“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.
Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that.
The time is always right to do what is right.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Obama follows the advice of Kissinger, Nunn, Schultz, Reagan, Matlock, Gorbachev, Kennedy, et al ad infinitum and reduces the role of nuclear weapons in foreign policy, with the goal and vision of complete abolition and disarmament. This is a very very very positive step in the right direction, and will help future efforts to negotiate in the common interest of all countries and all people to put the nuclear genie back in the bottle and achieve total elimination of nuclear weapons, “the scourge of humanity” as described by Jack Matlock, former Reagan ambassador to the Soviet Union. I really don’t understand arguments against nuclear abolition and disarmament. By changing the Nuclear policy of the United States, along with signing the new START treaty with Russia, the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit next week as well as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Review Conference in May are strengthened and it will be easier to work toward the shared goal and vision of a world free from the danger and threat of nuclear weapons, that President Obama articulated last year in Prague.
“Finally, this day demonstrates the determination of the United States and Russia — the two nations that hold over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons — to pursue responsible global leadership. Together, we are keeping our commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which must be the foundation for global non-proliferation.
While the New START treaty is an important first step forward, it is just one step on a longer journey. As I said last year in Prague, this treaty will set the stage for further cuts. And going forward, we hope to pursue discussions with Russia on reducing both our strategic and tactical weapons, including non-deployed weapons.
President Medvedev and I have also agreed to expand our discussions on missile defense. This will include regular exchanges of information about our threat assessments, as well as the completion of a joint assessment of emerging ballistic missiles. And as these assessments are completed, I look forward to launching a serious dialogue about Russian-American cooperation on missile defense.
But nuclear weapons are not simply an issue for the United States and Russia — they threaten the common security of all nations. A nuclear weapon in the hands of a terrorist is a danger to people everywhere — from Moscow to New York; from the cities of Europe to South Asia. So next week, 47 nations will come together in Washington to discuss concrete steps that can be taken to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years.
And the spread of nuclear weapons to more states is also an unacceptable risk to global security — raising the specter of arms races from the Middle East to East Asia. Earlier this week, the United States formally changed our policy to make it clear that those [non]-nuclear weapons states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and their non-proliferation obligations will not be threatened by America’s nuclear arsenal. This demonstrates, once more, America’s commitment to the NPT as a cornerstone of our security strategy. Those nations that follow the rules will find greater security and opportunity. Those nations that refuse to meet their obligations will be isolated, and denied the opportunity that comes with international recognition.
That includes accountability for those that break the rules — otherwise the NPT is just words on a page. That’s why the United States and Russia are part of a coalition of nations insisting that the Islamic Republic of Iran face consequences, because they have continually failed to meet their obligations. We are working together at the United Nations Security Council to pass strong sanctions on Iran. And we will not tolerate actions that flout the NPT, risk an arms race in a vital region, and threaten the credibility of the international community and our collective security.
While these issues are a top priority, they are only one part of the U.S.-Russia relationship. Today, I again expressed my deepest condolences for the terrible loss of Russian life in recent terrorist attacks, and we will remain steadfast partners in combating violent extremism. We also discussed the potential to expand our cooperation on behalf of economic growth, trade and investment, as well as technological innovation, and I look forward to discussing these issues further when President Medvedev visits the United States later this year, because there is much we can do on behalf of our security and prosperity if we continue to work together.
When one surveys the many challenges that we face around the world, it’s easy to grow complacent, or to abandon the notion that progress can be shared. But I want to repeat what I said last year in Prague: When nations and peoples allow themselves to be defined by their differences, the gulf between them widens. When we fail to pursue peace, then it stays forever beyond our grasp.”
President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in Prague. The treaty commits the U.S. and Russia to reduce the number of strategic nuclear warheads by one-third and decrease the number of missiles, bombers, and submarines carrying them by more than one-half. Following the signing, the two leaders took questions from reporters. President Obama in his comments said, “It sends a signal around the world that the United States and Russia are prepared to once again take leadership.”
Verification and Transparency: The Treaty has a verification regime that combines the appropriate elements of the 1991 START Treaty with new elements tailored to the limitations of the Treaty. Measures under the Treaty include on-site inspections and exhibitions, data exchanges and notifications related to strategic offensive arms and facilities covered by the Treaty, and provisions to facilitate the use of national technical means for treaty monitoring. To increase confidence and transparency, the Treaty also provides for the exchange of telemetry.
