Friday, May 30, 2008

Iraq and Vietnam - Some Things Never Change

I am endeavoring to learn more about the non-violent resistence teachings of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mohatma Gandhi. Today I was listening to a recording of a speech given by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I was astonished to hear some of the statements that Dr. King made regarding Vietnam. The statements he made were earily relevant to our current situation in Iraq.

I believe that the similar nature of these two wars (and war in general) is worth thinking about for any person who cares about the future of the human race on planet earth.

Here are some of the quotes I took from Dr. King:

"We are a society gone mad on war, drawing men, skills and money like a destructive, sucking tube."

"We are using 'massive doses of violence' to attempt to solve our problems."

"It should be incandescently clear that noone with any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes entirely poisoned, part of the autopsy must read.... VIETNAM. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the hopes of men the world over."

When explaining why he needed to speak out against the Vietnam war he said the time had come to "Break the betrayal of my own silences."

"We again fell victim to the deadly western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long."

Dr. King quoted one of the Buddhist leaders of the day as saying, "Each day the war goes on the hatred increases, in the hearts of the Vietnamese, and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their freinds into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they aer incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never agian be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism."

"Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and Non Violence, when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of our selves. For from his view, we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition. If we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition."

*********************end of quotes*********

All of these statements contain great wisdom and truth for the moment in which we find ourselves. When we don't learn our lessons, history repeats itself. That is the order of the universe. What we do not learn from in history, we are doomed to repeat.

Is it about time to learn some lessons about the futility of violence as a means of attempting to solve our problems as people. Violence has never brought peace and it never will.

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