Martin Luther King III calls for non-violent revolution

February 17th, 2009 - 9:56 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) Condemning the Mumbai terror attacks as a “negative form of conflict”, Martin Luther King III Tuesday called for a non-violent revolution and underlined that the world needs to engage terrorists in dialogue and reconciliation.
“The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the genocide in Darfur, the continued unrest in Israel and Palestine, the blatant abuse in Burma and the tragic bombing in Mumbai are some of the most extreme examples of negative conflict in nations around the globe,” Martin Luther King III, the son of iconic American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., said in a lecture here.

Invoking the ethics of non-violence of Mahatama Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., he underlined that terrorists need to be engaged in dialogue and reconciliation.

“Condemnation is not enough. We need to engage them in dialogue and reconciliation,” King III told IANS on the sidelines of the lecture.

Describing the 20th century as the most violent throughout all civilisation, the civil rights activist underlined that this century is “no less violent and arguably more dangerous than the one before”.

“If we are to be followers of Kingian and Gandhian ideology we must usher in a new non-violent revolution for the 21st century,” he said while delivering the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Memorial Lecture, named after India’s first education minister.

The lecture was organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) at the auditorium of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.

Martin Luther King III, the eldest son of Martin Luther King Jr and Coretta Scott King, is on a 13-day trip to India to retrace the India “pilgrimage” of his father and iconic civil rights leader 50 years ago.

King Jr. had spent a day at the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad on March 1, 1959 and was so powerfully affected by the experience that he loved telling the story of Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement to his American followers.

A team of African-American legislators including US House Representative and civil rights leader John Lewis is accompanying King III to various places associated with the historic 1959 journey.

“This challenge demands a special kind of leadership if humanity is to thrive and prosper in peace and security,” he said while describing his visit to India as “a spiritual pilgrimage”.

He also underlined the need for taking forward Mahatma Gandhi’s and his father’s message of peace and tolerance to make the world a better place to live in.

“Not everyone can be a Gandhi or a Martin Luther King Jr, but everyone can embrace their teachings about compassion and non-violence and use them to work for a better world,” he said while stressing the need to create “a beloved community” that is founded on the principles of interdependence of humanity and non-violence.

“My father spoke of a beloved community that is not a place, but rather a state of heart and mind, a spirit of hope and goodwill that transcends all boundaries and barriers and embrace all creation,” he said.

King III, who is founding president and CEO of Realizing the Dream, Inc., a nonprofit organisation formed to carry on the legacies of his parents, will also go to the Sabarmati Ashram from where Gandhi started a 322-km walk to Dandi in south Gujarat to scoop out handfuls of sea salt in defiance of British laws.

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