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  • Tag - MLK - it-just-keeps-getting-better
    with death or must I not share with them my life Finally as I try to explain for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood Because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for His suffering and helpless and outcast children I come tonight to speak for them This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation s self defined goals and positions We are called to speak for the weak for the voiceless for the victims of our nation for those it calls enemy for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula I speak now not of the soldiers of each side not of the ideologies of the Liberation Front not of the junta in Saigon but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now I think of them too because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries They must see Americans as strange liberators The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1954 in 1945 rather after a combined French and Japanese occupation and before the communist revolution in China They were led by Ho Chi Minh Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom we refused to recognize them Instead we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not ready for independence and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self determination and a government that had been established not by China for whom the Vietnamese have no great love but by clearly indigenous forces that included some communists For the peasants this new government meant real land reform one of the most important needs in their lives For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu they began to despair of their reckless action but we did not We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization After the French were defeated it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva Agreement But instead there came the United States determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators our chosen man Premier Diem The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly rooted out all opposition supported their extortionist landlords and refused even to discuss reunification with the North The peasants watched as all of this was presided over by United States influence and then by increasing numbers of United States troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem s methods had aroused When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy but the long line of military dictators seemed to offer no real change especially in terms of their need for land and peace The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt inept and without popular support All the while the people read our leaflets and received the regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform Now they languish under our bombs and consider us not their fellow Vietnamese the real enemy They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met They know they must move on or be destroyed by our bombs So they go primarily women and children and the aged They watch as we poison their water as we kill a million acres of their crops They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong inflicted injury So far we may have killed a million of them mostly children They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children homeless without clothes running in packs on the streets like animals They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers soliciting for their mothers What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building Is it among these voiceless ones We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions the family and the village We have destroyed their land and their crops We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation s only noncommunist revolutionary political force the unified Buddhist Church We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men Now there is little left to build on save bitterness Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call fortified hamlets The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these Could we blame them for such thoughts We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise These too are our brothers Perhaps a more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies What of the National Liberation Front that strangely anonymous group we call VC or communists What must they think of the United States of America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the South What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of aggression from the North as if there were nothing more essential to the war How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land Surely we must understand their feelings even if we do not condone their actions Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty five percent communist and yet insist on giving them the blanket name What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will not have a part They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them the only party in real touch with the peasants They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded Their questions are frighteningly relevant Is our nation planning to build on political myth again and then shore it up upon the power of a new violence Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence when it helps us to see the enemy s point of view to hear his questions to know his assessment of ourselves For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition and if we are mature we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition So too with Hanoi In the North where our bombs now pummel the land and our mines endanger the waterways we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words and especially their distrust of American intentions now In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French the men who sought membership in the French Commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which could have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam and they realized they had been betrayed again When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate these things must be remembered Also it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva Agreement concerning foreign troops They remind us that they did not begin to send troops in large numbers and even supplies into the South until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces and now he has surely heard the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the North He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre invasion strategy Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor weak nation more than eight hundred