"All humans are members of the same body Created from one essence"

"Human beings are members of a whole in creation of one essence and soul. If one member is afflicted with pain, other members uneasy will remain."

Friday, 22 April 2011


“Two plus two is four. Never five, much less six or seven, as we have sometimes pretended.”

president of Cuba, proposing term limits for the country's politicians


The Streets in Syria

Open quoteThe street is in one world and the President and the regime are in another.Close quote


  • director of the human-rights group INSAN, on the uprising in Syria; the government on Tuesday issued a warning to citizens to end the protests, following a crackdown on one of the biggest demonstrations yet http://www.time.com/time/quotes

  • Sunday, 17 April 2011

    Capoeira: The silent language of gestures!

    My son (16)  has been practising capoeira for almost one year and he loves it!

    My son has a great capoeira's mestre called Fassasi. They have a roda every Sunday from 8:30 to 11:30.
    The MESTRE or teacher called Fassasi opened a school of capoiera in Cotonou, Rep of Benin. 

    Capoeira is an acrobatic, danced game done to distinctive vocal and instrumental music. Derive from African challenge dances and shaped by slavery in Brazil, Capoeira has become today a form of physical education and martial art around the world.

    Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines dance movements, acrobatics, fighting, music, history, and philosophy. After the abolition of slavery, Capoeira continues to develop as an instrument of resistance and freedom, serving as a political weapon against repression and a tool to retain African traditions and philosophies.

    In a Capoeira JOGO, two players strive to outmaneuver, trip, or knock each other to the ground using a wide array of kicks, head butts, leg sweeps, and evasive maneuvers. 

    My son has learned to balance aggression with a need to demonstrate dexterity, creativity, and artistic flair in response to changes in music provided by a small orchestra. 

    My teenager has learned to play the berimbau. Since he knew how to play the guitar, it was not difficult for him to master the berimbau. The berimbau has an unusual timbre produced by striking a rod and a ring or coin on a metal string attached to a bow with a resonating dried gourd.
    To learn capoeira, my son watched carefully experienced players, trying to copy techniques, rehearsing movements over and over again until he became very good at capoeira, and in turn, he is becoming a model for other novices. 

    He tends to learn the art's movements and musical techniques by seeing and doing them rather than by talking about them. He learned through one-on-one instruction, observation, and self-guided practice with his Mestre Fassasi.

    Imitative learning in capoeira is facilitated by what educational theorist Lev Vygotsky called "more capable peers." The more knowledgeable other serves as both model and instructor."

    Through the art of capoeira, my son is able to see life's injustices and at the same time he can offer a strategy with which to confront them. 

    Capoeira is a celebration of life in bodies that suffer from oppression, an expression of freedom which allows the poor to feel rich and the weak, strong! 

    In Brazil, African slaves practiced the martial art in a clandestine fashion, as a form of cultural celebration and self-defense on plantations. 

    Today, capoeira is open to people of all ages, genders, nationalities and ethnicities.

    Thursday, 14 April 2011


    More democratic regimes would lead to less military aggression and international terrorism. But democracy requires a history of civic traditions that many authoritarians countries do not have! Some countries, after decades of oppressive autocratic rule, are not ready for democracy. 

    Democracy is needed throughout the world. By helping to guarantee freedom and human rights, democracy can improve the lives of people regardless of their cultural background or religion.  

    Democracy is universally applicable and must be actively promoted. People who have experienced authoritarian regimes are more receptive to a political process that protects their liberty.

    Wednesday, 13 April 2011

    La Loi Anti Burqa

    L'Islam n'est pas la burqa! Il ne faut pas mélanger! 

    Le Sarkozysme est devenu synonyme de communication destinée à intoxiquer l'opinion. Les musulmans ne veulent pas que l'Islam soit instrumentalisé. La burqa pose un problème de sécurité, certes, mais il y a d'autre moyens que l'on peut trouver pour stopper l'usage de cette robe a cagoule! 

    The national idendity debate is allowing racist and Islamophobic views to masquerade as 21st century patriotism.

    I dislike the burqa because it compromises the public safety. The Quran does not ask women to wear the burqa. Islamic scholars say that the full face veil is a cultural relict and not an Islamic religious duty. 

    The burqa is not an Islamic duty but I don't think that banning it is the answer! The debates must come from within the religion, not imposed from without! We should not, we must not denigrate another culture! 

