Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wrapping up Black History Month

I'd like to dedicate this post to Black History month. I've been giving lots of thought to non-violence, and really hung up on figuring out a way for us to stop the wars & violence this country can't seem to stop.

This video montage combines the U-2 song *In the name of Love*, with clips of the civil rights movement.
Dr. King insisted that the movement be strictly non-violent, in a situation that was ripe for violence.
Police clubbed people, brought out attack dogs, used high powered fire hoses to drive back marches & protests.
They had every right to respond violently, as they were provoked beyond reason.
But at his insistence, they remained peaceful, and by so doing, prevented additional & unnecessary deaths, and the movement breaking down into a violent failure.
The Civil Rights movement did move forward. Even though Dr. King was shot and killed, the taking of his life only made his words and actions, his life's work even stronger.
So as we move forward in the 21st century, I certainly hope we never look back at the things Dr. Martin Luther King jr. did as "something of the past", as a person who headed up a movement that practiced non-violence and the teachings of Gandhi (his mentor), as some historic relic. He did not fight that fight for us to become complacent- to allow discrimination, to turn away from injustice, to accept violence... even in foreign countries.
We spent so many years listening to the former president mention the talking points.... Enemies. Terrorists. Fear.
You don't get to a place of understanding or forge diplomatic resolutions by widening divisions. He knew back in the day, that wars and violence were something that gained profit for the military industrial complex. They are just another form of exploitation- because it is the poor and disadvantaged people fighting & dying in those wars. He even said we'd be fighting more & more wars globally unless we recognized the problem, and solved issues in a sane way.

I don't mean to be trite in just mentioning honor to the most heroic and well known member of the black community.
I just admire him so much for the strength and fortitude he had to endure everything it took to open the door to civil rights.
But I also honor the unsung heros. Those who just did & continue to do those everyday acts of kindness and justice, and refuse to accept 21st century prejudice and hatred. Just because you don't make it into the history books, does not mean your contributions are not worthwhile or help make changes, keep the Dream alive - not the nightmare.

Be it against the LBGT community & the denial of the basic right of marriage, or the discrimination that allows us to let the government practice war as terrorism in other countries. MLK gave us an excellent start, but our work is not done. His gift to us was enlightenment- a movement for us to keep alive.

I once heard King's daughter, Yolanda speak. she said "Don't wait around for a leader, be one."


Spadoman said...

WE are in desperate need of leaders like King. A few speakers come to mind, Howard Zinn, Kucinich perhaps, but no leadership. Government is so big they can ride over the people as the previous administration has already shown us. Even the Obama administration is changing its tune as far as war goes with increases of the number of troops to Afghanistan and a weaker stance on withdrawal in Iraq.

I admit I'm not smart enough to lead. I don't know how to stop war and the war machine of the USA and the world. Prayers and preaching isn't enough. If the leaders are out there, media has succeeded in making sure they are not heard on a large scale. When Dylan sang the somgs that made sense of the stupidity of war in the 60's and 70's, they were played on the radio. We don't get to hear Emma's Revolution or Sara Thompson or the reggae artists that speak of peace and an end to war.

Every month should be Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. month. Thank you for honoring his legacy.


Christopher said...

Great post, Fran.

I'm sure you know this but maybe some of your readers don't.

Coretta Scott King, always linked LGBT rights to African American civil rights. She basically said it was the same struggle.

They, Martin and Coretta, were good people. They 'got it.'

Fran said...

Spado wrote 'Even the Obama administration is changing its tune as far as war goes with increases of the number of troops to Afghanistan and a weaker stance on withdrawal in Iraq.'

You saw the John Lennon clip on DK's blog-- he said you can;t blame the government for wars, we put those people in office, WE ALLOW IT.

There is a huge difference in" we are withdrawing from the (6 years of) war in Iraq" , and "we will be leaving $30-50,000 troops there."

It is wrong on so many levels.

• That does not fulfill the campaign promise
• The troops have already done too many tours of duty. Even if the occupation is *winding down*, just being there puts them in harms way.
• The people of Iraq want the U.S. military out of their country.
• We can not afford it. $600 billion already spent... we NEED the cash to fix our country.
• What does it cost to keep 50,000 troops deployed?

King nailed it when he said "Our country continues year after year spending more money on military defense, than on programs of social uplift, is approaching spiritual death- this madness must cease."

The U.S. IS the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.

It is under OUR watch. We've just come to accept it
as a way of life. Why are we having wars, and is it not obvious that it is a huge portion of our financial woes?

We have got to stop accepting it as status quo.
We have got to organize & unite to demand better.

Bush proved to be a lost cause, but Obama has not even been in office 100 days. We really need to step up & launch a massive campaign to call him on this.

Even if we spent all that money for humanitarian aid in Iraq & Afghanistan, I'd rather we did that than continue on the path of war.

Christopher~ It IS the same struggle and it is hard to witness the prejudice & lack of civil rights in the 21st century.