FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

MLK Jr. and the Palestinian Dream

by Ahmad Faruqui

It is almost forty years since Dr. King made his landmark speech in which he spoke of his famous dream. By drawing attention to the plight of the African-American people in the US, he helped establish the Civil Rights movement that serves as a beacon of hope for millions of minorities throughout the globe. Had Dr. King been alive today, he would no doubt be talking about the plight of the Palestinians.

He would have observed that they are still not a free people, but a people “sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.” A state sits in occupation over their territories, and periodically shuts off access to their economic lifeline. They are forced to live “on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.” He would have observed that they have been forced into exile in their own land, “sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression.”

We get a glimpse of what Dr. King by reading the writings of Nelson Mandela. Mandela wrote last year “Palestinians are not struggling for a ‘state’ but for freedom, liberation and equality, just like we were struggling for freedom in South Africa.” He said that there are two judicial systems in Israel, one for Jews and one for Palestinians. Palestinian property is not recognized as private property because it can be confiscated.

The Palestinians live under conditions of apartheid, in a culture of state-sponsored terrorism. The Israeli military machine, using US-supplied weapons and technology, wages war to subjugate them. He would have spoken of the imperative to prevent terrorism, by trying to get to the root causes– which are social and political–rather than seeking security through military means.

Of course, Dr. King abjured violence, and was a strong believer in Gandhi’s philosophy of ahimsa, or non-violence. He would have counseled the Palestinians, just as he counseled the African-Americans on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963 that they must conduct their struggle on the “high plane of dignity and discipline.” He would have quoted from the Koran that human life is sacred, and under no conditions does Islam sanction the killing of innocent civilians.

He would have been outraged by the suicide bombers who murder civilians in the most cowardly fashion. But he would have been no less critical of a democratic state that bombs innocent civilians indiscriminately, on the pretext that they are hiding terrorists in their midst. He would have been shocked that a state would use bulldozers to raise homes, on the pretext that they may have once housed suicide bombers. And he would have condemned the tactics of this state’s security forces, which snare children into stone throwing, so that they can be gunned down with automatic weaponry.

He would have asked the US to live by its fundamental values– that all men are created equal– in its foreign as well as its domestic policies. He would have called upon his fellow Americans to value a Palestinian life just as much as they value an Israeli life, and to recognize the fundamental injustice of a situation where a thousand Palestinians, mostly children and teenagers, can be killed in front of the world’s television cameras, and yet the blame for violence can be laid on the door of the Palestinians.

He would have called on the US to impose economic or political sanctions on the state that deprives its citizens of the most basic of human rights, just because they are of a different race, not reward it with economic and military aid. He would have pointed out the futility of using the US veto in the UN Security Council to prevent the policies of this state from being censured when it already stands condemned in the eyes of world opinion.

He would have offered to go to the Middle East and mediate peace between “the children of Abraham.” He would have tried his best to bring the warring parties together. He would have told one that killing terrorists would not solve the problem of terrorism, because new ones will arise in their place. He would have told the other that they will not be able to destroy the state by random killings of its innocent civilians, because the balance of power will ensure that they will lose 20 of their own for every one of the other they kill.

He would asked both to make genuine peace with each other, and visualize the day when both Jews and Palestinian children will be able to hold hands and sing the old spiritual, “Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” Free from our mutual hatred, free from our prejudices, and free from our fears.

Ahmad Faruqui is a Fellow with the American Institute of International Studies. A native of Pakistan, he has lived most of his adult life in the United States. He holds a Ph. D. in economics from the University of California, Davis.

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
Robert Koehler
Stop the Killing
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: Of Dog Legs and “Debates”
Yves Engler
The Media’s Biased Perspective
Victor Grossman
Omens From Berlin
Christopher Brauchli
Wells Fargo as Metaphor for the Trump Campaign
Nyla Ali Khan
War of Words Between India and Pakistan at the United Nations
Tom Barnard
Block the Bunker! Historic Victory Against Police Boondoggle in Seattle
James Rothenberg
Bullshit Recognition as Survival Tactic
Ed Rampell
A Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits
Kristine Mattis
Persnickety Publishing Pet-Peeves
Charles R. Larson
Review: Helen Dewitt’s “The Last Samurai”
David Yearsley
Torture Chamber Music
September 22, 2016
Dave Lindorff
Wells Fargo’s Stumpf Leads the Way
Stan Cox
If There’s a World War II-Style Climate Mobilization, It has to Go All the Way—and Then Some
Binoy Kampmark
Source Betrayed: the Washington Post and Edward Snowden
John W. Whitehead
Wards of the Nanny State
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail