It is sadly ironic that just as we’re commemorating the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and the March on Washington, a milestone event and triumph of non-violent protest, President Obama is about to add to his record as the Nobel Peace price winner who has bombed the most countries.
Sadly ironic, and disturbing. I do not presume to speak for Dr. King, or know what he would say. But his life and work had a profound impact on all Americans even those like me who grew up in a “all-white” society.
His devotion to non-violent protest, even in the face of unspeakable violence against him and his followers, helped form the conscience of an entire generation, white and black.
In his later years, Dr. King poke eloquently against war, specifically the war in Viet Nam. He lamented that American had become a of “guided missiles and misguided men.”
Dr. King believed that evil should always be opposed, and criticized those who were silent in the face of injustice. He said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” But he believed humanity must evolve from solving all conflicts with aggression, revenge and retaliation.
“Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows,” he said.
Like his mentor, Mahatma Gandhi, believed non-violence was the answer. No, I will not presume to know what Dr. King would say about bombing Syria. But I have read his words, and witnessed his example, and so can say with certainty what they mean to me.
“It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it,” Dr. King said.
“The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.