in a very backward social situation, but such backwardness works to bring about their numerical superiority because their low standard of living has shielded them from methods of birth control and family planning. Also, their old social traditions place no limit on marriages, leading to their accelerated growth. The population of other races has decreased because of birth control, restrictions on marriage, and constant occupation in work, unlike the Blacks, who tend to be less obsessive about work in a climate which is continuously hot

  3. Debora Apranik

    Our problem with the talk last night was the entire premise Ms McKinney and crew based their argument on was incorrect. NATO and the US did not wake up one day and decide to take on the murderous Gaddaffi regime. The truth is the Libyan people and the Arab States cried out for weeks for NATO's help to prevent the genocide Gadaffi had planned for the citizens of Benghazi. It was extreme apprehension that Hillary Clinton convinced President Obama to support the effort.

    Instead of presenting the real facts, it was very obvious McKinney, et al are using the Libyan crisis to defend their interest in North Africa. What she should have pointed out, is that Gaddafi is bringing in African mercenaries to fight the citizens of Libya. He promises these severly indigent Africans with large financial insentives to destroy those yearning for a free, transparent society, as Ms McKinney thoroughly enjoys in the US.

    So, the real question should be, not where were the youth, rather why is Ms McKinney and the rest not telling Gaddaffi to stop "buying" Africans to do his dirty work. Or why is he instructing the African mercenaries to rape the women and children of Libya, since Libyan soldiers refuse to use rape as a weapon of his heinous war. And why almost the entire world, even China, recognizes the NTC, Libyans Transitional Council, as a legitimate voice of the Libyan people. Seems like Ms Mckinney views this deadly situation differently than the majority of the world- hmmm.

    Sorry Ms McKinney- this is a fight for freedom from a despicable dictator, not a race relations issue. You need to splash ice cold water into your face so you wake up and get this straight. You should be doing everything possible to help the 1600 women and children who have stepped forward as rape victims- show compassion to them as any woman or mother would do in a heartbeat. Could it be that todays youth are more informed and networking online with the world. We see hope not the hate you see. We see promise and freedom for all. Your approach is over, not relevant, exposed and should be put to rest. The world is passing you by at lightening speed.

    Debora A.

    1. dovii

      Obviously the decision to attack Libya was planned. Gaddafi, like all strongmen and dictators who make deals with the West to stay in power eventually become no longer necessary or have ambitions that conflict with the goals of their masters; I believe the latter is true for Gaddafi. The stories of genocide against Libyan citizens and so called mercenaries using rape as a tactic are the same old tropes used to involve ourselves into conflicts, it's propaganda designed to influence thinking. There were brutal crack downs in Yemen and Bahrain against the civilians protesting there and not even a strong diplomatic admonishment for the US; why the double standard? I would almost have more respect for the US if they would just be honest about the why we're getting involved; just tell us if it's natural resources or the strategic location or that new markets need to be opened for US corporations to flood their products into. As for Gaddafi, well this is his gift for trying to strengthen the position of Libya in the global market.

  4. SuSuella

    Black Libyans to us Libyans are just Libyans don't try to divide us by saying black Libyans. Libyans have never had race issues don't try to create them for us with your lies.…. This is a video with my Libyan brother which you chose to call black. Leave us alone we are one and Gaddafi is trying to separate us through race and tribes but NONE of it is working and Mckinney is only playing his cards.

    1. Tash Reid

      "Black Libyans" are referred to here in the same way that "African Americans" are referred to. Such references do not mean that there is an intention to divide African Americans from other Americans and such references do not mean that there is an intention to divide Black Libyans from other Libyans. If you read the reference to "Black Libyans" as creating a division … that simply speaks of your perception of the situation. One might say, an American police officer killed an Italian-American man. Does this seem an attempt to divide Italian-Americans from other Americans? Only if your own impression is that such a division exists.

      1. Yasmine Abd

        Not true. The usage of the adjective before Libyans implies a differentiation between Libyans. What do you call Libyans who are not black then? White Libyans? No, just Libyan. Therefore SuSella does have a point. Libyans do not refer to each other by marginalized labels- unlike how we do in America. Therefore, if we are going to talk about Libyan affairs, we should respect their culture.

  5. SuSuella

    If Mckenny really went on a fact finding mission why didn't she visit the victims of Gaddafis bombings and torture and rape. Why did she only go to Gaddafi and his criminals. She didn't go to any other city in Libya except tripoli which is a big prison controlled by Gaddafi. I used to support Mckinney in the past but now she is showing her true colors. Instead of just condemning NATO she is not only supporting Gaddafi but also becoming his mouth piece. Her is a taste of gaddafis crimes:….
    Also this is a support of the answer coalition telling a Libyan to Go home, truly disheartening We asked for NATO intervention because it is there for the international community, our people would have been wiped off of the map because Gaddafi was attacking the Libyans by air, land, and sea and without a no fly zone there would be no Libyan witnesses to Gaddafis crimes because they would have all been dead. What other options did we have but to ask for a no fly zone from the international community.

