Monday, January 15, 2007

MLK Remembered

This year Coretta King is with her late husband. The King holiday will take on new meaning as the next generation tends the flame. I pray they can persevere. The non-violent approach to conflict resolution is like watching a tree grow. The "Tyrone Brooks" link is no longer active in my last year's post, but be sure to visit the other one.

I may post a few links today as I come across them. Already I have seen two references to Letter from a Birmingham Jail. If the reader has not already done so, I recommend reading it. If you don't recall what it says, then read it again.

The Fat Lady Sings is nostalgic.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
He freed a lot of people,
But it seems the good die young,
I just looked around and he's gone.

Didn't you love the things they stood for?
Didn't they try to find some good for you and me?
And we'll be free.
Someday soon, it's gonna be one day.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Bobby?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
I thought I saw him walkin' up over the hill,
With Abraham, Martin and John.

The first headline I heard on the radio this morning reported the hanging in Iraq of Saddam Hussein's half-brother along with another convicted man from the same group of defendants. Not having made the coffee yet I was unprepared when the second sentence of the story said the hanging made the man's head come off. Damn. That's tough to hear first thing in the morning. All I could think as the coffee perked was So this is our ally, the client state in Mesopotamia that is to be a model of civilization and representative government in the region, the society to which several thousands more of our children are going to....what?....Serve their country?

Serving their country?

I'm not connecting the dots yet. Perhaps it will all come clear later. Those of us who opposed this war from the jump take no pleasure in saying "I told you so." At least some of us don't. I don't. All I can hope for is that once again we might learn that non-violence may not be a perfect remedy but war is not a better alternative.

Somewhere between non-violence and war there is a range of available resources to conflict-resolution that includes more assertive diplomacy that doesn't send ambiguous signals to tyrants like Saddam, serious targeted economic sanctions not stained with the corruption endemic to the oil-for-food program that preceded the first Gulf War, and a distinction between annihilation and police actions -- a subtle difference alien to most military thinking and training. When I heard the words "Hearts and Minds" I was encouraged, but when I heard "Shock and Awe" I was dismayed.

So what has this war to do with the King Holiday? If you cannot answer that question you need to do more homework. Last year at this time I put together a personal remembrance of the Sixties where the reader can find a link to the connection King made between what he was preaching and another war with many of the same features as the one now being waged. I have nothing more to add.

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