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The Trials of Africa and the Real Dr. King They Want Us to Forget

By       Message Ramzy Baroud       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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From Palestine Chronicle

From flickr.com: Martin Luther King, Jr. {MID-237756}
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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On January 15, millions of Americans commemorated Martin Luther King's Day. His famous speech, "I Have a Dream" was repeated numerous times in media outlets as a reminder of the evil of racism, which is being resurrected in a most pronounced way in American society.

But that is only one version of Dr. King that is allowed to be broadcast, at least in polite company. The other, more revolutionary, radical and global King is to remain hidden from view.

Exactly one year before he was assassinated, on April 4, 1968, Dr. King delivered a truly scathing speech that challenged not only the state apparatus by the liberal hierarchy which posed as if they were his allies. It was called: "Beyond Vietnam."

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"We must stop now," he said, his voice thundering. "I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted."

Then, he added these words, which sent much alarm among those who sought to isolate anti-war efforts from King's own struggle:

"I speak of the -- for the -- poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam."

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Unlike the more famous speech "I Have a Dream" -- delivered in the 1963 "March on Washington" -- "Beyond Vietnam" pushed past the boundaries of what is acceptable by "liberal" America into whole new territories, where Dr. King's anti-war and global solidarity values were unapologetically linked to the fight against racism and poverty at home.

On that day, the American civil rights struggle courageously broke free from the confines of American exceptionalism, to join a worldwide movement of struggles against racism, colonialism and war.

Unsurprisingly, Dr. King's speech angered many members of White communities who were directly or indirectly affiliated with the Washington establishment.

Merely three days after the speech, the New York Times countered in its editorial: "There are no simple answers to the war in Vietnam or to racial justice in this country. Linking these hard-complex problems will lead not to solutions but to deeper confusion."

In fact, there was no "confusion," but total and complete clarity and coherence. To be truly meaningful, human rights values cannot be sectionalized and isolated from one another.

Yet, what alarmed the so-called liberals is the intellectual growth and awareness of the civil rights movement at the time, which matured enough to the point of pushing for greater integration among all struggles.

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A more vibrant and empowered King, aged only 38 years at the time, seemed to have fully fathomed the link between the oppression of poor, Black Americans at home and the oppression of poor Vietnamese peasants abroad. They were all victims of what he dubbed the "giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism."

Right there and then, King had achieved a revolutionary and terrifying idea that might have contributed to his assassination a year later, for many of his allies outside the Black communities began disowning him.

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Ramzy Baroud is the Managing Editor of Middle East Eye. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold (more...)
 

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