Soon the treaty will go to the Senate, where it must receive support from two-thirds of the chamber before it can take effect.
Saying that “the pursuit of peace and calm and cooperation among nations is the work of both leaders and peoples in the 21st century” and that “we must be as persistent and passionate in our pursuit of progress as any who would stand in our way,” President Barack Obama just joined Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in signing a new arms control deal that cuts both their nations’ nuclear arsenals by about one-third.
“We hope humanity will reach the moment when there is no need for nuclear weapons, when there is peace and calm in the world,” Arkady Brish, father of Soviet A-bomb supporting Obama’s efforts toward global nuclear disarmament and abolition
“I fully support Obama’s proposal to cut nuclear weapons. This needs to be done because it reduces the risk of nuclear war,” Arkady Brish, 92, said when asked if he backed Obama’s call for a world free of atomic weapons.
“We hope humanity will reach the moment when there is no need for nuclear weapons, when there is peace and calm in the world,” he told reporters at a Moscow atomic research institute in a rare public appearance.
Foreign journalists were given an opportunity to speak with Brish during a Kremlin-organized tour of two nuclear-related sites ahead of the signing Thursday of a new US-Russia nuclear disarmament treaty.
The point is to have a phased and verifiable reducing of arms by all nuclear powers as part of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty with the ultimate goal of complete global nuclear abolition and disarmament, which makes us much much much safer in the context of rogue states such as Iran and North Korea.
Joseph Cirincione’s analysis: My opinion of Reagan has changed dramatically recently, probably like many other people. Joe Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund talks about Reagan’s work toward global nuclear disarmament and abolition on C-SPAN, and it is definitely worth your time, if you have time. Here’s the link:
Global Zero leaders reacted to the President Obama’s signing of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in Prague earlier in the day and responded to reporter’s questions. The group supports the elimination of nuclear weapons. They also discussed President Obama’s upcoming April 12-13, 2010, Nuclear Security Summit. Film producer Lawrence Bender showed a clip of his new documentary film on nuclear danger, Countdown to Zero.
It is interesting that a broad range of foreign policy experts and former ambassadors, politicians, and public figures including Colin Powell, George Schultz, Sam Nunn, Henry Kissinger (!), Nuclear Threat Initiative, Jack Matlock (former Reagan ambassador to Soviet Union), and many many many others, including about eighty percent of Americans and thousands of mayors across the world and even Reagan himself supported the goal and vision of complete global nuclear abolition and disarmament. So, for all the people that are against the promise and possibility of nuclear disarmament, I ask you, “why?” Why oppose the majority of people of the world? Why oppose Reagan, the patron saint of conservatives?
According to Matlock, Putin offered to help the United States deal with terrorism before 9/11 happened, but Bush essentially ignored the offer of support from the Russians. The Russians are our friends, not our adversaries.
As Reagan himself quoted many times from the Russian proverb, “Trust, but verify . . . .”
The treaty contains verification framework, much more advanced and detailed than the first START treaty negotiated by Reagan and Gorbachev.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates almost breaks into tears when describing his own personal experience with the transition from arms control during the Cold War to disarmament in the world today, and uses his memory and personal story to illustrate how much the world has changed now that Russia and the United States are friends and no longer enemies. Last year I was hesitant to support Gates remaining as Defense Secretary in President Obama’s administration, but now Gates truly does seem to have a good heart and a right mind for his job, and is committed to the principle, goal, and vision of complete global nuclear disarmament and abolition.
“We live in a troubled world, and the United States and China, as two great nations, share a special responsibility to help reduce the risks of war. We both agree that there can be only one sane policy to preserve our precious civilization in this modern age: A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. And no matter how great the obstacles may seem, we must never stop our efforts to reduce the weapons of war. We must never stop at all until we see the day when nuclear arms have been banished from the face of this Earth.” Ronald Reagan, 1984, China
And once again a link to the petition that many organizations in partnership with Global Zero, including Myspace, Avaaz, National Resources Defense Council, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and Greenpeace, are collecting signatures for the upcoming Nuclear Nonproliferation Review Treaty conference as well as conference on disarmament issues (With 47 or more countries attending and taking part, including Russia and China)
With 23,000 nuclear weapons worldwide, experts are clear: we either eliminate all nuclear weapons or accept living in a world where virtually any country or terrorist group can get one.
