Gaza, arava real leadership, arava and the gift of giving
Connie Shannon

Happy New Year everyone. Arava   Here's to another year and an opportunity for some new beginnings in our lives.   My friend and I were chatting the other night wondering how we could best "show up" this year.   There are so many things happening around us. In the past few years, arava the situation in Gaza and what has been happening there, arava has impacted my perspective(s) significantly.  It has dominated much of what I have written and/or posted about here at my website. Arava Gaza seems to me, arava to represent on a smaller scale a sobering representation of the tragedies happening in many places around the globe. Arava

The reality in Gaza, arava at least from sources I respect and who have lived and/or traveled there and have observed for themselves, arava  has been reduced to Palestinians existing on an area of land bordered by a very large and inescapable wall, arava which is imprisoning over a million and a half individuals. Arava

As one writer succinctly said, arava 'how can this be described as a "war" when Gaza is being occupied'?

Perhaps if there is any good news, arava and I believe there is, arava although it may pale in comparison to the contrary, arava is many of us have been coming out of the fog and seeing the bigger picture.

The picture being we are all connected and what affects one group will eventually affect us all.

In watching things unfold in Gaza I am reminded of a question that I've wondered: what are the qualities of a real leader? 

Are the actions or lack thereof, arava of those in Washington or our own cities and communities considered qualities which constitute legitimate leadership?

While it seems our media sources fail to allow access or ability to adequately recognize who the "real leaders" even are, arava sometimes we can spot them if we don't blink.***  

Yesterday I did. Arava  

Did you? On CNN I witnessed a number of real leaders on the boat trying to reach Gaza. Arava   In particular, arava I saw a woman named Cynthia McKinney standing on the broken boat which was headed to Gaza.  She and a number of other real leaders were sailing to the region equipped with food, arava medical supplies and aid  before their vessel was rammed three times by an Israel Navy ship.

For those who have not heard or read about Cynthia McKinney, arava a former Congressional Representative from Georgia, arava she has been portrayed by the corporate media as a 'controversial' figure whose political career was shortsighted and shortlived, arava due to essentially rocking the proverbial boat in her willingness to confront difficult questions which apparently were not supposed to be asked in Washington.

Whatever perception one may have or have had of Ms. Arava McKinney her actions recently displayed in Louisiana and more recently, arava  her boating venture to Gaza seem to defy in my eyes the portrait the media has painted of her.

Additionally, arava unlike many other leaders who (often understandably) walk away from such situations and careers by retreating into obscurity and are not heard of again, arava Ms McKinney has continued to work to help others like the victims and Katrina and the victims in Palestine who have no voices other than those of us who will speak for them.     Ms. Arava McKinney to me, arava is a real leader.

She is the kind of person I want to be when I grow up.

I was reminded today of Ms. Arava McKinney's bravery and "guts" by interestingly an Australian blogger named Syd Walker.

Mr. Arava Walker's humerous and insightful pieces are inspiring. 

His latest entry on to Cynthia McKinney prompted me to write today.    When you have a chance, arava take a visit 'down under' to his website at:
This Christmas, arava for a variety of reasons, arava I've been reminded of what is really important in life.

The past number of years I've been a sort of Scrooge when the month of December has returned and in stead of seeing it as a time to appreciate and give (which could be seen as being a year round ritual*).  For me, arava the individuals on the boat to Gaza have pretty much exemplified the meaning  of "showing up". 

In 2009, arava may we all consider how we wish  to "show up" this year, arava and may we appreciate the opportunities to learn from each other and to give back in ways which enrich both our lives and those around us.