Thursday, January 23, 2014

Confrontation is central to human rights movements

With Martin Luther King day coming not long after the death of Nelson Mandela, the fundamental essence of these two heroes has been saccharinized into something that completely misrepresents their struggle and that of their movements.

They both rejected or came to reject violence. But they both recognized that confrontation was essential to any sort of fundamental change. It would've been nice if they could simply have gotten on their knees and pleaded to their masters for basic humanity dignity, as the comfortable chastised them for not doing. But, as King rebuked them in Letter From a Birmingham Jail, this doesn't work in the real world.

Confrontation of injustice - those who tolerated it as much as those who inflicted it directly - was central to these movements and human rights struggles in this country and around the globe. It'd be nice if 'please' alone worked in these situations. But it never does.

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