Last year, over 115,000 of us helped secure a historic commitment by Russia and the US to reduce their nuclear arsenals by a third–a commitment affirmed in the new US-Russia treaty.
But only a massive surge of people power can persuade world leaders to take bolder steps to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. We cannot miss this historic opportunity! Sign the declaration below, then spread the word — the petition numbers will be announced at the summit in 4 days!:
“WE believe that to protect our children, our grandchildren and our civilization from the threat of nuclear catastrophe, we must eliminate all nuclear weapons globally. We therefore commit to working for a legally binding, verifiable agreement, including all nations, to eliminate nuclear weapons by a date certain.”
MR. GIBBS: Good afternoon. Let’s start with a few quick announcements. As you all know, the President will host, on April 12-13, the Nuclear Security Summit at the Washington Convention Center here in D.C. I wanted to list for you all a couple of different things — first, the 47 countries including the United States that will participate in the summit.
They include Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Vietnam. The United Nations, the IAEA, and the European Union will also be represented.
As part of the Nuclear Security Summit, the President is currently planning to host a number of bilateral meetings. Those include President Sargsian of Armenia; President Hu Jintao of China; Chancellor Merkel of Germany; Prime Minister Singh of India; King Abdullah II of Jordan; Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia; Prime Minister Gilani of Pakistan; President Zuma of South Africa; and President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan.
“The two leaders [Presidents Obama and Hu] reached a new and important consensus on U.S.-China relations and other matters of common concern. They agreed to respect each other’s core interests, appropriately handle disputes and sensitive issues and increase dialogue and cooperation in all areas.” – China’s Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai
“The New START treaty is a modest, but good step toward reducing the threat from nuclear weapons. The Senate should quickly and deliberately advise and consent to its ratification. Fewer nuclear weapons makes Americans safer and sends the right message to the rest of the world. President Obama should continue his push for a nuclear weapons-free world not by beginning another round of negotiations for a further incremental cut to 1,000 nuclear weapons on each side, as has been reported, but by taking executive actions to reduce the U.S. nuclear stockpile.”
The road to ratification in the Senate is complicated by conservatives such as Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ), yet even he has not ruled outright the possibility of voting for the treaty, provided his pet projects are taken care of . . . Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) does a good job of supporting the new START treaty as well as making clear that no new nuclear weapons will be built, even to win over waffling Republican senators.
And, so, to change that adversarial relationship, to build the trust and build the confidence, and also, over time, seek to reduce what are huge, huge still, and very large nuclear weapons, I think, is a significant step forward.
Yet John Kyl does not argue for making new weapons, at the very least, yet he wants funding to “modernize.”
Sen. AL. FRANKEN. Madam President, I rise today to speak about arms control and the President’s negotiations with Russia over a replacement to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START. This new treaty will be an important enhancement to American national security, and I look forward to considering it on the Senate floor once it has been signed.
As you may recall, the original START treaty was ratified by the Senate in 1992 by a bipartisan vote of 93 to 6. It went into force in late 1994, with a predetermined life of 15 years, causing it to expire this past December.
Soon after taking office, the Obama administration began careful and diligent work to negotiate a successor treaty with Russia. As START was expiring in early December,
President Obama and President Medvedev of Russia issued a joint statement making clear that our two countries would effectively abide by the expiring treaty until the new one comes into force.
I think we can all agree that the original START was a landmark achievement. It brought about historic reductions in nuclear weapons. Its verification measures and the communication between the United States and Russia that they fostered served to build confidence between the two countries at an uncertain moment. It helped our nations to move toward a post-Cold-War mentality, providing strategic stability between the world’s two greatest nuclear powers.
I am confident the successor to START will be equally historic. The world has changed, and this will be a new treaty for a new world with a new set of nuclear challenges. But the bottom line for the new treaty remains the same as it was for the original START: The treaty must–and it will–advance our national security interests.
When the new treaty is signed and presented to the Senate, there will be plenty of opportunity to discuss and debate in detail the specific numerical limitations on strategic offensive arms. President Obama and President Medvedev determined these would be in the range of 500 to 1,100 for strategic delivery vehicles, and in the range of 1,500 to 1,675 for their associated warheads. Likewise, we will carefully examine the counting rules for those limitations, the monitoring and verification measures for implementing the agreement, and all its other provisions.
I look forward to discussing all these specific matters when the Senate fulfills our responsibility to offer our advice and, as appropriate, our consent. But the core reasons this treaty will make us safer are already clear.
