Had it not been for twitter, I doubt that I would even have been aware that Cynthia McKinney was held hostage in Israel after attempting to deliver aid and supplies to the Palestinians. There has been a resounding silence on this issue as CNN, MSNBC and other mainstream media sources rush to give us the latest news on the death of Michael Jackson.
Jackson was truly an iconic figure, however the man is dead and Cynthia is alive. His memorial is receiving massive coverage and the announcement that his body would be present was considered breaking news. Even Palin’s resignation has garnered more media and internet attention. Though McKinney is safely back on US soil, her wellbeing during her ordeal was of little concern.
As celebrities and media personnel rush to speak about the ways in which Michael Jackson transcended race, the erasure of the plight of McKinney proves that race and gender continue to divide the country.
Her mission was righteous and her intentions good, yet it matters not because the world places very little value on the bodies of Black women. "If Israel fears for its security because Gaza's children have crayons then not only has Israel lost its last shred of legitimacy, but Israel must be declared a failed state," McKinney said.
Despite her accomplishments McKinney cannot escape the legacy of her mothers womb. The media has gone to great lengths to paint her as radical, wild and untameable. One may not always agree with her methods or her arguments, but the reduction of her to an almost animal like caricature over the course of years allowed her detainment to be deemed unimportant.
Imagine if a white male politician had been held captive by a foreign country. Regardless of what we considered about the impetus for the detainment, his value would be enough for this to be heavily reported in the media. Israel may be considered a friendly state, however the welfare of an American citizen should take precedence in this situation. There was not even been a strongly worded statement on her behalf demanding her release.
Her action was a response to Obama call to action on behalf of the Palestinian people and his silence was her reward.
"State Department and White House officials have not effected our release or taken a strong public stance to condemn the illegal actions of the Israeli Navy of enforcing a blockade of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians of Gaza, a blockade that has been condemned by President Obama," McKinney said in a statement posted on the Green Party's Web site last week.
McKinney is a Black woman and therefore the desire to identify with her is minimal. No matter how successful a person of color becomes, few white people would change places with them because a Black identity is still considered less than. People can congratulate themselves on being able to recognize the talent or skill of a person like Michael Jackson or Queen Latifah but when it comes right down to it; if our safety, health or happiness is an issue, it is irrelevant because we are all considered disposable bodies.