World Can't Wait, Won't Wait, Isn't Waiting
Cynthia McKinney Speech
Kuala Lumpur Peace Conference
-- - It is among the greatest pleasures
of my life to have been invited to participate in
this Conference dedicated to peace. I look
forward to joining the international community of
activists dedicated to change based on the
principles of dignity, justice,
self-determination, and peace for all the peoples
of the world.
Everyone in this room and every participant in
this Conference is here because we want peace.
Peace and justice.
And these principles of peace and dignity,
justice and self-determination were embodied in
the policies pursued by our host, The Honorable
Tun Mahathir, while he was Prime Minister of
Malaysia. In fact, it was Tun Mahathir who put
Malaysia on the map for me when he stood up to
the world's economic powers and refused to cash
their check of dependency. Instead, Tun Mahathir
returned their check and said out loud for the
entire world to hear that Malaysia would chart
its own course. As a result of that singular act
of pride, self-determination, confidence, and
independence, Malaysia boasts a strong economy
and a legacy of uncommon independence.
But, Tun Mahathir has also learned that such
independent thinking, and confidence in the
people comes at a personal price. For while his
message ricocheted around the world and struck
me, an African American woman steeped in the Old
Confederate South of the United States, the
people we fight for are rarely in a position to
reward such acts of courage. Yet the powers that
be always seem to be able to exact their
punishment. So oftentimes, where there is
courage, truth, compassion, belief in the people,
and a solid sense of right and wrong, there is
also aloneness, vulnerability, or deep
But instead of abandoning the struggle, we come
together at this important Conference to commune
with each other, learn from each other, give love
and support to each other, recharge our
batteries, and continue our work on behalf of
what is right in a world currently filled with so
Not too long ago, I was asked by Debra Sweet to
endorse the activities of the American
peace-seeking organization named World Can't
Wait. They advocate the impeachment of George
Bush and other Members of his Administration
because in their view, the World Can't Wait.
I agree with them.
And after having been defeated for the second
time by an unsupportive Democratic Party and
Republican voters who crossed over and voted in
the Democratic Primary for my opponent, and
knowing that George Bush had earned impeachment,
I decided that I would do it if no one else
would. So, on my last day in Congress, after 12
years of service to my people and my country, I
offered Articles of Impeachment against President
Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Secretary of
Impeachment is America's roadmap back to dignity.
Impeachment is the Constitutional way to handle
an Administration that has, from the outset,
violated so many tenets of the U.S. Constitution.
It is also a way of saying "No, we do not
condone what has been done in our name, and we
are not complicit."
The first time I felt the sting of Republican
retribution and Democratic Party indifference was
in 2002 when I questioned the Administration's
explanation of what happened on September 11th,
2001. I am the Member of Congress who asked the
simple question, "What did the Bush
Administration know and when did it know it,
about the tragic events of September 11th."
After I was defeated in 2002, I traveled all over
my country supporting the anti-war movement and
informing the American people of the lies of the
The film "American Blackout" tells the
whole story of how Republicans stole two
Presidential elections and of how Republicans
stole two elections from me.
Well, as it turns out, The World Didn't Wait. And
activists in the rest of the world are the people
now practicing the art of effective resistance.
I guess it started in 1959 with Cuba. However,
Cuba is no longer alone in its attempt to chart
its own course.
In 1998, Venezuelans elected Hugo Chavez who has
used oil profits to set up healthcare for all,
arts programs for the children, and subsidized
education, including free universities.
In 2001, the people of Cote d'Ivoire rejected
dictatorship and up to today, continue to try and
chart an independent course despite huge big
power interference due to offshore oil reputed to
be of the quality of Nigeria's.
In 2002, Brazilians sent shockwaves throughout
the Americas by electing the Workers' Party Lula
to become their head of state.
In 2003 Argentina elected Kirchner, 2004, Spain
elected Zapatero, and India rejected the BJP
politics of division. In 2005, Bolivia elected
Morales; 2006, Bachelet in Chile, Correa in
Ecuador, Ortega in Nicaragua were all elected,
with one agendato provide prosperity,
independence, justice, and peaceto the
people that they represent.
And let us not forget the valiant people of Haiti
who twice have had their elected President,
Aristide, removed from office by means of U.S.
intrigue. But the Haitian people took to the
streets and demanded that their votes be counted
and that the election not be stolen as the U.S.
opposed the election of Aristide's friend and
ally, Rene Preval.
Today, Preval is the President of Haiti because
the Haitian people took every step within their
means to ensure that their votes were counted and
that their democracy was respected.
Against tremendous odds, people who have far less
than most Americans havein terms at least
of material goodsstood up and took their
fates in their hands. They did what Mario Savio
asked Americans to do in the 1960s. They put
their bodies against the levers and the gears and
the wheels of the machine and they said to the
owners if you don't stop it, we will. And stop
it, they did. The people of these countries
stopped the machine. And I know that Americans
can do it, too.
On the day before he was murdered, in his
less-celebrated "I've Been to the
Mountaintop" speech, Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr. said that he is happy to be living in the
second half of the 20th Century because something
is happening in our world. He said, "The
masses of people are rising up. And wherever they
are assembled . . . whether in Johannesburg,
Nairobi, Accra, or New York City, the cry is
always the same: "We want to be free."