    We should engage the community in a Socratic dialogue about the burqa and educate the young generation.
    I respect the women who have chosen to wear the veil (which has nothing to do with the burqa). They believe that in keeping their physical attributes out of the public is a sign of high discipline. We need to respect their choice. They are free to cover their head and their body if they wish so. That is their choice and we need to respect it. As long as we can see their face, then where is the problem!!

    Now, in France, a woman who wears the niqab (burqa) can be taken to a police station and she can be fined 205$ and ordered to attend re-education classes.

    Mais que la loi contre la burqa devienne de" l'hijabphobie", la ça devient un probleme! L'interdiction du voile n'est que la manifestation d'une dérive droitière de la République à un an des présidentielles. Sarkozy et l'UMP cherchent désespérément à enrayer la percée de Marine Le Pen dans les sondages.

    "Chercher la Science, quand meme ce serait en Chine"

    Phoenix, fabulous bird that periodically regenerated itself, used in literature as a symbol of death and resurrection.

    According to the legend, the phoenix lived in Arabia; when it reached the end of its life (500 years), it burned itself on a pyre of flames, and from the ashes a new phoenix arose.

    As a sacred symbol in Egyptian tradition, the phoenix represented the sun, which dies each night and rises again each morning. According to Herodotus, the bird was red and golden and resembled an eagle.

    The phoenix symbolizes immortality, resurrection, and life after death. On some of the oldest and best pictures the bird resembles a heron. Ovid and Mela told that the phoenix bird built itself a nest of Incense and died in it.

    According to Artemidor, the bird burned in its nest made by incense and myrrh, after which a new phoenix bird emerged from the ashes.

    In 1850 Andersen published a short prose hymn called "The Phoenix Bird"

    In "The Phoenix Bird" the phoenix bird is connected with the garden of Paradise and with the fall of man:

    "Beneath the tree of knowledge in the garden of paradise stood a rosebush. And here, in the first rose, a bird was born. His plumage was beautiful, his song glorious, and his flight was like the flashing of light. But when Eve plucked the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and she and Adam were driven from paradise, a spark fell from the flaming sword of the angel into the nest of the bird and set it afire. The bird perished in the flames, but from the red egg in the nest there flew a new bird, the only one of its kind, the one solitary phoenix bird. The legend tells us how he lives in Arabia and how every century he burns himself to death in his nest, but each time a new phoenix, the only one in the world, flies out from the red egg."

    Petronella wrote, "Let the bird of loudest lay/ On the sole Arabian tree / Herald sad and trumpet be / To whose sound chaste wings obey."

    Thursday, 7 April 2011

    Genetically Modified Food

    Is it safe to interfere with the genes of plants? It could disturb the entire ecosystems and result in unintended environmental and health consequences.

    Several studies indicate that when rats were fed a diet of genetically modified vegetables, they developed serious health problems! If we introduce genetically altered plant life into a stable ecosystem, it could alter the fragile biosphere in ways no one can accurately predict.

    The first genetically altered plant was developed in 1983. Luis Herrera-Estrella, a Mexican scientist, used the Agrobacterium tumefaciens method to insert antibiotics into a tobacco plant's genetic structure.

    Organic farmers who grow fruit and vegetables near fields of GM crops fear that their own crops could become "contaminated" by altered genes, effectively ruining their plants' organic status."

     Corn and wheat have been altered to enable them to resist the toxic effects of herbicides and to contain their own insecticide within their genetic structure. 

    Do you think that food with genetically modified ingredients should be labeled?

    Tariq Ramadan Debates Moustafa Bayoumi on Proposed Islamic Center Near Ground Zero

    AMY GOODMAN: The ninth anniversary of the September 11th attacks was marked on Saturday here in New York by the somber memorials and prayer services of years past. But this weekend’s 9/11 anniversary commemoration was also marked by rising tensions, with thousands of people taking to the streets of Lower Manhattan in opposing rallies for and against the plans to build an Islamic community center two blocks from Ground Zero.

    The protests drew an array of people from around the country and the world. At the rally opposing the Islamic community center, former UN ambassador John Bolton addressed the crowd by video. Meanwhile, the Dutch anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders, who tried to ban the Quran in Holland, flew to New York and spoke before hundreds gathered to oppose the center’s construction.