The verifiable reduction of nuclear weapons by the United States and Russia will provide us with strategic stability and mutual confidence. In other words, it ensures transparency and predictability between the two countries that possess 95 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.
The new treaty will do this while streamlining the elaborate and, in some cases, outdated and unnecessarily burdensome verification measures from the original treaty. The new treaty will also reduce the risk of nuclear theft or loss from our countries, and we know just how important this last point is in a world where terrorist groups would give anything to obtain a nuclear weapon.
This new treaty will also allow us to lead by example in arms reduction, and this will in turn greatly aid our vital nonproliferation efforts. Indeed, while the arms reductions in the treaty will be relatively modest, entering into the treaty will be a significant step in the renewal of our arms control and nonproliferation agenda for the 21st century. It will put us on firmer ground as we confront the dangers of nuclear weapons in this new world.
I want to dwell briefly on this last point. The centerpiece of the global nonproliferation framework is aptly named the Non-Proliferation Treaty. This treaty requires that states without nuclear weapons pledge not to acquire them. But it also imposes a responsibility on nuclear states which must pursue reductions in weapons.
When we fulfill that responsibility, it strengthens the global nonproliferation framework that centers on the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It strengthens our hand in dealing with nonnuclear states, whether they are allies pursuing civilian nuclear power or adversaries with unclear nuclear intentions.
The point is not that untrustworthy adversaries will suddenly be transparent about their intentions or fulfill their obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Rather, we can negotiate with and pressure adversaries more effectively when we are meeting our own responsibilities. Likewise, we can work more effectively with our friends–and rely on them for multilateral support–when we ourselves lead by example. In other words, arms control agreements like the new START follow-on treaty are themselves powerful tools in our nonproliferation efforts.
The START follow-on treaty is only one element of President Obama’s ambitious nonproliferation and arms control agenda to reduce and ultimately eliminate the threat from nuclear weapons. But until we are able to realize this end goal, it remains important to maintain an effective deterrent. This treaty will in no way–in no way–take away that deterrent.
Likewise, it is critical for us to support the administration’s increased budget request for ensuring the safety and reliability of the nuclear stockpile and the complex and experts who maintain it. Such a commitment to a safe and reliable nuclear arsenal goes hand in hand with minimizing the danger from nuclear weapons through arms control and nonproliferation. We must pursue the limitation of nuclear weapons while maintaining an effective deterrent. And that is just what the START follow-on treaty will do. It will make us safer without jeopardizing our effective deterrent.
I look forward to a robust discussion and ultimately, I hope, to bipartisan consent to the resolution of ratification.
We shall see if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell were and will be able to come to an agreement to ensure speedy ratification of the treaty.
Abolition 2000, a global network calling for a treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons, is supported by concerned individuals, citizen action groups, religious leaders, political and civic leaders, retired military leaders, nobel laureates, municipalities, and colleges and universities. The Abolition Global Caucus promotes international dialogue on key nuclear issues and provides a forum for individuals and organizations to contribute action alerts, news bulletins and ideas that will lead to a more secure and peaceful world, free from the threat of nuclear weapons.
“You know my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled by the iron feet of oppression … If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong. And if we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong. If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer that never came down to Earth. If we are wrong, justice is a lie, love has no meaning. And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr. – Address to the first Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) Mass Meeting, at Holt Street Baptist Church (5 December 1955)
Inspirational Educational Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes for Liberals, Progressives, Creative Radicals, Positive Extremists, Leftist Anarchists, etc., etc., etc.:
“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.
When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.
Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.
The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.
The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be… The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.
At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love.
Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? 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.
The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.
Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.
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.
The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.
Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.
Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values – that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.
In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.
Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.
Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.
That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.
This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.
No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love. Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. Always avoid violence. If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.
Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they cannot communicate; they cannot communicate because they are separated.
The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.
It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
Hopes for the next week’s Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC are high. With the U.S. and Russia leading the way, 2010 could mark the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons. But public support at this crucial moment is critical to build the foundation of a binding and verifiable global zero agreement. If the world fails to come together now, when the biggest nuclear powers are taking unprecedented steps, we might lose our best chance yet to do away with one of the greatest threats to our civilization. Achieving global zero will take years and require tremendous amounts of political will. Leaders at the summit need to hear that we, their constituents, care about this issue.
Today we have a chance to tell them when it matters most.
