Tag Archives: freedom

Martin Luther King Jr. Day – United States

mlkihaveadreamgogo

Martin Luther King Jr. Day – United States 

I Have a Dream 

Delivered August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. 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 a 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 they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always 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 the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. 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 our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.” We cannot 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 jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — 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. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Martin Luther King Jr.  

The Plight of Mohammed al-Ajami

al-ajamiOver the last few years we have written about the plight of Mohammed al-Ajami, a poet who is serving a sentence of 15 years in Qatar for writing and reading a poem that was offensive to the Emir. He was initially sentenced to a life sentence. As reports of his situation fade we remain hopeful for his release. Many of us take for granted our rights to freedom of expression. There are places in this world where a simple act such as writing a poem will separate you from your family and land you in prison. Such is a place is Qatar, the owners of Aljazeera News and Aljazeera America.

mohammadalajami

We are hopeful the regular readers of this blog will take some action. You can call the Qatar embassy and leave a message at (202) 274-1600 (press 1 four times to leave a message with the ambassador’s office).  Those in other nations should contact the Qatar embassy in their nation.  Over at Code Pink there is a link to send a letter to the embassy and additional information on Mohammed al-Ajami http://codepink.salsalabs.com/o/424/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=7122 On September 25th it was reported his latest appeal was denied  http://qatarwatch.net/wp/news/qatar-court-upholds-poet-mohammed-al-ajamis-sentence/

Step up and don’t forget Mohammed al-Ajami

 
 The Poem
 .
Mohammed al-Ajami
 .
We are all Tunisians (Tunisian Jasmine)
 .
Mr. Prime Minister Mohamed al-Ghannoushi
You don’t hold constitutional power
We don’t wax nostalgic for Ben Ali or his times
For us that’s past history
The dictatorship of a despotic and oppressive regime
Against which the people have raised their revolutionary voice
We only criticize the disgrace and the horror
And when we praise somebody it’s only because of our personal convictions
Oh revolutionary hail the struggle with the blood of the people
Carve the value of rebellion in the soul of the free
And tell those who are holding their shroud
That every victory bears its ordeals
Ah, when shall it be the turn of that country whose foolish king
Believes he can rely on the American military
Ah, when shall it be the turn of the country whose people are empty bellied
While its government time and again praises the growth of finance?
Ah, when shall it be the turn of the country where you go to sleep a citizen
And you wake up stateless the next morning?
Ah, when shall it be the turn of that repressive and hereditary regime?
Until when shall you remain a slave to selfishness?
Until when shall the people remain unaware of its value
And fail to choose its own government?
Enough with tyrannical regimes!
Tell the one who torment his people
That tomorrow someone else will take his place
He should not rest assured that the country belongs to him or his offspring
Because the country belongs to the people and so does glory
Join your voices in a chorus for a single destiny
We are all Tunisian in the face of repression
Governments and Arab governments
Are all- without exception
A gang of thieves.
And there is a question that rings obsessively in the minds of those who wonder
But shall never be answered by the official sources:
If we import all kinds of things from the West
Why can’t we import freedom and the rule of law?

 

Free Mohammed al-ajami – Not Forgotten

freedomal-ajami court_flippedAs we celebrate our rights to free expression in the United States on this July 4th, Qatar poet Mohammed al-ajami remains in his prison cell for writing a poem the emir found offensive. We have not forgotten him and remain committed to finding him a road to freedom. You shouldn’t forget either.

Our Posts Calling for the Release of Mohammed al-ajami

https://foxchasereview.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/qatar-in-the-news-mohammed-al-ajami-still-in-prison/

https://foxchasereview.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/senator-toomey-reaches-out-to-state-department-concerning-mohammad-al-ajami/

https://foxchasereview.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/senator-casey-weighs-in-on-mohammed-al-ajami/

https://foxchasereview.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/january-27th-freedom-for-poet-mohammad-al-ajami/

https://foxchasereview.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/robes-in-a-bunch-sends-poet-to-prision-for-life/


 The Poem 
Mohammed al-Ajami
We are all Tunisians (Tunisian Jasmine)*
Mr. Prime Minister Mohamed al-Ghannoushi
You don’t hold constitutional power
We don’t wax nostalgic for Ben Ali or his times
For us that’s past history
The dictatorship of a despotic and oppressive regime
Against which the people have raised their revolutionary voice
We only criticize the disgrace and the horror
And when we praise somebody it’s only because of our personal convictions
Oh revolutionary hail the struggle with the blood of the people
Carve the value of rebellion in the soul of the free
And tell those who are holding their shroud
That every victory bears its ordeals
Ah, when shall it be the turn of that country whose foolish king
Believes he can rely on the American military
Ah, when shall it be the turn of the country whose people are empty bellied
While its government time and again praises the growth of finance?
Ah, when shall it be the turn of the country where you go to sleep a citizen
And you wake up stateless the next morning?
Ah, when shall it be the turn of that repressive and hereditary regime?
Until when shall you remain a slave to selfishness?
Until when shall the people remain unaware of its value
And fail to choose its own government?
Enough with tyrannical regimes!
Tell the one who torment his people
That tomorrow someone else will take his place
He should not rest assured that the country belongs to him or his offspring
Because the country belongs to the people and so does glory
Join your voices in a chorus for a single destiny
We are all Tunisian in the face of repression
Governments and Arab governments
Are all- without exception
A gang of thieves.
And there is a question that rings obsessively in the minds of those who wonder
But shall never be answered by the official sources:
If we import all kinds of things from the West
Why can’t we import freedom and the rule of law?
.
g emil reutter 2– g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa. (USA).  http://gereutter.wordpress.com/

Qatar in the News – Mohammed al-Ajami still in Prison

Qatar in the News

emir.

Qatar plans $11B oil field redevelopment

Qatar sees no worrying rise in concentration of bank lending

Qatar Seeks to Be Global Hub for Culture

Qatar is doing quite nicely in the world. They own cable news networks, spend billions of dollars, reassure investors and of course now want to be a global hub for culture. The city of Philadelphia welcomed their airline with glee.

And there is this……

Poet Mohammed Al-Ajmai

Poet Mohammed Al-Ajmai

The poet is serving a 15 year sentence for writing and reading a poem the Emir was affronted by. Embassies have been contacted, legislators have been contacted, even former Vice-President Al Gore has failed to act, (he sold his cable network to Qatar.) This powerful economic force we know as Qatar is afraid of a poet writing and reading a poem.  A global hub for culture? Over 15,000 people have signed a petition for his release. Still he sits in jail. I encourage you to sign the petition,   (http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=7041 , a few more signatures may help. More importantly we cannot forget the poet.

A visit to the poet was prevented: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/qatar-authorities-thwart-pen-prison-visit-with-al-ajami-229125471.html

The Poem 
.
Mohammed al-Ajami
.
We are all Tunisians (Tunisian Jasmine)*
.
Mr. Prime Minister Mohamed al-Ghannoushi
You don’t hold constitutional power
We don’t wax nostalgic for Ben Ali or his times
For us that’s past history
The dictatorship of a despotic and oppressive regime
Against which the people have raised their revolutionary voice
We only criticize the disgrace and the horror
And when we praise somebody it’s only because of our personal convictions
Oh revolutionary hail the struggle with the blood of the people
Carve the value of rebellion in the soul of the free
And tell those who are holding their shroud
That every victory bears its ordeals
Ah, when shall it be the turn of that country whose foolish king
Believes he can rely on the American military
Ah, when shall it be the turn of the country whose people are empty bellied
While its government time and again praises the growth of finance?
Ah, when shall it be the turn of the country where you go to sleep a citizen
And you wake up stateless the next morning?
Ah, when shall it be the turn of that repressive and hereditary regime?
Until when shall you remain a slave to selfishness?
Until when shall the people remain unaware of its value
And fail to choose its own government?
Enough with tyrannical regimes!
Tell the one who torment his people
That tomorrow someone else will take his place
He should not rest assured that the country belongs to him or his offspring
Because the country belongs to the people and so does glory
Join your voices in a chorus for a single destiny
We are all Tunisian in the face of repression
Governments and Arab governments
Are all- without exception
A gang of thieves.
And there is a question that rings obsessively in the minds of those who wonder
But shall never be answered by the official sources:
If we import all kinds of things from the West
Why can’t we import freedom and the rule of law?
.
.
g emil reutter– g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa. (USA)  http://gereutter.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

A Visit with Lincoln With Carl Sandburg

Abraham-Lincoln-The-War-Years-and-the-Prairie-Years-by-Carl-Sandburg-6-Volumes We normally concentrate on poetry and fiction here at The Fox Chase Review, but over the last week or so I had a visit with Sandburg’s Lincoln. While Lincoln is the core of this six volume set, Sandburg wraps not only national events but world events and progress around Lincoln. As you read through the volumes, the change in our manner of communication abounds, cruelty of war, intrigue of politics and society, slaves in the south, wage slaves in the north, the ever expanding movement west and the inventive minds at work across the United States. These events and the people involved come to life as the pages of this work unfold. Each volume contains poetry by not only poets of the day but by Lincoln himself, an extra bonus I believe. These volumes reveal a country in transformation socially, economically, and scientifically. Throughout the volumes I was struck by not only the violence of the civil war in the United States but the daily violence of society in general in the developing democracy.  Lincoln by Carl Sandburg is not only worth a visit by people in the United States in order to gain a knowledge of our past but for those in developing nations who strive toward freedom and democracy. There are lessons for all to learn from this masterpiece by Sandburg. For those in the Philadelphia area who desire to read the six volumes of Lincoln by Carl Sandburg, you can find the set at Ryerss Musuem and Library, http://www.ryerssmuseum.org/ , simply fill out a library card and check them out. Others can check local libraries or surf the web for a copy.

g emil reutter

g emil reutter

-g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa. (USA). You can visit him at http://gereutter.wordpress.com/

Ben Franklin Weighs in on the NSA Scandal in the United States

6.19.13.PWcover

Philadelphia Weekly has published an editorial by Ben Franklin concerning the NSA scandal in the United States. The original editorial by Franklin was edited by Eric San Juan to comment on the issues of the day.  You can read the editorial at this link: http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news-and-opinion/Ben-Franklin-has-an-opinion-on-the-NSA-surveillance-scandal.html

Senator Toomey Reaches out to State Department concerning Mohammad al-Ajami

Senator ToomeyMohammed al-Ajami

We have received information from the staff of Senator Pat Toomey, (R-PA), that they have reached out to the Department of State concerning  imprisoned Qatar Poet Mohammad al-Ajami. We will update when more information is forthcoming.  You can contact Senator Toomey via his website:  http://toomey.senate.gov and let the Senator know of your support for the release of the poet.

Our previous articles:  January 27th – Freedom for Poet Mohammad al-Ajami ?, He’s still in prison for writing a…. poem, Robes in a Bunch Sends Poet to Jail for Life