"A page of history is worth a volume of logic"
-Oliver Wendell Holmes
A MUST READ - This quotation is embodied in this article.
This story on RADAR is fascinating for anyone interested in the role the media and pundits played in promoting the Iraq war.
It details the post-war fortunes of mainstream, supposedly centrist/progressive writers who promoted the war and those who warned against the war and presciently and accurately predicated what would happen if the war happened.
Summary: Tom Friedman lives in a $10 million dolar mansion and Robert Scheer was fored from the L.A. Times.
So "24" premiered last night. Jack Bauer spent 20 months in a Chinese prison being tortured. When being handed back to America the Chinese official says "tell your President that after almost two years Mr. Bauer did not speak a single word."
Does that mean torture doesn't work? A few scenes later a terrorist gets a knife in his knee and confesses, does that mean torture works? I'm confused.
Today is Martin Luther King day. He remains one of my heroes. A man who studied the life and works of Christ, Ghandi and countless other men of peace and learned a way of effecting change without DOING HARM to others. A man who proved that when injustice surrounds you and rightness is on your side you can speak truth to power and move people to action without picking up a gun. He proved that when you are beaten and violence is done to you can "turn the other cheek" and create a new world.
But the life of MLK is also a lesson in the fact that violence is an ingrained and genetic part of human nature. No matter how peaceful you or your cause are violence in some form is inevitable. His movement was met with violence and his life was ended in the most violent of ways. He was an inspiration in life and a martyr in death.
In our cynical and terrorist filled days the word martyr has been disfigured.
It has become the very word that expresses dying for a cause while DOING violence rather than suffering for a cause while doing no harm to others.
The Hippocratic oath begins with DO NO HARM. Each of us can live a better life and make the world a better place by saying those words each day when we wake up.
DO NO HARM. Then do whatever else you want to do the rest of the day. The results are amazing.
In my maturity I have accepted that war, violence, torture and injustice have been a part of human existence from the dawn of time and always will be. I no longer harbor the youthful ideal that these things can be eliminated from the world.
Instead I do what I can to take action to prevent them, to speak out when they do happen, alleviate the suffering of victims and to DO NO HARM myself.
That is the lesson I have learned and the one I honor today.
You don't need to be a martyr to create change, you only need to be inspired by one.