Monday, January 15, 2007

Martin Luther King Day

When the first Gulf War broke out, it was 24/7 on the tube.
The grainy greenblack skyline with lightbursts of "precision bombing", cameramen leaning out of balcony windows in Iraq - Whoa that was a close one!, the endless speculation as to the likelihood of Saddam using chemical weapons on Israel.

UBC's CITR radio station declined to cover it at all.
I remember the announcer saying that in place of war coverage, they would be broadcasting instead the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. And so they did. The news slot would roll around and we would get another speech, recorded twenty-five or more years earlier during the Viet Nam war.

"And so we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. And so we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor."
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

They kept this up all day.
It was heart-breaking and uplifting.
It was a lot harder than watching the war on TV.
It still is.

Quotes lifted from Intrepid Liberal.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Alison. I have a copy of Beyond Vietnam and every time I listen to it I'm astounded by MLK's transendent critical analysis and prescient commentary. Two speeches below and did a full show this morning on the MLK assasination.
MLK's "Beyond Vietnam" address, exactly one year before his assassination
MLK's "I've Been To The Mountaintop" speech the night before his
assassination, and Robert F. Kennedy's addresses in response to the

Monday, January 15th, 2007
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis on April 3, 1968: "Let Us Develop a Kind of Dangerous Unselfishness"

In March of 1968, King came to Memphis to support striking African-American sanitation workers who were demanding better working conditions and facing massive resistance from white city officials. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968 -- days before he was to lead a march in Memphis. The night before he was killed he gave his "I Have Been to the Mountaintop" speech. [includes rush transcript]
Dr. Martin Luther King: "Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness. One day a man came to Jesus; and he wanted to raise some questions about some vital matters in life. At points, he wanted to trick Jesus, and show him that he knew a little more than Jesus knew, and through this, throw him off base. Now that question could have easily ended up in a philosophical and theological debate. But Jesus immediately pulled that question from mid-air, and placed it on a dangerous curve between Jerusalem and Jericho. And he talked about a certain man, who fell among thieves. You remember that a Levite and a priest passed by on the other side. They didn't stop to help him. And finally a man of another race came by. He got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy. But with him, administering first aid, and helped the man in need. Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man."

Anonymous said...

the 'illusion of race' continues....a modern concept devised to feed the power mongers in their ever going battle to maintain control. afro-americans, first nations, took king to bring so much to the states, yet i speak with some here (whites) who , despite proclaiming being anti-iraq, anti-racism etc. insist the u.s. is one of the greatest nations on earth because of allowing people like MLK to have the freedom to have done what he did.

there is, of course, no sense in that attitude and emphasizes the brain washing is deep even for many many democrats.

hawaiians don't really take MLK into much account other then an excuse for a holiday....after all, they reject being a part of the united is the kingdom of hawaii.

Rev.Paperboy said...

On MLK day, Penn Jillette, who as a contrarian and avowed militant atheist constantly makes fun of all religion, spent much of his hour-long radio show trying to read the "I have a dream speech" but neither he nor his co-host could get through more than a few lines without choking up -- these guys are seasoned anti-sentimentalist wise asses, but they were just overflowing with emotion about MLK and his speeches. It was, dare I say, heartwarming.

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