Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King & Non-Violence

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 80th birthday, and while Barack Obama and CNN focus on his other important beliefs (commitment to public service, and struggle for civil rights, respectively), his belief in non-violence should not be ignored.

In fact, his commitment to non-violence as a means of social change was as important as his commitment to any of his other beliefs, and, I might suggest, overshadowed his other views because, he believed, his other views could not be implemented without being done so through the means of non-violence.

A few days ago NPR broadcast a piece about a heretofore unknown 1959 recording of Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking on All India radio of his belief in non-violence and the importance it had in his vision of social change.

I quote directly from his speech: "No nation can win a war. Today we no longer have a choice between violence and non-violence, it is either between non-violence, or non-existence."

The NPR piece can be found here.