    GEERT WILDERS: Ladies and gentlemen, let me start by saying, "No mosque here!"  
    COMMUNITY CENTER OPPONENTS: No mosque here! No mosque here!  
    COMMUNITY CENTER OPPONENT 1: This is a cemetery here. This religion wants a little respect from us. They should give us a little respect in return. It’s a two-way street.  
    COMMUNITY CENTER OPPONENT 2: I’m opposed to the establishment of sharia law replacing our Constitution. I’m opposed to the "victory mosque."  
    US VETERAN: This is my country. I fought for it. And I think we were attacked, and that’s why I’m here. This mosque is not going to be a religious mosque; it’s going to be for terrorists to learn more about how to do wrong to this country. And all I would say, if they want to have a mosque here, we should have a Catholic church in Saudi Arabia.  
    COMMUNITY CENTER OPPONENT 2: Imam Rauf, Feisal Rauf, when he put the mosque on Ground Zero, he is provoking a response, and he understands what he’s getting. But what he doesn’t realize is he has awakened a sleeping giant. I think he never heard of Pearl Harbor, but he’s going to understand the ramifications of it.
    GEERT WILDERS: We must draw the line so that New York, rooted in Dutch tolerance, will never become new Mecca.

    AMY GOODMAN: Also this weekend, Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who had announced and then suspended plans to burn copies of the Quran, arrived in New York Friday seeking a meeting with Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the proposed Muslim center. While he did not burn any Qurans, some imitators adopted his idea. Near the White House, ten members of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue tore pages from the Quran. Near Ground Zero, a man burned what appeared to be a page of the Quran.

    Meanwhile, thousands of supporters of the Islamic community center rallied at City Hall Park, two blocks from the proposed site. They voiced their support for the center and spoke out against anti-Muslim bigotry.

      IMAM TALIB ABDUR-RASHID: We were all attacked that day, and we all died that day. And we all responded that day. 
      COMMUNITY CENTER SUPPORTERS: Justice! We want! Justice! We want! Justice! Say no to hate! Say no to hate!  
      COMMUNITY CENTER SUPPORTER 1: The shrill voices on the other side of this issue, of Muslims being equated with terrorism, Islam being equated with terrorism, should not be the only voices heard on this important date of September 11th.
      COMMUNITY CENTER SUPPORTER 2: We believe in the core values of our democracy: pluralism, freedom of speech, freedom of religion. And you don’t have it if all but one religion are welcome two-and-a-half blocks from Ground Zero. You don’t have it if New York is a mosque-free zone.  
      REP. KEITH ELLISON: The message that the world should take from this is that despite anybody claiming that America is wracked with Islamophobia, it isn’t. America is full—the majority of the people believe in religious liberty and believe in religious acceptance and inclusion, and that the majority of Americans honor our diversity.

    AMY GOODMAN: That last voice, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, speaking the night before at yet another vigil in support of the mosque, one of the many voices supporting the Park51 project.

    I’m joined now by two guests who disagree about the proposed construction of the proposed Islamic center.

    Tariq Ramadan is on the phone with us from Oxford, professor of contemporary Islamic studies at St. Antony’s College at Oxford University. He’s the author of a number of influential books on Islam and Europe. He penned an op-ed in the Washington Post Sunday. In it, he makes the case that the center should be built elsewhere. He joins us on the phone from Oxford.

    Joining us on the phone here in New York is Moustafa Bayoumi, associate professor of English at Brooklyn College. He is the author of How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America, also editor of the new book Midnight on the Mavi Marmara: The Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and How It Changed the Course of the Israel/Palestine Conflict.

    We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Let’s go first to Oxford to Professor Ramadan. Why do you feel—and it might surprise many, the op-ed piece that you wrote—that the community center should not be built near Ground Zero?

    TARIQ RAMADAN: Look, first, of course I’m aware of all the discussions, and I’m supporting anything which has to do with the rights of Muslims and American Muslims living in the States. I think that this is clear even in the op-ed that I wrote for the Washington Post.

