Saturday, March 6, 2010

Martin Luther King: Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek but a means by which we arrive at that goal

Martin Luther King on war and peace in Where Do We Go From Here? Chaos or Community:
A final problem that mankind must solve in order to survive in the world house that w have inherited is finding an alternative to war and human destruction. Recent events have vividly reminded us that nations are not reducing but rather increasing their arsenals of weapons of mass destruction. The best brains in the highly developed nations of the world are devoted to military technology. The proliferation of nuclear wapons has not been halted, in spite of the limited-test-ban-treaty.

In this day of man's highest technical achievement, in this day of dazzling discovery, of novel opportunities, loftier dignities, and fuller freedoms for all, there is no excuse for the kind of blind craving for power and reesources that provoked the wars of previous generations...The question is, do we have the morality and courage to live together as brothers and not be afraid? Many men cry "Peace! Peace!" but they refuse to do the things that make peace.

The larger power blocs talk passionately of pursuing peace while expanding defense budgets that already bulge, enlarging already awesome armies and devising ever more devastating weapons...The heads of all nations issue clarion calls for peace, yet they come to the peace table accompanied by bands of brigands each bearing unsheathed swords.

The stages of history are replete with the chants and choruses of the conquerors of old who came killing in pursuit of peace. Alexander, Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne and Napoleon were akin in seeking a peaceful world order, a world fashioned after their selfish conceptions of an ideal existence. Each sought a world at peace which would personify his egoistic dreams. Even within the life span of most of us, another megalomaniac strode across the world stage. He sent his blitzkrieg-bent legions blazing across Europe, bringing havoc and holocaust in his wake. There is grave irony in the fact that Hitler could come forth, following nakedly expansionist theories, and do it all in the name of peace.

So when in this day I see the leaders of nations again talking peace while preparing for war, I take fearful pause...

Before it is too late, we must narrow the gaping chasm between our proclamations of peace and our lowly deeds which precipitate and perpetuate war. We are called upon to look up from the quagmire of military programs and defense commitments and read the warnigns on history's signposts.

One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek but a means by which we arrive at that goal...How much longer must we play at deadly war games before we heed the plaintive pleas of the unnumbered dead and maimed of past wars?

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