Well, I can stand here nearly 40 years later and
say that at the dawn of the 21st Century,
"something is happening in our world!"
The world's marginalized, exploited, and
dispossessed are taking center stage because they
have decided to defy imperial domination. They
are saying that resource wars that hurt the
masses and benefit the few are illegal, immoral,
and just plain wrong.
If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were with us
today, I think he would be proud of the people
around the world who are standing up for
themselves. But would he be proud of American
I'm sure Dr. King would wonder why the American
people have failed to change their own government
when it's so very possible to do, notwithstanding
the stolen elections.
What is clear is that the world isn't waiting for
the people of the United States to act. But what
the world is showing us, is that if we, in the
United States, fail to act, we will be the ones
left far behind.
Republicans stole the 2000 Presidential election.
Then, on September 11th a grave tragedy befell
our country. We, the American people, were
promised a white paper by Colin Powell stating
what happened, how it happened, and who did it.
We have yet to receive such a white paper, Osama
bin Laden is on the FBI website, but not for
September 11th! And yet, the American people
continue to rely on the truthfulness of the
Administration for explanations.
Hot on the heels of September 11th, however, the
Administration pushed through a series of
draconian laws that usurp the United States
Constitution and the civil liberties embodied in
the Bill of Rights that make us "free,"
the ostensible cause of the September 11th
attacks in the first place, according to the
Then, the Administration seized the September
11th tragedy to invade and occupy Iraq while
lying to the American people and the global
community about why this action was necessary.
A campaign of terror ensued at home with the U.S.
government targeting the Muslim community and
actually rounding up innocent, law-abiding
residents for interrogations. Those of all
faiths, races, and ethnicities who dissented from
the Administration's policies found themselves
targeted for surveillance and worse. Medical
records, bank records, telephone conversations,
e-mails, regular mail, and more, all became
subject to government seizure. Even church
sermons, environmentalists, and peace groups were
monitored. The Administration spied on the
American people, breaking U.S. law, and lied to
them about it.
The Administration stole the 2004 Presidential
election, and immediately set the stage for
attacks on other countries it didn't like. It
told us to expect war for the next generation and
targeted 60 countries around the world. It has
now initiated gunboat diplomacy against Iran, is
saber rattling against Syria, taunting North
Korea, and has actually dropped bombs on the
poor, defenseless people of Somalia. Ethiopia, a
country with a proud heritage of never having
succumbed to any colonial power is now firmly a
Bush vassal, part of the Administration's war
machine against fellow Africans.
Interestingly, none of what I've said is a secret
in the U.S.
When Bobby Kennedy was asked about a U.S.
military strike on Cuba during the Cuban Missile
Crisis, his response was that it was unseemly for
a country the size of the United States to use
military force against a small country like Cuba.
Bobby Kennedy, would have been President of the
United States had he not been murdered by
assassin's bullets. And I'm told that Bobby
Kennedy was considering Dr. King to be his Vice
President, but the assassins got Dr. King, too.
Who could explain today's U.S. behavior to Bobby
Kennedy or Dr. King? How do we maintain any
dignity or pride or responsibility to our
children and to the world's children when we fail
to exercise every tool available to us to stop
the Bush Administration and for that matter, any
future Administration that would do this in our
I am pleased to announce that I have signed the
online petition pledging not to vote for any
candidate who has voted in the past or who will
vote this year to fund the war.
The petition can be found at
The work being done here in Malaysia is necessary
and we must conduct our lives in such a way as to
mean it when we say "No War!"
Each one of us, individually, has no choice but
to become the leader we are looking for.
Otherwise, we will continue to get what we've
always been given: handpicked leaders who don't
One way for the American people to demand
accountability from their leaders and a return to
respectability is to impeach the Bush
Administration. However, the complicity of both
major U.S. parties in this intensifying debacle
is clear now that the Democrats have taken
impeachment "off the table." And if the
Democratic Congress, that owes its majority
status to antiwar voters, votes to fund the war,
then our mission will become very clear.
We will have to change the structure of U.S.
politics because changing the people, clearly,
This is quite possible with the right set of
circumstances. And the current elected leadership
is helping to create those circumstances.
When the Presidential election was stolen in
Mexico, defenders of democracy shut Mexico City
down for weeks until the unrightful, new Mexican
President was sworn in. After that, they formed a
"parallel" government. And if Mexican
defenders of democracy can do it, certainly
American defenders of democracy can do it, too.
For us, nothing less than the soul of our country
is at stake. But for the world, nothing less than
the fate of mankind is at stake.
Because of the work of the Perdana Global Peace
Organisation, Kuala Lumpur has become the
"peace capital" of the world. And
because of this Conference that should be taken
to every Continent Kuala Lumpur will shine the
light of peace on the world by showing us the
horrors of war.
Thank you, Tun Mahathir, for hosting this
Conference for peace. Thank you Tun Mahathir, for
giving us the courage to go forth, especially in
the United States, and build an uncompromised
movement for dignity and justice, based on peace
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