or rather eight thousand miles away from its shores At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy We are adding cynicism to the process of death for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create a hell for the poor Somehow this madness must cease We must stop now I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam I speak for those whose land is being laid waste whose homes are being destroyed whose culture is being subverted I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and dealt death and corruption in Vietnam I speak as a citizen of the world for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken I speak as one who loves America to the leaders of our own nation The great initiative in this war is ours the initiative to stop it must be ours This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam Recently one of them wrote these words and I quote Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the hearts of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies It is curious that the Americans who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat The image of America will never again be the image of revolution freedom and democracy but the image of violence and militarism Unquote If we continue there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do immediately to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict Number one End all bombing in North and South Vietnam Number two Declare a unilateral cease fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation Three Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos Four Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and any future Vietnam government Five Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Agreement sustained applause Part of our ongoing applause continues part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done We must provide the medical aid that is badly needed making it available in this country if necessary Meanwhile applause meanwhile we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment We must continue to raise our voices and our lives if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative method of protest possible As we counsel young men concerning military service we must clarify for them our nation s role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection sustained applause I am pleased to say that this is a path now chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater Morehouse College and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one applause Moreover I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors applause These are the times for real choices and not false ones We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions but we must all protest Now there is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam I say we must enter that struggle but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit and if we ignore this sobering reality applause and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy and laymen concerned committees for the

    Original URL path: http://blog.reconstructno.org/tag/MLK (2016-05-02)
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  • Know Your Empire - it-just-keeps-getting-better
    the media is that our values the values of the Republic have been attacked again The narrative is the same one we heard after the Charlie Hebdo masssacre We are a beacon of civilization and They are barbarians Fundamentally in this country where turning an elegant phrase and finding le mot juste is so highly valued it s no more sophisticated than Junior Bush s They hate us because we re so free No one can deny that this was a terrorist attack But nobody mentions the fact that terrorism is simply a weapon of war used by peoples states who face an overwhelmingly strong enemy The nascent Israel used terrorism against the British and no one would dare criticize it today But no terror is an entity like Islam or well freedom These are not people using terror as a weapon never mind the fact that our Western states sytematically use terror against domestic and foreign populations they re just terrorists by nature by birth just as we are free and democratic by birth And yet we re told that this was an act of war that France is at war and that a state of emergency has been declared A state of emergency is essentially martial law though the term is studiously avoided The executive can declare it for a period of twelve days after which the legislature can prolong it by vote a vote the elected representatives of the people would unhesitatingly take just as the US Congress voted overwhelmingly to adopt the USAPATRIOT Act Indeed France s citizens even though they may well be familiar with Franklin s words are probably willing to surrender a measure of freedom in order to have security The discourse about our values the values of the Republic may be hard to swallow but not only do we swallow it we get on the bandwagon and organize huge demonstrations to show that we are free and unafraid When it s a question of us against Them who will deny that we are we and that he or she is not one of Them We buy into the meme and help put flesh on its bones And it becomes part of our culture and as such that much easier to swallow the next time around until we end up thinking that it really is in our nature to be free and fair and enlightened and that They really are slaves to their beliefs submissive and benighted And the result is that no one ever asks a simple question like Since the Socialist President of France learned to admire the role of Commander in Chief and realized that since the Charlie attacks he has a line of credit for extending the military since France decided to make its modest contribution to the West s civilizing program and help oust Assad and keep the money flowing to its own arms makers and perhaps get back part of its former empire how many people have been killed in Syria and Iraq due to France s bombing How many civilians In any event I haven t heard it asked yet in the French media Everyone is blinded by the light of our beloved Republic that beacon of democracy and solidarity with the oppressed peoples And as a matter of fact will the media really entertain the question of who it is we re really at war with Of who the killers actually were Of who We really are Tuesday 22 July 2014 What Did US Spy Satellites See in Ukraine By credited author on Tuesday 22 July 2014 15 23 Exclusive The U S media s Ukraine bias has been obvious siding with the Kiev regime and bashing ethnic Russian rebels and Russia s President Putin But now with the scramble to blame Putin for the Malaysia Airlines shoot down the shoddy journalism has grown truly dangerous says Robert Parry Continue reading Thursday 