beyond vietnam speech

We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. They know they must move on or be destroyed by our bombs. 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. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation’s only noncommunist revolutionary political force, the unified Buddhist Church. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. * And I cannot forget that the Nobel Peace Prize was also a commission, a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for the brotherhood of man. 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. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. On April 4, 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke from the pulpit of the Riverside Church in New York City and called for an end to the Vietnam War. They must see Americans as strange liberators. As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated: And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. 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. "[10], King also criticized American opposition to North Vietnam's land reforms. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that “America will be” are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. Now let us begin. Could it be that they do not know that the Good News was meant for all men—for communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? But we must move on. So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. It is also a much more dangerous and disturbing speech, which is … It is not addressed to China or to Russia. It demands that we admit we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. After more than 40 years, it still sounds revolutionary (Hansen, p. 175-177). For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history. (Yes) And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. 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. 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. But even if it were not present, I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? King, “ Beyond Vietnam, ” 4 April 1967, NNRC. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. Through his use of imagery, diction, and parallel structure, Martin Luther King Jr associates the war in Vietnam with injustice in his famous speech, “Beyond Vietnam – A Time to Break Silence.” Martin Luther King Jr. applies imagery throughout his speech in order to illustrate the horrors of the war to arouse anger at its atrocities and injustice. Martin Luther King: “Beyond Vietnam” (1967) In April 1967 American civil rights leader Martin Luther King delivered his best known anti-war speech, dubbed ‘Beyond Vietnam’: “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. We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. "[9], King opposed the Vietnam War because it took money and resources that could have been spent on social welfare at home. But the man who spoke at Riverside Church that day was not universally admired. 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. While those words from 1963 are necessary, his speech “Beyond Vietnam,” from 1967, is actually the more insightful one. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything on a society gone mad on war. What of the National Liberation front, that strangely anonymous group we call “VC” or “communists”? If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. The speech began conventionally. In 1957, when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: “To save the soul of America.” We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself until the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood—it ebbs. [applause] These are the times for real choices and not false ones. . Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. It was written by activist and historian Vincent Harding. 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. These are revolutionary times. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. On April 4, 1967, Martin Luther King delivered his first major public statement against the Vietnam War, entitled "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence." We must stop now. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. Exactly one year before his assassination, on April 4, 1967, Rev. Over the last eight years, I have had the privilege of preaching here almost every year in that period, and it’s always a rich and rewarding experience to come to this great church and this great pulpit. Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence Rev. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read “Vietnam.” It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. "[15] Or will there be another message—of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? He summed up this aspect by saying, "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. 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. I’m not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave a speech that may have helped put a target on his back. [20][21], In a 1952 letter to Coretta Scott, he said: "I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic ..."[22] In one speech, he stated that "something is wrong with capitalism" and claimed, "There must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. [17][18] 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? “Beyond Vietnam”, Silence is Betrayal: Martin Luther King’s Historic 1967 Speech Introduction by Michel Chossudovsky. We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.” Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. 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? King, Statement on voter registration in Alabama, 9 March 1965, MLKJP-GAMK. His speech "Beyond Vietnam" was condemned by many civil rights leaders who thought it hurt their cause. "[25] King condemned America's "alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America", and said that the U.S. should support "the shirtless and barefoot people" in the Third World rather than suppressing their attempts at revolution. Five: Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Agreement. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. "[25] King quoted a United States official who said that from Vietnam to Latin America, the country was "on the wrong side of a world revolution. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroy, whose culture is being subverted. Now there is little left to build on, save bitterness. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor, both black and white, through the poverty program. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. 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