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

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India among heavily impacted by Covid-19, China 'notoriously' evading transparency

By NS Venkataraman* With the year 2020 inevitably ending in the next few weeks, the thought amongst the people all over the world is whether the coming year 2021 will be free of Covid-19 (often dubbed as Wuhan virus, as it known to have spread from Wuhan in China).In the early 2020, many people thought that Covid-19 would be a localized affair in China but later on, it proved to be a global pandemic.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.