20 March 2014 EU Parliament statement of concern over Ukraine s Svoboda Party By credited author on Thursday 20 March 2014 10 04 The EU Parliament had issued a statement of concern over the Svoboda Party now in power in Ukraine and considered the legitimate government by the US in December 2013 including the following point European Parliament resolution of 13 December 2012 on the situation in Ukraine 2012 2889 RSP The European Parliament 8 Is concerned about the rising nationalistic sentiment in Ukraine expressed in support for the Svoboda Party which as a result is one of the two new parties to enter the Verkhovna Rada recalls that racist anti Semitic and xenophobic views go against the EU s fundamental values and principles and therefore appeals to pro democratic parties in the Verkhovna Rada not to associate with endorse or form coalitions with this party Monday 3 March 2014 Twilight of the Gods By credited author on Monday 3 March 2014 13 45 I ve been thinking back on my youth recently on the 60s and on how convinced we were back then that there was such a thing as progress on how sure we were that by the time we were old the world would have changed I was an American and I had been raised on perpetual progress in all areas technology human rights quality of life and was sure that the world would be a more peaceful and prosperous place by now But now as I watch the news on television I see that sabers are again rattling that the Russians are being warned by the US State department that the consequences will be severe if they attempt to keep Crimea in their sphere of influence The TV news doesn t mention the fact that the crisis in Crimea that is in Ukraine was directly caused by the US and its NATO allies through their fomenting the overthrow of the Yanukovich government Why The supposed reason is that Yanukovich in Ukraine and Putin in Russia are despotic leaders and that the real majority of the people not the elites whom these near dictators serve aspire to true democracy The kind of democracy that exists in the US and France and the UK for example The real reason is that Washington and NATO have a master plan for continually extending their influence throughout the globe and that that master plan involves breaking up what was once the USSR into a number of smaller states that can be brought into the NATO fold and their resources channeled into the coffers of the elites in the NATO countries This is of course in direct contradiction with the promises made at the time of the breakup of the former USSR and the de facto dissolution of the Warsaw pact that NATO would not expand into the territory formerly covered by the Pact Back in the 60s and for decades before then the US and its allies were engaged in the same kind of interference in the affairs of other parts of the world always on the pretext of protecting democracy or midwifing freedom or some similar formulation Iran in 1953 and Guatemala in 1954 are examples that immediately come to mind Never was it admitted that the machinations and when the machinations failed the direct military interventions were in fact intended to protect the vital interests meaning the financial interests of the USA meaning the elite that was in power and is still in power And of course there is another reason for the machinations and the ever present threat of military action that is always in the background justifying the existence of the US NATO military machine and the 1 67 trillion spent on it annually Spent or should we say extracted from the populations of the US and the NATO countries As I grow old and face the world of today where the progress of technology seems to have been accompanied by regression in human rights and quality of life I can only wonder watching the news how my attempts to make sense of my own life and make peace with my own past natural as old age approaches can make any sense in such a context It s as if the leaders of the world were eternally young and eternally stupid like the gods of the mythology our culture is founded on It s as if we when I say we I mean we as Americans as French as German or as British as represented by the leaders we have duly elected through our admittedly imperfect but at least functioning democratic processes were trying to play at being Immortals by interfering in the lives of ordinary people to satisfy our own infantile need to have our way our childish greed never being satisfied with the wealth we have or our pusillanimous desire to know everything everyone everywhere is thinking and saying Is our democratic system really such a model for the rest of the world when those we put in power behave in this way How much longer can we remain human if we continue to allow our leaders to play at being gods source SIPRI Wednesday 18 September 2013 UN Report on Ghouta Gas Incident Points to Evidence Tampering not Syrian Culpability By credited author on Wednesday 18 September 2013 08 43 The United Nations report on the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Ghouta area of Damascus on August 21 does not as newspaper headlines have indicated point to Assad s use of gas 1 confirm that rockets were loaded with sarin 2 or come closer to linking Assad to sarin attack 3 Nor as US officials and some journalists have declared does it reinforce the case that Mr Assad s forces were responsible 4 confirm Damascus s responsibility 5 or undercut arguments by President Bashar al Assad of Syria that rebel forces had been responsible 6 This isn t to say that Syrian forces didn t use chemical weapons only that the evidence adduced in the UN report doesn t show or even suggest that they did On the contrary the report offers stronger evidence that attempts were made to manipulate evidence to attribute blame to the Syrian government Continue reading Thursday 12 September 2013 Uncovering Britain s secret role in protecting Chile s 1973 coup By credited author on Thursday 12 September 2013 08 16 by Grace Livingstone theguardian com Wednesday 11 September 2013 08 01 BST Forty years on declassified documents reveal an outpouring of concern from the British public over Pinochet s coup and the Foreign Office s attempt to undermine the solidarity campaign Forty years ago today when General Augusto Pinochet overthrew Salvador Allende the elected president of Chile democrats across the world were horrified But not the British Foreign Office Declassified government documents show British diplomats reserved their harshest criticism for human rights campaigners and journalists trying to alert the world to the disappearance and torture of thousands of Chileans The head of the Foreign Office s Latin America department complained Chileans must be wondering why on earth so much unfair attention is being paid to their change of government The answer is