How to Respond to the Christmas Day Attempted Bombing: Advice From Martin Luther King, Jr.
Next week we will begin the celebration of the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. Many will focus on King as a man of pace and his I have a dream speech. While unquestionably, he was a strong and unequivocal advocate of peace, he was at the same time a fierce critic of United States foreign policy, its war machine and its use and spread of violence. The media and established order, however, will whitewash King and present to us some the image and message of King struck in the 1960s with no real relevance and instruction for today. To the contrary, Marin Luther King’s message is needed and as relevant and informative today as it was in the decade of the 1960s.
Given the hysterical around the attempted bombing on Christmas by alleged All Qaeda operative, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and the drum beat of retaliation and war that the incident has prompted, we offer a response to President Obama, Joe Lieberman and Time by Martin Luther King in his own words.
President Obama: We will use every element of our national power” to combat militants who threaten the United States “whether they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia or anywhere.
King: I refuse to accept the cynical nation that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation.
Time Magazine: The Pentagon is drawing up urgent plans for increased military co-operation with Yemen, including possible retaliatory strikes against al-Qaeda targets, according to US officials engaged in a high-stakes bid to neutralise Islamist militants without enraging the Arab world.
King: If we assume that life is worth living and that man has a right to survival, then we must find an alternative to war. In a day when vehicles hurtle through outer space and guided ballistic missiles carve highways of death through the stratosphere can claim victory in war.
Senator Joe Lieberman: Iraq was yesterday’s war, Afghanistan is today’s war. If we don’t act preemptively, Yemen will be tomorrow’s war.
King: The past is prophetic in that it assets loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving our peaceful tomorrows. One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. How much longer must we play at deadly war games before we heed the plaintive pleas of the unnumbered dead and maime