    My position is that in this situation, where we are struggling with something which is now built—is instrumentalized by, you know, political forces in the state and trying just to make it a symbol, I would say that the Muslims should think about, you know, the overall picture of their struggle for their rights and respect in the country. So, in my position, if this is a symbol—and we have to listen to this collective sensitivity of the Americans after what happened in September the 11th—is to say, look, on that, we can understand. We are not accepting anything which has to do with, you know, a free Muslim zone, but we should listen to what is said and what is felt. But at the same time, it was—should be quite clear that our struggle for our rights—you know, there are twenty mosques that are now facing problems in the local areas, because people are rejecting. It’s a very huge struggle. But sometime, we have to think about the symbol. And my position is, if this is possible, Muslims should think about, you know, not being instrumentalized in the whole process by political forces, but, say, understanding the collective sensitivity and to go for the struggle and saying we are not going to accept America becoming a country which is—has something which is an institutionalized discrimination and racism.

    AMY GOODMAN: Professor Bayoumi, your response?

    MOUSTAFA BAYOUMI: Well, I certainly—excuse me, I certainly understand the desire to lower the temperature today on this hot-button issue, but I really think that we have to ask ourselves, you know, what kind of society do we want to live in? Are we going to be a society that’s ruled by our passions or by our principles? And I feel that if we adopt the view that we are willing to trade away the mosque to another location, then we’re also willing to trade away the principle of the free exercise of religion for Muslim Americans. And that’s true not just then for Muslim Americans, but really for all Americans. I feel that, by now, the issue has become so important that it has to be something that we understand as being a central question around our rights as a collective, as a nation. And I feel that there’s something at stake here that is missed if we’re only looking at being sensitive to what is a controversy that is fueled by outside forces.


    AMY GOODMAN: Professor Ramadan?

    TARIQ RAMADAN: Yes, if I may say something about this, because it’s as if, you know, it’s a decision based on emotions and something which is taking a [inaudible] sensitivity as just emotion. It’s exactly opposite, in fact. I think that the whole issue, even by the people who are behind it from the very beginning, to build something which is $100 million there, I think that from the very beginning, there is a trap here. And I would say that sometimes when we are dealing with emotions in the States, we have to rationally, reasonably take this into account and say if this, this symbol, is there—and that we can understand why the people are reacting in such a way—it’s not to struggle for our rights. It’s exactly the opposite. It’s to take advantage of this situation by saying, OK, we get it, the emotional reactions here, and we respect that. But it means that everywhere in this country, for our rights, our respect, we should struggle, and we need to find people saying that there will be never Muslim-free zones in this country and that we have to support all of the mosques that should be built in the country. So the symbol of one should help us with the struggle of all the others. And I think that this is something which is important. My fear today is to see Muslims reacting on a defensive way—these are our rights—not understanding that by being obsessed with this, they may—they could miss the point of a rational struggle in the whole country.

    MOUSTAFA BAYOUMI: I think it would go the other way around, unfortunately. I mean, I think that once the mosque—or, it’s not even a mosque. That’s the other issue.

    TARIQ RAMADAN: Yeah, yeah, OK.

    MOUSTAFA BAYOUMI: It’s an Islamic center. It’s modeled on the 92nd Street Y. It’s a cultural center. It’s meant to be a place where people from all different faiths and all different backgrounds can come together. So—but once that location is moved, I think actually it becomes much easier to move every other Islamic center and mosque in the country, wherever the community is. If a new mosque wants to be built, the opposition can say, "Well, you know, in New York they moved it. Why can’t you move it five blocks or ten miles or over to the next town from here?"

    TARIQ RAMADAN: I don’t think so. I really think that we have to take into account the fact that, yes, it’s not Ground Zero. It was built—it’s instrumentalized. But to use this situation, by saying we understand what is happening in New York, and the great symbolism of this, this we can accept that. And we can accept why 60 percent of the Americans, they are not all racists. And we can accept this. But it means, at the same time, that we are not bowing down in any other cases. And this is something that I said in the op-ed, is that, if possible, go for this. But I think that today the Muslims are trapped in something which is our rights, and we’ll go for it. I can understand this position, but I’m just a bit afraid that this is going to be instrumentalized and is already instrumentalized, from the very beginning, because we know that for five months no one was talking about the issue, and then it’s coming, and this is instrumentalized by political forces, neocon and others. And I think that the Muslims may be sometimes more reasonable in the way they are looking at the issue.

    AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break and then come back to this discussion. We’re speaking to Professor Tariq Ramadan on the phone from Oxford University in Britain, and in studio here, Moustafa Bayoumi, associate professor at Brooklyn College, author of the book How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America. We’ll be back with them in a minute.