  6. Susan B

    Whatever credibility Cynthia McKinney had as a result of her support of the Palestinian cause (and now I am doubting her sincerity in that arena) is shattered irrevocably by her shameless pimping for Muammar Gaddafi, one of he bloodiest tyrants of the modern era, who employs every feeble-minded political wannabee in his efforts to make himself look good.

    1. dovii

      C'mon now, do you have amnesia? You did see the bloodshed in Yemen, in Bahrain and now Syria right? Are those tyrants who lead those countries bloody enough for you? Apparently not for the US because there was no intervention on behalf of civilians there and apparently bloody enough not for you.

  7. Mojo

    You claim you know more than Libyan youth Natasha? Does Cynthia know more about Libya than Libyan youth? They are misinformed about their country and you know more about Libya than them?
    Shame on ignorant people.

  8. Mina

    Did you Natasha just learn where Libya is on the map through Wikipedia? Did wikipedia also tell you how brave Gaddafi is? loooool
    I dare you Gaddafi thugs to come to Canada for his propaganda fest.

  9. Tash Reid

    Cynthia McKinney's speaking tour is not concerned with gaining Qaddafi supporters. It is primarily concerned with informing people of NATO's actions, in the hope that we can end this war. Whether you are pro or anti Qaddafi is irrelevant. The fuel that has been added to the kitchen fire is fast transforming it into a fully fledged forest fire. Fighting conflict with greater conflict is inherently circular and must be stopped.

    1. Deadbeat

      What you say is true of the intent but Ms. McKinney did report back in her recent ANSWER speech and appearance in Harlem that Qaddafi has support of Black Libyans. What you are witnessing here is a propaganda and smear campaign by anti-LIBYAN forces. Qaddafi has been out of power since 1977 and the faction seeking to gain power in Libya are doing so at the expense of the Libya people through a demonization campaign targeting Qaddafi. The demonization of Qaddafi is the PRETEXT used by the counter-revolutionary forces to bring down Libya.

    1. dovii

      Gaddafi was an advocate for unifying the currencies and the govt's of the AU(African Union) into a collective unit which would serve to strengthen the bargaining position of the Continent against the exploitative and usurious policies implemented by IMF/World Bank and the EU; policies which have plagued Africa since independence decades ago. This plan would have been more effective(and is probably one of the reasons why Libya is being bombed now) than all of the parasitic "aid" groups that come over with mosquito nets claiming to help. Say what you will about his tenure – 30+ years is it? Okay, but let me know if you've heard of a more comprehensive plan to assist Africa in freeing itself of external influence.

  10. Pierre

    Here is where the problem lies (punt)

    When you want to speak the truth, you advertise the same. In the ANSWER ad, in the top left corner of this page, there is a photo with the following caption:

    “Huge NATO buster-bunker bomb creates devastating damage in downtown Tripoli”.

    Well, the true nature of the photo is about vehicles exploding after a NATO air strike between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah, taken by Goran Tomasevic…

    Please show some honesty.

  11. Yasmine Abd

    This notion of 'we know better than the Libyan people' is about as racist as you can get. You want to know where the youth activists were? They were laughing at how preposterous an event like this was. People have more important things to do than be lectured by a politician who clearly has no authority to speak on the region. This article actually gave some people hope that the youth activists are critical thinkers who are able to see through the lies spit by opportunists like Ms. McKinney and yourself. Libyans are there because the event is blatantly LYING about issues extremely personal to them, and they will not stand for their families and people being insulted by those who know nothing of Libyan affairs. Don't act like you are an expert on Libya when you never addressed these issues before the NATO intervention. Why do you ignore Gaddafi crimes? No Libyan has put NATO on a pedestal but if it's between intervention and their family's safety, it's an obvious choice. They recognize there have been lives lost due to the NATO intervention, but you recognize NOTHING negative the Gaddafi regime has done. ANY idiot knows the harm Gaddafi has done to the region, no one needs to prove it to you. It's called educating yourself. If you listen to only one side of things, you'll never learn anything. You're trying to convince others to be critical and yet you fall into the same category you're labeling others with. Unless you have walked in those Libyans shoes for decades, then I suggest you understand the implications of these ridiculous articles that you post. And implying that Gaddafi is for African rights is laughable. I personally witnessed dozens of African immigrants living in dumpsters during the Gaddafi regime and who told us they were promised jobs and then put into jail. Amnesty International has reports of illegally detained African immigrants held for years. This is public knowledge, a simple Google search could reveal these studies of human rights abuses by the Gaddafi regime. You make nothing but empty statements, and people see right through it.