We invite you to join our partner Global Zero, an international movement of activists, experts, political and religious leaders, in calling for immediate steps the leaders at the summit can take now. Global Zero activists will hold a rally outside the Summit and deliver the petition and action plan.
Click to sign the petition!
The Global Zero petition and action plan are backed by hundreds of former heads of state, foreign ministers, national security advisers and military commanders, supported by grassroots activists from around the world.
“The leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit have the power to take immediate steps to begin eliminating all remaining nuclear weapons,” say Global Zero organizers. “But they need to hear from us first. Please sign the petition and forward it to all your friends and family — we need to have as many signatures as possible when we deliver it April 12.”
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love. This is the eternal rule.” – Gautama Buddha
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi
“As I love nature, as I love singing birds, and gleaming stubble, and flowing rivers, and morning and evening, and summer and winter, I love thee, my Friend.” – Henry David Thoreau
We have come a long way, yet we have a long way to go to realize Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision and dream . . . .
“Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” – Coretta Scott King
All I’m saying is simply this: that all mankind is tied together; all life is interrelated, and we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be – this is the interrelated structure of reality. John Donne caught it years ago and placed it in graphic terms: No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main… And then he goes on toward the end to say: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. And by believing this, by living out this fact, we will be able to remain awake through a great revolution.
I would like to mention, secondly, that we are challenged to work passionately and unrelentingly to get rid of racial injustice in all its dimensions. Anyone who feels that our nation can survive half segregated and half integrated is sleeping through a revolution. The challenge before us today is to develop a coalition of conscience and get rid of this problem that has been one of the nagging and agonizing ills of our nation over the years. Racial injustice is still the Negro’s burden and America’s shame. We’ve made strides, to be sure. We have come a long, long way since the Negro was first brought to this nation as a slave in 1619. In the last decade we have seen significant developments – the Supreme Court’s decision outlawing segregation in the public schools, a comprehensive Civil Rights Bill in 1964, and, in a few weeks, a new voting bill to guarantee the right to vote. All of these are significant developments, but I would be dishonest with you this morning if I gave you the impression that we have come to the point where the problem is almost solved.
We must face the honest fact that we still have a long, long way to go before the problem of racial injustice is solved. For while we are quite successful in breaking down the legal barriers to segregation, the Negro is now confronting social and economic barriers which are very real. The Negro is still at the bottom of the economic ladder. He finds himself perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. Millions of Negroes are still housed in unendurable slums; millions of Negroes are still forced to attend totally inadequate and substandard schools. And we still see, in certain sections of our country, violence and man’s inhumanity to man in the most tragic way. All of these things remind us that we have a long, long way to go. For in Alabama and Mississippi, violence and murder where civil rights workers are concerned, are popular and favorite pastimes.
Let nobody give you the impression that the problem of racial injustice will work itself out. Let nobody give you the impression that only time will solve the problem. That is a myth, and it is a myth because time is neutral. It can be used either constructively or destructively. And I’m absolutely convinced that the people of ill will in our nation – the extreme rightists – the forces committed to negative ends – have used time much more effectively than the people of good will. It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation, not merely for the vitriolic works and violent actions of the bad people who bomb a church in Birmingham, Alabama, or shoot down a civil rights worker in Selma, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.” Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals. Without this hard work, time becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. So we must help time and realize that the time is always right to do right.
There is another reason why we must get rid of racial injustice. Not merely because it is sociologically untenable or because it is politically unsound, not merely to meet the communist challenge or to create a good image in the world or to appeal to African and Asian peoples, as important as that happens to be. In the final analysis racial injustice must be uprooted from American society because it is morally wrong. Segregation is morally wrong, to use the words of the great Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber, because it substitutes an I-it relationship for the I-thou relationship. Or to use the thinking of Saint Thomas Aquinas, segregation is wrong because it is based on human laws that are out of harmony with the eternal natural and moral laws of the universe. The great Protestant theologian, Paul Tillich, said that sin is separation. And what is segregation but an existential expression of man’s tragic estrangement – his awful segregation, his terrible sinfulness? And so in order to rise to our full moral maturity as a nation, we must get rid of segregation whether it is in housing, whether it is a de facto segregation in the public schools, whether it is segregation in public accommodations, or whether it is segregation in the church. We must see that it is morally wrong. We must see that it is a national problem. And no section of our country can boast of clean hands in the area of brotherhood. We strengthen our nation, above all we strengthen our moral commitment; as we work to get rid of this problem.
