Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., in his 1967 Riverside Church Speech, hit home with some truths. He came out vehemently against the war in Vietnam ( we now have a " War ON Iraq") and pulled no punches. In his speech, Rev. King stated that silence, in the face of the horror of that war, was simply a betrayal. The mainstream media blasted him for those thoughts, and I am sure many so called liberals did the same. For it is easy to give lip service to a belief, or to honk at others in support. It takes a bit more courage and conviction to stand tall for a principle. Elie Wiesel, holocaust survivor and scholar, put it even more succinctly; " What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander."
As our president continually ships and reships our young, mostly low income at that, to patrol "streets of anger" thousands of miles from home, what do we say to that? As the British medical journal Lancet speculates the Iraqi civilian dead at over 600,000, what do we say to that? Some mourn and salute, showing those yellow ribbons and the stars and stripes so proudly, only for the 3000 plus American dead, and the ( now ) 150,000 others who gamble with Mr. Grim Reaper each day. Do they still support the foreign policies of Bush and Company? Do they comprehend that you do not carpet bomb, invade and occupy a sovereign nation, based upon lies and half truths? Do they realize the audacity of anyone, of any politician, to demand that the invaded and destroyed and occupied nation should now " get its
act together and defend itself " from the very civil war that we caused?
More importantly, what of the overwhelming majority of those Americans who do not support this mess in Iraq, and never did? When will they finally understand what Rev. King and Eli Wiesel meant? We are reaching the first stage of a critical mass of events.... the street corners are still mostly empty. Silence is betrayal.
Philip A Farruggio
( Philip A Farruggio is a columnist, activist leader and small businessman. he can be reached at