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

by 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 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