Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Day

As I do, on this anniversary every year, I wake up to images of Dr. King on TV, and invariably they are playing the "I had a dream" speech. This is, of course, part of the canonization of Dr. King. Canonization is the process by which we take the innovator, the leader often martyred by the powers that be, and claim that martyr for those same powers. The self same America that murdered Dr. King on that day I remember so well, now edits his message to say, all is alright in American, there is freedom thanks to our Saint Martin.

Yet if he where alive today, I know in the depths of my heart one thing. I feel almost silly to say, "IF" he protested this war of conquest and aggression the US has been drawn into, but in fairness to the right of the dead to choose their issues, I will say, if Dr. King protested THIS war, the same politicians who bow their head in his memory would defame him as their parents did in his life. Of this I am well sure, that it is safe for the United States to make a saint of him because he has been silenced by a bullet aimed at him by the state.

So, this is my gift to his memory. Please read the Letter from the Birmingham Jail. I will provide a link.

From the Letter from the Birmingham Jail:
"In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action. We have gone through an these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro .leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good-faith negotiation. "


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