United Nations Headquarters, Iran Mission
21 September 2010
His Excellency Mr. Ambassador:
All of the peace activists gathered here this evening:
is an honor and my pleasure to be with you this evening. on the
occasion of the International Day of Peace. What we have learned is
that it is one thing to have a day; it is quite another to have peace.
I know that everyone in this room is committed first and foremost to
the United Nations' own Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And if
it were observed by every Member State of the United Nations, we could
truly celebrate a world in peace. In fact, our former President, John
F. Kennedy, cited the topic of world peace as the most important topic
Sadly, not only are we not on the path of peace
today, incredibly, we're on the path of global conflagration. John
Kennedy's admonition is more relevant today than ever: he asked, "What
kind of peace do we seek?" and answered his own question this way:
a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not
the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about
genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living,
the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build
a better life for their children -- not merely peace for Americans but
peace for all men and women -- not merely peace in our time but peace
for all time.
At no other time in the life of our country
were the forces for justice and peace so strong. Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. reminded us, that "the arc of the moral universe bends toward
justice John Kennedy pulled back from war against Castro's Cuba;
Malcolm X excited Black America, made Hajj, and broke bread with Dr.
King. Bobby Kennedy shocked the conscience of this country and made
the impoverished Blacks of the Mississippi Delta and the impoverished
Whites of Appalachia a part of the same dream of America. He also
shocked the world by speaking against apartheid, not from the comfort
of this country, but inside South Africa; and young people inside this
country of different races, ethnicities, languages, and incomes, united
and pressed for justice for Puerto Rico, Mexico, Native Americans,
Black Americans, against apartheid in South Africa, and for peace in
Vietnam. We, the popular front, almost won.
But, we know how that chapter ends:
with his brains blown out; Malcolm X betrayed from within the Nation;
MLK surrounded by snipers and U.S. military intelligence on his last
day alive while those closest to him were on the FBI payroll; and Bobby
Kennedy lying in a pool of his own blood after winning the California
primary--on the road to the White House.
The major lesson we must learn and never forget is that those who want to wage war abroad are also willing to wage it at home.
So what are we to do?
we must organize a Peace Lobby. A Peace Lobby grounded in love, and
truth, and respect, and human dignity. And we must reach across
humanity, setting aside what others have successfully used in the past
to divide us.