Saturday, June 20, 2009

MLK lives on

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

The tweets come in, tweeters from all over saying unimportant and important things. One links me to an article about the jerseys a baseball team is wearing. Another points me to a video in which a woman dies in her father's arms, the victim of a brutal regime. I see the paradox between the sacred and the profane, the lively and the mundane, freedom and tyranny. The irony of celebrating the Civil Rights Movement at a baseball game while a nation spills its blood for civil rights of its own is not lost on me.

This baseball game bombards us with media coverage while the struggling nation across oceans and deserts suffers from a government-imposed media blackouts. Tonight we'll see morons behind homeplate on cell phones and waving like happy idiots while a dictatorship has cut off nearly all phone services.

Yet, the celebration in Cincinnati is not profane. It is warranted, overdue, appropriate. A gross injustice has been overcome in America, a hideous chapter of history that seems almost unreal to those of us who grew up in the post-Civil Rights Movement generation. Perhaps in thirty-five years, Iranians, too can celebrate at a football game their own liberation from the iron fist of oppression. Perhaps they can wear the same jerseys as those brave Iranian players wore when they dared to don green wristbands in their game against South Korea. God grant them that gift.

And so today while we celebrate progress and freedom in America, we must not forget the grave injustice that still exists throughout the world, that a nation takes to the streets in peaceful protest while its government murders its citizens, that we must never, ever give up in the struggle for civil rights, for human rights, for liberty and justice for the whole world.

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