LOCATION: Walker Methodist Church, 3104 16th Ave.S, Minneapolis
Hear former Congresswoman and presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney tell the story of her three valiant attempts and final success at entering Gaza to show solidarity and provide humanitarian aid to its besieged people.
While attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, Cynthia McKinney was a passenger in the relief vessel Dignity when it was rammed by the Israeli army in international waters, December 30. The heavily damaged ship was forced to limp into a Lebanese port. In late June, McKinney and twenty other human rights activists were arrested when their boat, Spirit of Humanity, was boarded by the Israeli Navy. McKinney spent days in an Israeli prison before being released, but within days was on her way to join the Viva Palestina U.S. caravan, organized by British Member of Parliament George Galloway.
While in Gaza, Cynthia McKinney witnessed the devastation and destruction caused by “Operation Cast Lead,” a military offensive against the people of the Gaza Strip launched by Israel (with U.S-supplied weapons). After 22 days of unrelenting aerial attacks coupled with an intensive ground invasion that began on 3 January 2009, the death toll exceeded 1,400 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians including women and children. Over 5,000 more were wounded. Excessive civilian casualties were compounded by the unprecedented destruction of civilian infrastructure across the Gaza Strip including hospitals, schools, mosques, civilian homes, police stations and United Nations compounds.
Today, the siege of Gaza continues as Israel pursues an illegal policy of extreme collective punishment against the 1.5 million residents of Gaza—more than half of whom are children. Former US president Jimmy Carter called the blockade of humanitarian goods to Gaza “one of the greatest human rights crimes on Earth.”