posted today on Light-on, my photoblog, to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
My thoughts and notes:
Taken on March 24th, 2007 at the annual march in Buenos Aires commemorating the start of the “Dirty War” in Argentina 31 years earlier, and the heroic work and protest of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo responding to governmental terrorism that “disappeared” their children. The speeches honored the Mothers' continued work in searching for their children and fighting on many social justice fronts in Argentina since the time of the military dictatorship in the 70's, and more recently the devastating economic collapse in 2001.
I chose this shot specifically to honor Martin Luther King Jr. day. Though the battles were and are much different between the fight for racial justice in the U.S. and the fight against the terrorism and oppression of the state in Argentina, one of the undeniable foundations of King's movement was the philosophy and practice of non-violent civil disobedience, which was equally foundational for the movement of the “Madres”, and I dare say the only reason it has succeeded as it has.
In Martin Luther King Jr.'s prophetic words on August 28th, 1963:
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
May we be inspired to service today and all days, seeking justice for those crying out for our help, and for those oppressed in silence. May we never lose our faith as we challenge the systems and powers that mercilessly exploit and cheapen our humanity. May we in this generation have the strength of character and the clarity of purpose to realize our dreams for this world.