  12. Mimo Kodous

    First those off you how think what is happening in Libya is a Arab spring the so incorrect and that Gadaffi is a trayant just rememeber the lies that were used in media regarding Iraq and know you are attacking a nation only for oil. They state that bengahzi was under act which was false so why up untill now have we not seed details off the mass killing and the air attack of benagahzi, no envidce was ever shown and still to this day. Gaddahi has only been target rebels but they are the coward who hidden in the town. This is armed attack against the Libya people. The rebels have broken into police station and military barracks to arm them self and fight which a flag that was under by the monarhary of Libya who at the time was not demoractic at all! Why have people not suported them maybe it the fact the Libyan today enjoy the best standard of living in Africa, free health, free eduaction, free subsisded housing and cash gift when they get married and he Libyan was about to given an award by the UN so all those claim Libya and ghaddifi has should not that. Women enjoy allot of right not allow in other Arab countries. Now given the Media bais remember IRAQ with all the lies and i am sure that when the dust has settle the lies will also be exposed in the intervention that was about the Libya people but why are bombing the cites and universities and then call that Democracy. Damaging road, power, hospital and residential areas and this will help the people. Let us not what till hundred of thousand or even a million as did in Iraq so have the hie sight that this a wrong intervention. Why are the Libyan people being collectively punished well real its only the west of Libya were nothing has fallen on the east!!! No Justise for Libya

  13. Allison

    gadhaffi and sadaam were players, or they wouldn't have been allowed to live and have power, they did good for their countries… better than the usa by far.

  14. Allison

    rich african nation that spreads the wealth among the people… builds greatest water delivery system on earth, nourishes and supports it's citizens… much like iraq did… bam… bomb… here's a little nuclear waste with that, oh and israel will take that corner for a military base, thank you very much, france and usa will spilt the gold… what next?…. 'eretz israel' , from the eurphrates to the nile… european whitey wants control of it all… and fools you are to fall for the same scam again…. remember the filmore?

  15. TRUE

    "Our historians have only one goal, to obscure the past and prevent us from realizing the nature of the forces at work."
    - Eustace Mullins, The Curse of Canaan

  16. John Mulligan

    Comparing Libya to Iraq completely ignores everything that is happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and the rest of the Middle East. The Arab Spring has nothing to do with oil except to the extent that dictators like Gaddafi, Assad, Mubarak, etc., want to have 100% control of it to continue lining their pockets. I'll concede that the bombing was late and has been clumsy, but Obama is not Bush. We all know that Obama was very, very reluctant to get involved in this but it appears from all unbiased accounts that he did so in the interests of the democratic movement currently working its way through the region. It's worth noting that Mubarak was a staunch U.S. ally as is Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Nevertheless, the U.S. under Obama has continued to encourage the Arab Spring even to the detriment of military allies. That says something about the integrity of the President.

    The trend that I find disturbing is that contributors to this paper are invited to Libya and wined and dined, much like many African leaders have been. The result is that they become the mouthpieces of the government in Tripoli. It's shameful. It demonstrates, at best, that these "reporters" are easily manipulated with a few compliments and festivities, and at worst, that they are cheaply bought.

  17. FreeLibya

    Allison is this some kind of joke? On what basis are you claiming that Libya under Gaddaffi is a prosperous country? What if I told you that the last time I was in Libya was last december when I went to visit relatives in Tripoli. Let's just say that it has the appearance of a third world city. There is NO infrastructure whatsoever, almost no-existent healthcare, no sewage system, no postal system, poor education, sky high unemployment rates, the roads are a mess….. Gaddaffi has spent the last 42 years amassing the oil wealth for him and his sons. He is using that wealth now to kill his own people. So please if you are going to make statements about how amazing Libya is under Gaddaffi then at least back this up with evidence.

    1. dovii

      Really, I think the jokes on you; the UN Human Development Index 2010 has Libya as the 53rd most developed nation, quite noteworthy I think for a non-western country that has languished as a pariah for such a long time.

    1. Deadbeat

      ANSWER and Cynthia McKinney, your are blinded by dogma.

      On the contrary, it is the Daily Kos who was blinded by Obama and the Democrats that the real "dogma" that rules America at the moment. Obama has maintain the Middle Eastern wars, maintained the Bush Tax cuts and offered to cut Social Security to the Republicans. Clearly Obama and the Democrats serves the rich, Wall Street, and the powerful who are his real constituents. They are not the ordinary folks who wasted their votes putting Obama into office and their are clearly not members of the Black community who overwhelmingly voted for Obama.

