Monday, January 15, 2007

Happy Birthday, Martin

The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, the U.S. celebrates a birthday (sort of). Had he lived, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been 78 today.

As you may know, he was 39 when he was assassinated. I was four at the time and hardly aware of his actions or his courage.

Over the years, of course, I've learned about the age he lived in and the way he helped reshape justice in this country. I've learned what a remarkable man--and spirit--he was. He made a difference in this world and his sacrifice helped spur genuine change.

I have always been inspired by his words and his actions. One of my favorite quotes is, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

I find myself remembering these words as I read news accounts reporting:

  • more botched executions in Iraq,

  • genocide in Darfur and how the world at large is generally ignoring it,

  • continued turmoil elsewhere in Africa,

  • starvation, torture, and rebellion in Sri Lanka,

  • the intention of our Commander-In-Chief to send even more soldiers into Iraq in spite of clear and repeated warnings against such action from experienced military commanders, experienced diplomats, and perhaps much of the rest of the world.

    (As I recently said to JP, "Welcome to the new Iraq Strategy; it's like the old Iraq Strategy, only Truthier.")

As in 1968, there is much injustice in our world. To honor the life and legacy of the man who's birthday we celebrate today, I close with one final quote of his.

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.


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