    AMY GOODMAN: We’re discussing the Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero, having a debate on this issue, not your typical debate—for example, those who have been protesting for and against outside the cultural center—but between Moustafa Bayoumi, associate professor at Brooklyn College, author of How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America, and the leading Muslim scholar, Tariq Ramadan, of Oxford university. Actually, Professor Ramadan was supposed to take up a professorship at Notre Dame here in the United States, but days before he and his family were to move here, the Bush administration revoked his visa and he was banned from the United States for six years. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reinstated that visa recently, and he was able to come into the United States.

    But Professor Ramadan, in light of your own experiences in the United States, that might further surprise people about your position to say, well, at least for now, this cultural center shouldn’t be built so close to Ground Zero.

    TARIQ RAMADAN: Yes, I think that, you know, my position on this is really, from the very beginning, what I said is a very—it’s a bad good idea, because of the symbol, and I knew who is behind the project and who is supporting that. I can understand that many religious, you know, communities are supporting and representatives. But I think that this very specific project, for me, in itself, is problematic. And I think it’s not helping the understanding of Muslims about their rights. And I want to make it clear. I am not saying that we don’t have to struggle for our rights. I’m saying exactly the opposite. But sometimes you have to take into account the psychology, the collective psychology, and what is happening around you, to take things into account and to push for the real life of Muslims at the grassroots level and at the local level. And I think that this is what I’m saying mainly.

    And I would say that the Muslims should be very, very cautious not to be instrumentalized by pushing and supporting some project, and you don’t know what is going out of it, is going out of this project, this very project. And this is where I’m quite cautious with the whole issue. And yes, people could be surprised, but I think that they have maybe to think in a deeper way about the stragedy. My point is never, never to be on the defensive, to apologize for being Muslims, but to understand that we are struggling for our rights. But we understand sometimes the sensitivities around us and sometimes also how a society could build leadership from within by putting some pressure. Let us talk about this, as well, from within the community.

    AMY GOODMAN: You know, it’s interesting, just as Professor Ramadan was banned from the United States, Moustafa Bayoumi, your book, How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? wasn’t a problem when it was first put on the list to be required reading at Brooklyn College. But this year it became one.

    MOUSTAFA BAYOUMI: Yes. My book was released two years ago, and it—without incident. It garnered good reviews. It was selected for other colleges for their common readings. But then, Brooklyn College selected it this year for their freshman common reading, and suddenly there was a—the right-wing blogosphere lit up with acrimony against the decision, claiming that the book was going to indoctrinate students to a pro-Islam, anti-American point of view—purely ideological kind of attacks on a book that they clearly hadn’t read. I was surprised and shocked by the phenomenon, and continue to be so, and actually feel that it’s part of this moment that we’re living in. Clearly, I don’t recognize myself or my book in the discussions, so it seems that it’s almost—that it’s entirely too easy just to take anything that has anything Muslim-sounding to it and to banish it away into controversy.

    AMY GOODMAN: And finally, Tariq Ramadan, I know you have to leave, but in the United States, I’m sure you’ve heard the polls saying 20 percent of people think President Obama is a Muslim, and among the Republicans I think it’s up to somewhere near 50 percent. Your thoughts on this?

    TARIQ RAMADAN: No, I think it’s just reflecting the situation in the United States of America. And by the way, in fact, in all Western societies we have exactly the same problems. In Europe and in the States now, the atmosphere is very bad about just being a Muslim. So when we mistrust, there is a mistrust towards the President—"Oh, he’s a Muslim, a [inaudible] Muslim." I think that he is not a Muslim, we should say it. He is now asking the American society to just abide by its very values, which is freedom of religion. And this is what we have to say. So, the Muslims should be clear on this. And it just reflects the situation in the country, where there is a wave of, you know, anti-Muslim perception and sometimes racism. It’s built on ignorance, but also political forces using all these issues and controversies to build on it. And I think the Muslims should really be aware, from within, they belong to this country, they fight and struggle for their rights, but they are also dealing with sensitivities, and they should be—show some kind of intellectual empathy, struggling, but at the same times understanding.

    AMY GOODMAN: And if you were Imam Rauf right now, Professor Ramadan—


    AMY GOODMAN: If you were Imam Rauf right now, the person who is spearheading the Park51 project, what step would you take now?

