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:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail