Time magazine asked a wide range of public figures to “share what they’re grateful for” this Thanksgiving, including whistle-blower Pvt. Chelsea Manning. Writing from a prison cell in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she is carrying out her 35-year sentence, Manning expresses her gratitude for truth-seekers who do not rest until it is revealed.
In a poignant and powerful few paragraphs, Manning offers a list of a few great people who sacrificed themselves for truth—Harvey Milk and Martin Luther King Jr. among others—and for the fact that so many individuals, most of whom go unnoticed and “unsung,” decide to challenge society and ask the questions that open our eyes, despite the difficulties they face. Manning forms an integral part of this list as she followed in the footsteps of those she is grateful for by releasing hundreds of thousands of documents through WikiLeaks that have changed the way we understand our sociopolitical reality. Her heroic acts are something we should all be thankful for and not just on Thanksgiving.
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi
I’m usually hesitant to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. After all, the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony systematically terrorized and slaughtered the very same Pequot tribe that assisted the first English refugees to arrive at Plymouth Rock. So, perhaps ironically, I’m thankful that I know that, and I’m also thankful that there are people who seek out, and usually find, such truths. I’m thankful for people who, even surrounded by millions of Americans eating turkey during regularly scheduled commercial breaks in the Green Bay and Detroit football game; who, despite having been taught, often as early as five and six years old, that the “helpful natives” selflessly assisted the “poor helpless Pilgrims” and lived happily ever after, dare to ask probing, even dangerous, questions.
Such people are often nameless and humble, yet no less courageous. Whether carpenters of welders; retail clerks or bank managers; artists or lawyers, they dare to ask tough questions, and seek out the truth, even when the answers they find might not be easy to live with.
I’m also grateful for having social and human justice pioneers who lead through action, and by example, as opposed to directing or commanding other people to take action. Often, the achievements of such people transcend political, cultural, and generational boundaries. Unfortunately, such remarkable people often risk their reputations, their livelihood, and, all too often, even their lives.
To read our Truthdigger of the Week featuring Pvt. Chelsea Manning, click here.
(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)