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MLK to O: We Must End Our Violence Abroad and At-Home

End The Wars

Image by danny.hammontree via Flickr

Ian writes: Today’s shooting in Arizona of Congresswoman Giffords is an awful reminder of why violence is not the answer to political disagreements.  Dr. King was widely criticized, including on the editorial pages of the New York Times, for broadening his speeches from only violence at home to include  violence abroad. In a famous speech, Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence, Dr. King spoke out against the Vietnam War on April 4, 1967.  Dr.  King gave 7 reasons why he opposed the war in Vietnam.  The 3rd reason goes to opposing violence abroad in order to oppose violence at home:

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

We are again engaging in wars abroad.  In Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  As in 1967, we must end those wars and bring our troops home, so we can focus on ending violence here.


One Response

  1. the Media is characterizing the shooter, Jared Loughner, as a .. Left-wing critic of “centrist” (i.e., Conservative) Democrats (Congresswoman Giffords was part of the self-described Bloo Dawg org). this script dovetails nicely with outgoing Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ tirade against .. Left-wing critics of President Obama: “anybody who compares the President’s policies with those of George W. Bush has obviously ingested a contaminated batch of moon rocks. They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich were President.” (for the record, i would).

    William Burroughs got a lot of mileage exploring the assassin mythos. here’s a gem from 1970:

    .. overpowered by consular guards and turned over to the police the assassin admitted to being a member of the dreaded “Fly Tox Movement” an extremist sect who held hashish in horror getting their kicks largely from vitamin deficiency a preparation like that you can get on his line sweet and clear “Can you hear me Homer? Of course you can. I’m telling you what you have to do Homer. We will protect you Homer. Flying saucers will be waiting after you have done our bidding.”

    Guns? well, down the road a piece, there was the shooting of 32 at Virginia Tech by Mark David Cho back in ’07. guns bad, right? well, maybe. less than two years later *another* Tech student, Haiyang Zhu, sawed off the head of a young woman with a kitchen knife (at an on campus eatery, no less, while dozens watched, trying to figure out if it was “real”).

    .. in any case, whether the gunman is presented as a fire-breathing Leftist radical or a Glenn Beck-infected Tea Partier, the *message* is the same: all anti-Statist types – regardless of their position on the political spectrum – are potential terrorists. will this event be another victory for the Establishment Narrative?

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