The Price for Using the ’63 Movement is a Peace Conference on Syria

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The Price for Using the ’63 Movement is a Peace Conference on Syria

It is morning, August 28, fifty years after the historic March on Washington and President Obama is participating in celebrations on the Lincoln Memorial steps. At the same time, he’s said to be considering authorizing action in Syria. I’m sorry Mr. President, but you cannot simultaneously commemorate a nonviolent movement and contemplate military strikes.

The King family charged for use of Dr. King’s words and image on the Memorial so many visited this weekend. If there can be a charge for use of a man’s words can’t there also be a charge for use of his movement?
 
What would be a fair price? It can’t be more lofty presidential words. President  Obama has given us volumes of words -- on closing Guantanamo, ending torture, and respecting the Constitution, even as he’s kept open prison, expanded the war on terror, and let loose another on the Constitution with NSA spying and wiretaps.  There have been no trials for war criminals or war profiteers or banksters, but there have been agonizing trials for whistleblowers, the poor and the weakest amongst us.

Dr. King talked in ’63 about the “fierce urgency of now.” This is your now, Mr. President. It’s time not to speak, but to act.

The price for your use of the ’63 march should be a Peace Conference.
 
As Patrick Cockburn, who’s covered the region thoughtfully for years puts it today.

only a peace conference can do for Syria what airstrikes and armed intervention can not,. Only a peace conference can “bring to an end the present bloody stalemate.”
 
Air strikes have a habit of leading to intervention, reprisals, more slaughter, more arms race.  When the end we seek is “a community at peace with itself,” as King said, only nonviolence stands a chance of success.
 
President Obama needs to walk back from his red line pledge of action, regardless of the consequences to his image or himself. Moral courage is called for. But the movement he praises today was built by much costlier personal sacrifice.
 
Dr. King and Obama have something in common: they both received a Nobel Peace Prize.  Of his own, King said “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.”

A world as horrified by the prospect of more bloodshed as it is by the blood that has already been shed, wonders what King would do today and waits upon a president.  

Listen to the F Word on SoundCloud: here.
published August 28, 2013 by GRITtv