Tag Archive: Martin Luther King


I Am Not Your Negro directed by Raoul Peck (USA, 2016)
i_am_not_your_negro

The story of Black men and women in America is not a pretty one. This is an understatement. From slavery and segregation to the present day struggle to convince diehard bigots that their lives matter, the story is dominated by violence and oppression.

This sobering documentary may focus mainly on events from the past but it is no abstract history lesson.

The film is based on James Baldwin’s ‘Remember This House’, his uncompleted memoirs about Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers; three prominent civil rights activists who were all assassinated in the 1960s before they reached 40. Continue reading

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mlkFifty years ago today, Martin Luther King  jr. delivered his historic and still profoundly moving I Have a Dream”  speech to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Gary Younge has written a wonderful article on the background and legacy to this astonishing piece of oratory.  He ends with words that MLK himself might have been proud of:

“The idealism that underpins his dream is the rock on which our modern rights are built and the flesh on which pragmatic parasites feed. If nobody dreamed of a better world, what would there be to wake up to?”

Last week on a newstand at my local train station in Cesena, Italy, I spotted a copy of a big fat paperback about ‘the lies behind 9/11’  by David Icke, entitled ‘Alice nel paese delle Meraviglie e il Disastro delle Torri Gemelle’ (Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Centre Disaster’).

If you are a Brit of a certain age, this author’s name will be forever associated with a notorious interview on the Terry Wogan show in 1991 where he claimed to be the ‘Son of the Godhead’.

Well, to be fair, he didn’t actually say this in so many words; he just didn’t deny that this was his calling when the question was posed.

Not surprisingly, the British public were not prepared for the second coming to be announced on prime time TV by an ex-sports presenter wearing a turquoise shell suit.

The fallout from this interview was immense and immediate. Icke, at that time a soccer correspondent for the BBC and Green Party spokesman, was subjected to a massive level of ridicule.

It wouldn’t have been surprising if, after this experience,  he had gone to ground for ever or fled the country. Instead, and against all the odds, he weathered the storm and has gradually reinvented himself as a  visionary figure whose self-appointed role is to awaken global citizens from a living nightmare of false illusions and mind manipulation. Continue reading

THE AUDACITY TO DREAM

In both content and cadence, the elegiac oratory of  Barack Obama to commemorate his historic victory reminded me a lot of Martin Luther King’s historic Lincoln Memorial speech in 1963.

Obama’s repeated ‘yes we can’ at the close of the beautifully judged 17 minute  speech echoed King’s ‘I have a dream’ refrain.  It is a technique more common with preachers than politicians but is highly effective in building the momentum of the words to a climax.

Obama’s calm, conciliatory tone is also reminiscent of another great black leader Nelson Mandela.

Placing Obama on a par with such towering figures may be premature but only such superlatives seem appropriate at this point.

Seeing Jessie Jackson fighting back the tears was an incredibly moving moment and to inspire such a response is a measure of Obama’s charisma and illustrates the huge expectations that follow his unbelievable victory. 

The sense of negativity and apathy towards politics seems for the moment to have been swept aside.

Truly a defining moment in world politics.

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