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:
January 18, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Destabilizer: Trump’s Escalating Threats Against Iran
John W. Whitehead
Silence Is Betrayal: Get Up, Stand Up, Speak Up for Your Rights
Andrew Day
Of “Shitholes” and Liberals
Dave Lindorff
Rep. Gabbard Speaks Truth to Power About the Real Reason Korea Has Nukes
Barbara G. Ellis
The Workplace War: Hatpins Might Be in Style Again for Women
Binoy Kampmark
Corporate Sickness in May’s Britain
Ralph Nader
Twitter Rock Star Obama’s Silence Must Delight Trump
John G. Russell
#Loose Lips (Should) Sink … Presidencies … But Even If They Could, What Comes Next?
David Macaray
The “Mongrelization” of the White Race
Ramzy Baroud
In Words and Deeds: The Genesis of Israeli Violence
January 17, 2018
Seiji Yamada
Prevention is the Only Solution: a Hiroshima Native’s View of Nuclear Weapons
Chris Welzenbach
Force of Evil: Abraham Polonsky and Anti-Capitalist Noir
Thomas Klikauer
The Business of Bullshit
Howard Lisnoff
The Atomized and Siloed U.S. Left
Martha Rosenberg
How Big Pharma Infiltrated the Boston Museum of Science
George Wuerthner
The Collaboration Trap
David Swanson
Removing Trump Will Require New Activists
Michael McKinley
Australia and the Wars of the Alliance: United States Strategy
Binoy Kampmark
Macron in China
Cesar Chelala
The Distractor-in-Chief
Ted Rall
Why Trump is Right About Newspaper Libel Laws
Mary Serumaga
Corruption in Uganda: Minister Sam Kutesa and Company May Yet Survive Their Latest Scandal
January 16, 2018
Mark Schuller
What is a “Shithole Country” and Why is Trump So Obsessed With Haiti?
Paul Street
Notes From a “Shithole” Superpower
Louisa Willcox
Keeper of the Flame for Wilderness: Stewart “Brandy” Brandborg
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Sinister Plan to Kill the Iranian “Nukes” Deal
Franklin Lamb
Kafkaesque Impediments to Challenging Iran’s Theocracy
Norman Solomon
Why Senator Cardin is a Fitting Opponent for Chelsea Manning
Fred Gardner
GI Coffeehouses Recalled: a Compliment From General Westmoreland
Brian Terrell
Solidarity from Central Cellblock to Guantanamo
Don Fitz
Bondage Scandal: Looking Beneath the Surface
Rob Seimetz
#Resist Co-opting “Shithole”
Ted Rall
Trump Isn’t Unique
January 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Democrats and the End(s) of Politics
Paul Tritschler
Killing Floor: the Business of Animal Slaughter
Mike Garrity
In Targeting the Lynx, the Trump Administration Defies Facts, Law, and Science Once Again
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Hong Kong Politics: a Never-Ending Farce
Uri Avnery
Bibi’s Son (Or Three Men in a Car)
Dave Lindorff
Yesterday’s ‘Shithole Countries’ Can Become Classy Places Donald, and Vice Versa
Jeff Mackler
Lesser Evil Politics in Alabama
Jonah Raskin
Typewriters Still Smoking? An Interview with Underground Press Maven John McMillan
Jose-Antonio Orosco
Trump’s Comments Recall a Racist Past in Immigration Policy
David Macaray
Everything Seems to Be Going South
Kathy Kelly
41 Hearts Beating in Guantanamo
Weekend Edition
January 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
George Burchett
Wormwood and a Shocking Secret of War: How Errol Morris Vindicated My Father, Wilfred Burchett
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail