5 Responses to Like it or not, MLK is an Icon of Moral Engagement. Part 2

  1. LB says:

    These past few days as news has spread of whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s commuted sentence, I’m reminded of the incredible moral courage it took for her to reveal the true face of war.

    Journalist Chris Hedges attended Pvt. Manning’s 2013 military trial and had this to say in his 2013 Truthdig article titled, “We Are Bradley Manning”:

    “The short, slightly built Manning told the military court Thursday about the emotional conflict he experienced when he matched what he knew about the war with the official version of the war. He said he became deeply disturbed while watching a video taken from an Apache helicopter as it and another such craft joined in an attack on civilians in Baghdad in 2007. The banter among the crew members, who treated the murder and wounding of the terrified human beings, including children, in the street below as sport, revolted him. Among the dead was Reuters photojournalist Namir Noor-Eldeen and his driver, Saeed Chmagh.”


    Chelsea Manning paid a high price for following her conscience in revealing U.S. war crimes, more than most of us could probably imagine or bear. And unlike other heroes and icons, those whose messages no longer pose much of a threat to our system or way of life, Manning continues to be either reviled or her plight ignored by most of our elected representatives ~ including Bernie Sanders, John Lewis, and other progressives and liberals, who, to the best of my knowledge have remained silent on the issue of Manning’s unjust imprisonment. If I’m mistaken about Sanders or Lewis (and I hope I am), I’d appreciate someone providing a link.

    I did read how John Lewis at one time had voiced support for Edward Snowden (another morally engaged whistleblower) by pointing out he had answered to a higher law in doing what he did. Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, says Snowden should be penalized for breaking the law, *nothing* about providing stronger legal protections for whistleblowers.

    • kathiemm says:

      Hi LB. In your comment, you indicated that Bernie Sanders said that Snowden should be penalized for breaking the law. I did some searching and what I found was the following quotation:“He [Snowden] made a decision,” Sanders said. “He knew what he was doing and he will pay the consequences whatever that may be. But let’s not get distracted from what the real issue is. The real issue is not Snowden. The issue is what he revealed.”
      [http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/recent-business/why-i-dont-care-about-edward-snowden?] Another source comments that “Sanders argues that there should be some form of resolution that would acknowledge both the “troubling revelations” that he {Snowden] had brought to light and the crime that he committed in doing so, that would “spare him a long prison sentence or permanent exile. Sanders joins 20 other prominent public figures – from Hollywood actors and rock musicians to politicians, professors and Black Lives Matter activists – who call on Barack Obama to find some way of allowing Snowden to return home to the US from exile in Russia. ” I also did read several sources critical of Sanders for not taking a stand to protect whistleblowers.

      • LB says:

        Thanks, Kathie for the Sanders’ quotes on Edward Snowden. Since I left my first comment (and to be fair), I actually found an article from September 2016 which mentions a Sanders’ tweet in support of a pardon for Snowden. Maybe growing public pressure coming from various groups and individuals played a role in forcing him to take a stronger position.

        In this same article, the representative for Amnesty International, Naureen Shah, in referring to charges against Snowden, said:

        “We don’t think that anyone should be charged for disclosing human rights violations. It’s so important that the message is clear to every human rights activist around the world and every potential whistleblower that when you witness human rights violations, you should come forward. That’s an act of heroism, not a criminal act.”


        Or, to put it another way:

        “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

        Unfortunately, those who obey the voice of conscience and who also grasp the far-reaching hand of injustice don’t get or stay elected. It’s not the way our system is set up, not how the game is played.

      • LB says:

        Thought it might help if I provided a link with the Sanders’ quote I originally referred to. You’re right Kathie, in that Bernie Sanders had much more to say about Snowden and “the important role he played in educating the public”, but also that, “… he did break the law, and I think there should be a penalty to that”:


        Sorry for not including the link the first time.

  2. Barbara says:

    As I read Dr. Malley-Morrison’s essay, an old saying from my childhood popped into my mind: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I was so moved by the thoughts expressed by Martin Luther King that the other side of the quoted maxim suddenly lit up like a guiding star. The right words can inspire and motivate us to follow the leadership of men and women dedicated to changing the world for the better. And “better” means that those leaders will be dedicated to the goal of a peaceful world for every human being on earth.

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