What is going on out there with those who have power? Life is ultimately between those that have power and those that have better ideas.
Bulletins wrote about three impact women awhile back. One of them was Brooksley Born, an accomplished lawyer who took on the most powerful men in the United States. Now, a portrait of Amy Goodman, who has real demonstrated courage around the world, is presented for your consideration.
Would you risk your life or jailing to record and speak out against injustice?
Several weeks ago, I traveled to a local theater to hear Amy Goodman speak. Amy is the founder of Democracy Now! and a broadcast journalist. Being an apparent law-breaker, I ignored the reserved seating sign to sit in the front row to get a good look at this amazing woman. It is a good thing I did because Amy is a diminutive woman. Not so, her courage.
Almost twenty years ago, Amy Goodman was reporting on the rebellion in East Timor with journalist Allan Nairn. But, the story goes back even further than that. In reality, Ms. Goodman was a witness to the sequela of one of the many sad chapters in United States Foreign Policy -- The absence of following The Rule of Law. Further, she is a witness to the absence of the right of the people of the U.S. to be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches and seizures. (The Bill of Rights #4)
It starts with a visit by President Ford and Henry Kissinger to Indonesia in 1975. Indonesian President Suharto wanted to know if we would object to his using our weapons to invade East Timor. East Timor had just achieved independence from Portugal. The catch was that our weapons could, by treaty, only be used for defensive purposes. Not to worry, Kissinger and Ford winked an O.K. to President Suharto even though it is documented that Kissinger’s actions were squarely against United States law and he knew it.
Fifteen years and 200,000 killed Timorese later, Amy was there reporting on a massacre at Santa Cruz cemetery in East Timor. Instead of holding to the side and reporting from a safe distance, Amy and her journalist companion inserted themselves in front of the Timorese and between the Indonesian soldiers hoping they, as foreign journalists could shield the citizens from any fireworks of the Indonesian military. It didn’t work. The soldiers bypassed them and did not leave a Timorese citizen standing. Amy and Allan experienced the damage a rifle butt could do on one’s skull. By the way, the United States continued to supply Indonesia with weapons, illegally, during the decade and a half while they terrorized the Timorese citizenry.
Back in America
At the 2008 Republican National Convention, some staffers at Democracy Now! were arrested while they were trying to report on an anti-war protest outside the Republican complex. Amy went there to find out what happened only to be arrested herself on lame, made-up charges. Video footage shows Ms. Goodman politely and with courtesy attempting to find out what happened to her colleagues.
A week after her personal appearance in my hometown where I had that front row seat, Ms. Goodman was heading towards Vancouver B.C. for another personal appearance when she was again detained, this time, at a border crossing. Apparently, the Canadian authorities are concerned about dissent and their hosting of the Winter Olympics next year and decided that Ms. Goodman was too active not to be fomenting trouble for that event.
Violations of The Rule of Law go full circle and were visited on Ms. Goodman’s head: -- at a far off country twenty years ago, at the 2008 Republican Convention and through Portland, Oregon to Canada. If a credentialed reporter cannot be free from unreasonable search and seizure, cannot be secure in her person, house, papers and effects, then what hope does the ordinary citizen have? Yet Ms. Goodman trucks on…………an impact woman with eminent courage.