Wednesday, 1 October 2008
Why Martin Luther King's opposition to Vietnam is relevant today.
Many would agree with me, in my belief that the wisdom of Dr Martin Luther King is just as relevant today, as it ever was. There are people, whose views, actions, and causes -- are always worth hearing about and studying -- here is one such person. Dr King's actions and words remain an inspiration to many people, including myself. The war in Vietnam has long been over, and Dr King is sadly no longer with us. However the life that this man lived and his beliefs about recurrent issues -- such as war, peace, the building of human relationships, and standing up for what you believe in -- these issues always need to be spoken about and acknowledged.
The war in Iraq has once again brought to light the fact of widespread public opposition to a foreign conflict. As a Christian, and as a human being, King felt morally and theologically opposed to the war. Many other people felt they could not support the war in Vietnam; for a multitude of reasons. Obviously, it led to widespread protests and resistance of other kinds.
As is attested to, in the speech above, Martin Luther King felt that he could no longer remain quiet about the war. The opposition was delivered in typical style: eloquently, passionately, and humanely. This is, perhaps, the most effective and commendable form of protest. Upon engaging in the very act of protest, Dr King was putting his reputation as a much admired public figure, on the line.
I am talking so much about King and Vietnam, because attitudes to that conflict very much echo the attitudes of some areas of the population, to the war in Iraq. There is widespread public protest to what is going on, it is misunderstood on many levels, and many don't support the troop deployment or occupation.
I believe Dr King's attitude to Vietnam was admirable. Also, it can teach us a lot about morality, in the face of war. It is possible to be opposed to something, without being hostile.
Actually, it's just about how to get along. I think it is amazing that this man can still teach us so much.