Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"i have a nightmare"

Black mathematician, Jonathan Farley shares some rather inconoclastic thoughts about King in the recent Guardian piece, I have a nightmare. While Latina blogger, La Chola, responds in "non-violence failed us" Both pieces make me wonder if anyone out there is actually a pacifist anymore? And if we don't really believe in pacifism then what is the meaning and value of King's legacy? Did he only teach us how to take a beating? What do you think?


bfp said...

I don't know as if I would say that MLK's legacy is pacifism. I'd say, imo, that it is Hope. Hope with a big fat capital H. I've read so many bloggers commenting on how powerful it was for them to see Obama on stage after his win--that they felt like they could believe again--that it was ok to hope again. I think that MLK's murder (maybe more than other murders), was devistating to the black community (and other communities as well) because it said (very violently), this is what is gonna happen to you all who dare to hope, who dare to dream.

Folks been scared to love something that hard since then--but folks still *want* to love that hard. MLK is hope that someday, it will be ok to love hard without fear, without reprecussions.

"Pacifism"--that is an idea that I want to think about--and post something on my own blog, cuz you know it's gonna be some long thoughts!!! :-)

but you ask some really important questions that i've been thinking about all afternoon.

Abdul-Halim V. said...

I like that. Hope is definitely a huge part of it. Yes.

sondjata said...

Yes MLK was a pacifist. Period. He believed that violence was not an option. Period. He stated as much when he said that the love he talks about for ones enemy is one that means that you love your enemy so much that you are willing to die to get him right. That is a direct quote.

Nor was Dr. King's message or legacy about hope. That is media "I have a dream whitewash." Anyone who reads or listens to Dr. Kings latter writings and speeches would see that he was clearly displeased with the status quo and felt there was a great deal wrong not only with the US of A but with the world. He stated quite clearly, and this is another direct quote: We do not wish to be integrated into this society.

So MLK at his passing was about real structural change in American policy towards others and towards its citizens. People really need to study up on the man and get past his Washington speech.

Abdul-Halim V. said...

Sondjata, I think we all agree that MLK was a pacifist. But the US government which made his birthday a national holiday certainly doesn't follow the principles of pacifism. And today, there are a lot of positive pro-black people who don't necessarily believe in pacifism either.

So if MOST people in the US actually disagree with a FUNDAMENTAL piece of Martin Luther King Jr.'s philosophy, then why is he so important? Why does he get a National Holiday?

sondjata said...

Well recall that when it was suggested, there was major opposition to the holiday. Furthermore even though it is a federal holiday I find that many people actually pay it no mind. My personal opinion is that the King Holiday was pushed upon the US population in an attempt to neuter King's message and quiet down folk in the Black caucus, etc. I think it was a self pat on the back. That's my opinion. Can't prove it, but that's what I see.

sondjata said...

Sorry, I need to add that the overwhelming proof of this, to me, is the fixation on the I Have A dream Speech. How many people are familiar with anything other than that speech and how many people are familiar with the speeches that made King an "enemy of the state" in so many words?

Chloe said...

I work for BBC Radio and today we are doing a worldwide phone in programme about the article by Jonathan Farley and the issues it raises. We'll be speaking to the man himself and listeners will have the opportunity to ask him questions. Would you Abdul-Halim V, or indeed anyone posting on this site, be interested in taking part or posing questions for Robert Farley? You can get more details from our blog - www.worldhaveyoursay.com, or you can email worldhaveyoursay@bbc.co.uk. I hope to hear from you.