  18. Tash Reid

    Sister Sumayyah,

    I truly regret the agony that you and your country have gone through. I do not here attempt to make statements as to the history of the conflicts in Libya. I simply state what I believe is true: that NATO involvement is not going to help you or your people now, and especially not in the long term. And I stand by my statement: anybody who feels that NATO has the interests of the Libyan people at the forefront of their minds, is gravely misinformed. I hope you consider that.

    Please know that I do commend your passion and involvement in your beliefs. That is what this story was intended to be about. Youth involvement. And as my father greatly pointed out to me earlier today, youth of developing countries are often so much more aware of political issues than the youth of the West.

    Please do not feel that I am against you. I simply wish to caution those who have placed their faith in NATO.

    And for the record, I spent an hour outside talking to the Libyan youth.

    My greatest respects.

  19. Malik

    I agree NATO didn't just jump up and decide to go to war on a heartbeat. It was planned for months prior, just like the peaceful rebel protest that somehow knocks over an armory and has N.A.T.O. on tap for air strikes. Also lets not forget the rebels glorious Al-Qaeda backing CIA Operating leader. Who magically decides to fight for freedom after living in Langley Virginia area for 15years. O and he just happens to be able to get the CIA on the phone on a whim. I wonder if living in Langley Virginia area after fighting for Al-Qaeda had anything to do with that.

    Also your alleged rape victims stemming from that one woman they plaster on Al Jazeera all the time. She must be magic because not only would she have had to mail her rape surveys, while the postal system wasn't running in the country she also would have had to have them returned. Or maybe shes psychic and saw the rape coming and mailed them prior to the despicable attack before the war even started.

    Lastly real rape victims don't need propaganda pieces to tell the world they exist in war, unless your perception of what war is has been based in fantasy.

  20. kwibono

    There is a substantial Libyan emigre population in the US and EU countries, I have discovered, one that to me is similar to other emigre national groups brought to the US after losing power in their home countries, such as the Gusanos in Miami nostalgic for the days when Cuba was run by Meyer Lansky's pals. Other parallels are with the Vietnamese Americans nostalgic for the privileged existence their families enjoyed under French colonial rule or/and later under the CIA.

    Young pro-intervention Libyan emigres in the US are largely offspring of families who had a large stake in the colonialist puppet King Idris regime, and are understandably enthusiastic at the prospect of having their fortunes restored by Nato.

    For instance, one vociferous defender of the "rebels" on various blogs, Nafissa Assed, turns out to be the daughter of a high Idris regime official, and the granddaughter of a man who was King Idris' Prime Minister.
    So when you hear a Libyan resident of the US denounce Gaddafi, find out where they're coming from: were members of their family officials or beneficiaries of the Mussolini/Churchill/Idris monarchy?

    1. Deadbeat

      You've got that right. The USA is nothing but the dumping ground for exiled Fascist overlords and their offspring seeking to regain power.

  21. Green Party Sucks

    I will neeeeeeeeeeeever vote for someone this crazy again. Neeeeeeeever. McKinney is on some anti-war tip, however the one who has her info all messed up is HER. Qadafi Duck, this Jewish man who is supported by a bunch of nutty NOI types and racist McKinney, has hired these black Africans to kill his own citizens. If Asians wee suddenly employed by the President to kill Blacks in the U.S. would you not shoot back? She has no youth supporting her because the minority who IS there are a bunch of backward imbeciles and they all happen to be old. @Rob Tomorrow…………. she is a female NOI nutcase who is not capable of using her intelligence right now.

    1. Deadbeat

      You probably didn't vote for McKinney the first time around. The Black community has a long affinity with Qaddafi especially during the 1970's. And apparently the NOI has a sizable base of support in the Black community because they are DOING something FOR the Black community rather than like you supporting the overthrow of an African nation by the West.

  22. Kwibono

    Libya War Lies Worse Than Iraq
    By Thomas C. Mountain 22 July, 2011

    Asmara, Eritrea: The lies used to justify the NATO war against Libya have surpassed those created to justify the invasion of Iraq. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both had honest observers on the ground for months following the rebellion in eastern Libya and both have repudiated every major charge used to justify the NATO war on Libya.

    According to the Amnesty observer, who is fluent in Arabic, there is not one confirmed instance of rape by the pro-Gadaffi fighters, not even a doctor who knew of one. All the Viagra mass rape stories were fabrications.

    Amnesty could not verify a single “African mercenary” fighting for Gaddafi story, and the highly charged international satellite television accounts of African mercenaries raping women that were used to panic much of the eastern Libyan population into fleeing their homes were fabrications. /////// see the rest at


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