by Cynthia McKinney
Former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who last week completed a peace mission to Syria along with former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark and others, made the following remarks to the IBON IBON Conference on Democracy, Self-Determination and Liberation of Peoples. The conference was held at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.
Thank you for the invitation to be with you today.
This conference is about Democracy, Self-Determination, and popular liberation.
As a representative of the United States people’s movement for justice and peace, I want to start by acknowledging some facts about the practice, as I know it, of one form of “democracy.”
How can any country that refuses to accept responsibility for its past of Continental or global expansion obtained through genocide of indigenous people be democratic?
How can any country that reaches the zenith of economic might by stealing Africans and transporting them around the world in a network of human trafficking that constitutes to this day an unrepaired crime against humanity be considered democratic?
How can any country that continues the global pillage and theft of human and mineral resources for the benefit of a few people–even at the expense of its own people–ever be considered democratic?
It is right and fitting that we are here in the seat of European power, where the crimes against the people of Congo and the murder of their first elected leader were sanctioned. And its continued grandeur is obtained through the outright theft by a few in the name of the many of that country’s and that Continent’s diamonds, gold, gems, coltan, timber, fauna, and its best and brightest brain power. Private and national fortunes continue to be made from this legacy where, in practice, nothing precious on this planet is exempt from full exploitation.
The life and murder of Patrice Lumumba should be a ringing example – a symbol – of the kind of democracy that is meant when people who have no history of respecting democracy for others mouth even the very word. While Lumumba’s life was snuffed short, those complicit in his murder lived long ignominious lives, never called to justice.
And instead of atoning for the past by adopting a new way of living, a new way of being that respects human and earth dignity and improves the lot of others, the national splendor, that we see around us, right here in Europe and extending to their cousins across the Pond, built on crimes against humanity, genocide, murder, and theft become temples of worship for all of humankind.