that Chile is now being subjected to the full treatment by an international front organisation the Chile Solidarity Movement Chile has been chosen by the organised left as a new crusade Intelligence officers were sent to infiltrate the Chile Solidarity Campaign a movement backed by Labour MPs trade unions students and church groups The secret service reports declassified earlier this year can now be seen at the National Archives in Kew Journalists were another Foreign Office target Complaining of black propaganda against the Chilean armed services British officials tried to manipulate the news When a team from the BBC Panorama programme visited Chile in November 1973 staff at the British embassy secured them maximum co operation from the junta The embassy was optimistic about the slant of the documentary which included interviews with members of the Anglo Chilean business community speaking approvingly about the coup A British embassy official wrote The balance of the programme should be 60 to 75 favourable to the new regime The embassy was not so pleased with a World in Action Granada TV team that arrived at the same time The same official wrote I gathered that the WIA producer came to cover torture and shootings Granada s activities were certainly known to the junta whose press secretary told me that they had been seeing things they should not see An FCO official back in London scrawled on the letter Ominous news about the World in Action film But the archives also tell a more heartening story an outpouring of concern and solidarity from the British public In battered brown folders sheaves of letters urge Edward Heath s government to take action against Pinochet letters from an elderly couple in Leicester an appalled family from London from academics students Labour party branches and the Bath Women s Liberation Front There is even a telegram from a young Gordon Brown But most numerous are the letters from trade unionists The shipbuilders union urged the government not to sell warships to Pinochet even though losing these contracts could threaten their own jobs The government s response To send spies to shipyards across Britain to check workers were not sabotaging vessels destined for Chile When Labour came to power in 1974 it cut off arms sales aid and credit to Pinochet and in 1977 withdrew the British ambassador But existing arms contracts were to be honoured so trade unionists took matters into their own hands Employees at East Kilbride engineering yard in Scotland refused to fix bomber plane engines destined for Chile forcing Rolls Royce to break its contract with the Chilean air force This forgotten history of solidarity will be celebrated across Britain today the 40th anniversary of the coup Unsurprisingly when Pinochet s most prominent defender Margaret Thatcher came to office in 1979 diplomatic relations were soon restored and arms sales resumed Declassified papers reveal that by June 1982 her government had sold the dictatorship two warships 60 blowpipe missiles 10 Hunter Hawker bomber planes naval pyrotechnics communications equipment gun sights machine guns and ammunition A unique attempt at a British ethical foreign policy had ended Wednesday 4 September 2013 Understanding the Syrian Civil War By credited author on Wednesday 4 September 2013 09 30 With President Obama asking Congress to back a military strike to punish Syria for alleged chemical weapons use the U S is lurching toward a new war Beyond doubts about what happened and whether a U S missile attack will help there is scant public understanding of the Syrian conflict notes Mideast expert William R Polk Continue reading Friday 26 April 2013 Syria Things Move Fast By credited author on Friday 26 April 2013 21 33 Isn t it funny that just a week after the Boston bombings and the announcement that a terrorist plot driven by Iran was foiled in Canada the word has gone out that what we have feared for so long or to put it another way what we have been prepared to accept for so long has come about Dr Assad has stepped over the red line or is at least standing on it with one foot ready to come down on the other side the former is the Republican take the latter the Democrat In contrast take a look at this note the date March 19th http www informationclearinghouse info article34344 htm And look quick because it might not be there much longer Also note how Chuck Hagel said yesterday that the reports were not to be taken seriously while stopping short of criticizing Israeli intelligence Reuters Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday the U S effort to determine whether Syria has used chemical weapons is a serious business that cannot be decided in a rush just because several countries believe evidence supports that conclusion Suspicions are one thing evidence is another Hagel told reporters as he wrapped up a visit to Egypt that included talks about Syria and other regional issues I think we have to be very careful here before we make any conclusions and draw any conclusions based on real intelligence That s not at all questioning other nations intelligence But the United States relies on its own intelligence But today 24 hours later Mr Hagel stepped over the line ABU DHABI United Arab Emirates AP U S intelligence has concluded with some degree of varying confidence that the Syrian government has used sarin gas as a weapon in its 2 year old civil war Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday Hagel speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi said the White House has informed two senators by letter that within the past day our intelligence community does assess with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria specifically the chemical agent sarin It violates every convention of warfare Hagel said When you re a new defense secretary you learn fast one comment Tuesday 5 March 2013 Control of Perception by the Military Financial Complex A Textbook Case By credited author on Tuesday 5 March 2013 16 09 Current events have caught up with this post It started when I bought my son who was studying for his brevet exams here in France the brevet is your ticket out of middle school and into high school a review workbook for his Civics exam The educational system being highly centralized in France the curricula are nationwide and schoolbook publishing is a lucrative industry Which may explain why French capitalists and their friends in politics tend to take an interest in it But I m getting ahead of myself My son began studying the book and at one point came and showed me the caption on a picture in a section entitled Les menaces pour la paix et la sécurité Threats to

    Original URL path: http://blog.reconstructno.org/category/Know-Your-Empire (2016-05-02)
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