Now there is another problem facing us that we must deal with if we are to remain awake through a social revolution. We must get rid of violence, hatred, and war. Anyone who feels that the problems of mankind can be solved through violence is sleeping through a revolution. I’ve said this over and over again, and I believe it more than ever today. We know about violence. It’s been the inseparable twin of Western materialism, the hallmark of its grandeur. I am convinced that violence ends up creating many more social problems than it solves. This is why I say to my people that if we succumb to the temptation of using violence in our struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness. There is another way – a way as old as the insights of Jesus of Nazareth and as modern as the techniques of Mohandas K. Gandhi. For it is possible to stand up against an unjust system with all of your might, with all of your body, with all of your soul, and yet not stoop to hatred and violence. Something about this approach disarms the opponent. It exposes his moral defenses, weakens his morale, and at the same time, works on his conscience. He doesn’t know how to handle it. So it is my great hope that, as we struggle for racial justice, we will follow that philosophy and method of non-violent resistance, realizing that this is the approach that can bring about that better day of racial justice for everyone.
In international relations, we must come to see this. We must find some alternative to war and bloodshed. In a day when man-made vehicles are dashing through outer space, and guided ballistic missiles are carving highways of death in the stratosphere, no nation can win a world war. It is no longer a choice between violence and non-violence; it is either non-violence or non-existence. The alternative may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation, our earthly habitat transformed into a tragic inferno that even Dante could not imagine. So this is our challenge: to see that war is obsolete, cast into limbo.
I do not wish to minimize the complexity of the problems to be faced in achieving disarmament and peace. But we shall not have the courage, the insight, to deal with such matters unless we are prepared to undergo a mental and spiritual change. It is not enough to say we must not wage war. We must love peace and sacrifice for it. We must fix our visions not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but upon the positive affirmation of peace. We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, far superior to the discords of war. Somehow we must transform the dynamics of the world power struggle from the negative nuclear arms race which no one can win to a positive contest to harness man’s creative genius for the purpose of making peace and prosperity a reality for all of the nations of the world. In short, we must shift the arms race into a peace race.
All that I’ve said is that we must work for peace, for racial justice, for economic justice, and for brotherhood the world over. We have inherited a big house, a great world house in which we have to live together – black and white, Easterners and Westerners, Gentiles and Jews, Protestants and Catholics, Moslem and Hindu. If we all learn to do this we, in a real sense, will remain awake through a great revolution.
I would recommend watching at least the last ten minutes or so of this wonderful talk / discussion with Rep. John Lewis, William Cohen, and Janet Cohen about race and reconciliation:
In summer 2008, the Cohens conducted a forum on race relations in America with a long list of participants. That forum is encapsulated in their book, which they discuss with Congressman, civil rights activist and forum participant John Lewis of Georgia.
There is a definite connection between the inhumanity of racism and the inhumanity of war / murder / elimination of whole peoples. Janet Cohen wrote a play that is a theoretical conversation between Anne Frank and Emmett Till, both young victims of their respective societies that could not protect them from evil / darkness.
Beyond that, Martin Luther King’s message and vision is really a continuation of Gandhi and Thoreau‘s message and vision, and many many many people before that. Among other things, it takes good people standing up to darkness in order to not only make a change toward good, but also ensure that war / murder / oppression does not happen in the future, also by remembering the lessons of history. As George Santayana so famously said, “those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” It is a fact that we cannot have another world war or the earth and humanity as we know it would cease to exist, as well as the rest of life on earth. So, in order to ensure the future survival and health of the human race as well as the earth, we must learn to control the dark side of our own natures, and live in peace, as Martin Luther King Jr. says in the speech at Oberlin college.
“Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.” – Henry David Thoreau
“Truth alone will endure, all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time. I must continue to bear testimony to truth even if I am forsaken by all. Mine may today be a voice in the wilderness, but it will be heard when all other voices are silenced, if it is the voice of Truth.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”" – Martin Luther King, Jr.
O, let America be America again–
The land that never has been yet–
And yet must be–the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine–the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME–
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose–
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath–
America will be!”
“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.” – Bruce Lee
“The first principle of nonviolent action is that of noncooperation with everything humiliating.” – Cesar Chavez
“Come, come, come
My endless desires
Come, come, come
Come my beloved
Come my sweetheart
Come, come, come
Don’t talk about the journey
Say no more of the path
The path one must take
You are my path
You are my journey
Come, come, come
You stole from this earth
A bouquet of roses
I am hidden in that bouquet
Come, come, come
As long as I am sober
And keep talking about good and bad
I am missing the most important event
Seeing your face
Come come come
I must be a moron
Missing this life
If I don’t cast my mind
In the fire of love
Come, come, come”
- Mawlana Rumi
Translated by Nader Khalili
Rumi, Fountain of Fire
“An affectionate disposition not only makes the mind more peaceful and calm, but it affects our body in a positive way too. On the other hand, hatred, jealousy and fear upset our peace of mind, make us agitated and affect our body adversely. Even our body needs peace of mind and is not suited to agitation. This shows that an appreciation for peace of mind is in our blood.” – Dalai Lama
“The greatest oak was once a little nut who held it’s ground.” – Buddhist Proverb
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” – Jimi Hendrix
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says: I`m possible.” – Audrey Hepburn
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love. This is the eternal rule.” – Gautama Buddha
“Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious. Great speech is impassioned, small speech cantankerous.” – Zhuang Zi
“The greatest friend of Truth is time, her greatest enemy is Prejudice, and her constant companion Humility.”
- Charles Caleb Colton
“You may encounter many defeats,
but you must not be Defeated.
In fact, the Encountering may be
the very Experience which Creates the
Vitality and the Power to Endure.”
- Maya Angelou
“Keep going until your efforts start to make things better in your hometown.”
- Yoko Ono
“We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.” – William Butler Yeats
“There is a tendency for things to right themselves”. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“You can spend your time agonizing or organizing.” – Dorothy Day
“The Jesus of your spirit is inside you now.
Ask that one for help, but don’t ask for body-things…
Don’t ask Moses for provisions
that you can get from Pharaoh.
Don’t worry so much about livelihood.
Your livelihood will turn out as it should.
Be constantly occupied instead
with listening to God.”
- Maulana Rumi
“Please stop waiting for a better and more appropriate time to become happy and focus on the moment you live in. Happiness is not an arrival, it is the journey itself. Many people seek for happiness above the height of human beings, some below. Yet, happiness is exactly at the exact height of human beings.” – Confucius
“We are taught that the most important gift of our natures is the reaching out to another” – Master Po
“A more altruistic attitude is very relevant in today’s world. If we look at the situation from various angles, such as the complexity and inter-connectedness of the nature of modern existence, then we will gradually notice a change in our outlook, so that when we say ‘others’ and when we think of others, we will no longer dismiss them as something that is irrelevant to us. We will no longer feel indifferent.” – Dalai Lama
“The earth is too small a star and we too brief a visitor upon it for anything to matter more than the struggle for peace.” – Colman McCarthy
“Nothing from outside can stop you from enjoying lasting peace and joy in life – it is the essential nature of your own soul.” – Maharishi
Song of Joy for Paradise
Born in the Ocean of Worlds, Galaxies, Universes
Thousands of rose petals drift
In the sweet sunlit air and sky
Brought down from the mountains
On the wind change from across
The oceanic tides and the stories
Of sailors who wandered far
So that everything brings me to tears
And the thought and fear that I will never
Leave my birth country for distant lands
In search of the promise of treasure
For I am tied to my friends and family
Yet there are many winds to tempt
The imagination of a poor man’s son
And I am the same as any other inside
With just the same chances to succeed
My family’s advice is permanent isolation
From myself as well as the rest of the world
But I will search for exquisite solitude instead
Go to the secret places in my mind
Where loneliness cannot corrupt me
Nor sorrow, fear, darkness, evil, hate
My heart is tied to the earth, love, poetry
The source of all that is, was, and shall be
Where my ancestors came from
To found a better life than the one
They had known across the ocean
From far away the wind brings its tales
Sailors who have wandered far from home
Myself among them, lost in the ether
The land of my birth only a memory
And all lost for the promise of treasure
My heart remains tied to my father’s country
But I have chosen to cross the ocean
In the desert temptations of flesh are many
The imagination of a poor farmer’s son is great
Yet I cannot deny the destiny of my soul
Good luck and Peace, Love, Light, Life, Good Health, & Happiness to Everyone! <3
With and For Dreams and Hopes of Peace, Freedom, Justice, Sustainability, Compassion, Interbeing, Understanding, Music, & Love <3