    TARIQ RAMADAN: I think that I would just take—you know, something which is to consult the community. I think that it was a project on his own he was going to have and supported by the State Department, supported by other religious communities, and there is a lack of internal communication. I think that this is where the problem started.

    AMY GOODMAN: Tariq Ramadan, I want to thank you very much for being with us, a professor at Oxford University. Moustafa Bayoumi, your final comments? Also, something interesting here is, you begin your book, How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?, talking about an infiltrator among a group of friends. And I would think right now the FBI is deeply concerned, because, unfortunately, it has used mosques around the United States as places to infiltrate, to gather friends around it to talk about what is going on. And now, with mosques under siege, there might be some very complicated feelings at the FBI. Could you talk about how you begin your book?

    MOUSTAFA BAYOUMI: Sure. I talk, in the beginning of my book, about a young man—talking to a young man who had a friend who was an informant for the police and the FBI for one of the terrorism trials, and how that had began a whole feeling of mistrust for him and for a lot of his friends, and he had to know exactly who to trust and who not to trust after that. And I think what happens in times like this is that feelings of suspicion and trust are elevated to enormous degrees. And that comes through, I think, in some of the other stories in the book, as well. But what is most important, it seems to me, out of that, is a deep desire to actually get to know one another more clearly, understand each other more deeply. And my book itself is actually seven stories of seven young Arab Americans and their lives after September 11th. And it’s really an attempt to try to empathize with their situation. And I feel, if I may return to the controversy surrounding my book, that that, in fact, may be a threat to some people out there today. The idea that you could actually empathize with the difficulties that young Arab Americans would have today seems like it, itself, is somehow threatening to the outside forces. And at the same time, it also seems to me that empathy is perhaps the most important political emotion that we could have today.

    AMY GOODMAN: And importantly, the president of Brooklyn College has stood behind you—


    AMY GOODMAN: —in keeping your book as a common reading for students.

    MOUSTAFA BAYOUMI: Yes, that’s right. And in fact, the events went forward. The students have read the book. There wasn’t a single complaint from a student surrounding the book and its choice and its selection as the common reading. I’ve received only good comments from students about the book. So this, again, seems to be a controversy that was begun from outside and fomented from outside.

    AMY GOODMAN: Moustafa Bayoumi, thanks so much for coming back, author of How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America. And his latest book, just coming out, is called Midnight on the Mavi Marmara: The Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and How It Changed the Course of the Israel/Palestine Conflict. We’ll have you back to talk about that.


    Tariq Ramadan, professor of contemporary Islamic studies at St. Antony’s College at Oxford University. Author of a number of influential books on Islam and Europe. 
    Moustafa Bayoumi, associate professor of English at Brooklyn College, CUNY. He is author of How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America and the editor of Midnight on the Mavi Marmara: The Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and How It Changed the Course of the Israel/Palestine Conflict.

    Tariq Ramadan Debates Moustafa Bayoumi on Proposed Islamic Center Near Ground Zero

    Tariq Ramadan Debates Moustafa Bayoumi on Proposed Islamic Center Near Ground Zero

    Wednesday, 6 April 2011

    Bob Marley "War"


    Bob Marley "The dream of lasting peace"

    Until the philosophy which hold one race superior
    And another
    Is finally
    And permanently
    And abandoned -
    Everywhere is war -
    Me say war.

    That until there no longer
    First class and second class citizens of any nation
    Until the colour of a man's skin
    Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes -
    Me say war.

    That until the basic human rights
    Are equally guaranteed to all,
    Without regard to race -
    Dis a war.

    That until that day
    The dream of lasting peace,
    World citizenship
    Rule of international morality
    Will remain in but a fleeting illusion to be pursued,
    But never attained -
    Now everywhere is war - war.

    And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes
    that hold our brothers in Angola,
    In Mozambique,
    South Africa
    Sub-human bondage
    Have been toppled,
    Utterly destroyed -
    Well, everywhere is war -
    Me say war.

    Good over evil -
    War in the east,
    War in the west,
    War up north,
    War down south -
    War - war -
    Rumours of war.
    And until that day,
    The African continent
    Will not know peace,
    We Africans will fight - we find it necessary -
    And we know we shall win
    As we are confident
    In the victory

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

                                      I Have a Dream Speech


    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 a sign 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

                    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, 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!