Today the US celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. He was born on January 15, 1929.
Most of us think of King as the leader of the civil rights movement for African-Americans. Yet he was a strong advocate for non-violence, having been influenced by the Christian scriptures as well as the example of Gandhi.
Many forget that King was also a major critic of US foreign policy – in particular, the Viet Nam war. Though advised by many to keep quiet he spoke out boldly against the war, especially in his “Beyond Vietnam” speech (transcript here) which he gave exactly a year before he was killed.
Here is an extract that still challenges the nations of the world, especially the US:
I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.