Skip to main content

I have a dream... that one day racism, xenophobia, jingoism, casteism, pseudo-nationalism, gender bias will be a thing of the past

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
It was Martin Luther King Jr Day in the United States on January 15. Many would have truly celebrate his memory and the rich legacy, which he has left all. Not many will forget his memorable speech ‘I have a dream’ on 28 August 1963 during that famous ‘March on Washington’. That speech, with those immortal words, is regarded as the defining moment of the civil rights movement.
Martin Luther King (MLK) was a committed disciple of Jesus and he never fought shy of that; besides he was greatly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and his twin doctrine of truth and non-violence. The spirit, the vision and legacy of MLK, belong today to the whole world.
If MLK were alive today, he would still be deeply concerned about what is still happening to his people; he would be even more concerned at the ‘state of affairs’ all around him. Given his passion to set things right, he would tell the world that he is still dreaming…and he would loudly and boldly say:
I have a dream
That one day, discrimination and divisiveness will no longer exist: that racism, xenophobia, jingoism, casteism, pseudo-nationalism, gender bias and all other forms of exclusiveness will be a thing of the past.
I have a dream
That one day, our borders will no longer be closed to the refugee, to the migrant, to the stranger, to those who belong to another religion. We will welcome those who flee war or persecution, or perhaps want to come here for a more secure life , we will protect them, promote their rights and ensure their integration in our society; at the same time we will also remember that most of us or our forefathers, were migrants, refugees and even slaves.
I have a dream
That one day, we will all be building beautiful bridges and not gigantic walls or fences to keep people out. Our bridges will be our hearts and minds; our attitudes and actions, our humility to reach out in compassion to those who need us the most ; to be merciful to those who seek our forgiveness and above all, our embrace for the least, lost and lonely.
I have a dream
That one day, we will realise that all women , children and men are created in the image and likeness of God; all are equal and endowed with dignity, There are neither s***thole countries nor s***hole people on this earth; for God our Creator in whom we trust, these categories do not exist.
I have a dream
That one day we will truly be able to treat women and all those with a different sexual orientation with the respect and equity, they deserve; that the #MeToo movement that has taken us by the storm will truly be as Oprah Winfrey put it so beautifully the other day “a thing of the past”.
I have a dream
That one day our swords will be turned into ploughshares; that our profiteering, bloodletting military-industrial complex is shut down. They will no longer produce weapons which are used almost daily to kill others domestically; and weapons of mass destruction which are sold to poorer nations. That we will no longer boast that, we have a ‘nuclear button’, but in fact, we would learn from other nations to totally denuclearize; that non- violence permeates every section of our society.
I have a dream
That one day Justice for all will characterize our way of proceeding! That we will realise that injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere; that we will truly take a stand for those who are victimized, oppressed and exploited. That our Courts and the legal system, uphold the sanctity of our Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the inalienable Rights of every citizen.
I have a dream
That one-day climate change is our major concern; that we would have stopped our wasteful over- consumption and greed; that our lives would become simpler; that we become fully aware that we are in many ways responsible for global warming which have an adverse effect on the lives of millions of people everywhere.
I have a dream
That one day all our children – irrespective of their colour, ethnicity, religion, nationality or race – will be able to walk hand in hand – sharing and living joy, love, peace with one another.
I have a dream
That one day we will all have the courage, the spontaneity, the honesty and the unbridled happiness to sing, “Free at last! Free at last! Great God almighty, we are Free at last!”
... Yes dear MLK, you are still dreaming – but you challenge everyone on this planet today to make your dreams a reality. Making an effort to do so will perhaps be the greatest tribute to you!
---
*Indian human rights activist, currently based in Lebanon, with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in the Middle East on advocacy and communications

Comments

TRENDING

Banned? Indian ports 'received' 38 US plastic waste containers reexported from Indonesia

By Rajiv Shah
An Indonesia-based international environmental watchdog group has dug out what it has called “a global pollution shell game”, stating how officials in Indonesia approved re-exports of “illegal” US waste shipments containing plastics mainly to India, as also to other Asian countries -- Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam -- instead of returning them to the US “as promised.”

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Cops' 'inability' to deliver justice? Model Gujarat ranks 12th among 18 major states

By Rajiv Shah
A Tata Trusts study, released in Delhi on Thursday, has ranked “model” Gujarat 12th out of 18 major states it has analysed across India to “assess” the police's capacity to deliver justice. Several of the advanced states such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as well as some of the so-called Bimaru states such as Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are found to have ranked better than Gujarat.

People's pressure? GPCB mining cancellation 'notice' to top cement unit in Gujarat

By Sagar Rabari*
Environmental Clearance (EC) was given to Ultratech Cement Co Ltd for limestone mining in villages Talli and Bambhor of Talaja taluka in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat on January 5, 2017. EC was issued ignoring, overriding and undermining opposition from local farmers to mining activity in the area. The mining in these two villages covers an area of 193.3268 hectares (ha), while the entire project is spread over an area of 1,715.1311 ha.

Visually challenged lady seeks appointment with Gujarat CM, is 'unofficially' detained

By Pankti Jog*
It was a usual noon of November 10. I got a phone call on our Right to Information (RTI) helpline No 9924085000 from Ranjanben of Khambhat, narrating her “disgraceful” experience after she had requested for an appointment with Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani. She wanted to meet Rupani, on tour of the Khambhat area in Central Gujarat as part of his Janvikas Jumbesh (Campaign for Development).

Bullet train acquisition: Land holding worth Rs 1.5 crore, Gujarat govt 'offer' Rs 8 lakh

By RK Misra*
Foundation stones laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi litter India’s cities, towns and villages, but there are few projects which he has pursued with such perseverance and tenacity as the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train one. However, the overwhelming state power notwithstanding, the farmers, whose lands are being acquired for the Modi government’s dream project, have no plans to give up the fight.

NHRC notice to Gujarat chief secretary following silicosis deaths in Rajkot

By Our Representative
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Gujarat chief secretary and the district magistrate, Rajkot, to respond to a complaint filed by health rights activist Jagdish Patel of the People's Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, regarding the alleged death of Raju Prakash Parihar and two others reportedly because of silicosis, a fatal occupation disease, in Rajkot, one of Gujarat’s top cities.