Thursday, August 28, 2008


Today, on the 45th anniversary of the unforgettable speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I was watching NBC's Today show, when I noticed that Al Roker, their weatherman-at-large was in Liverpool, England in search of his ancestral roots.

The ships plying the slave trade of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries apparently had a circular route. They started in Liverpool, went to Africa to pick up the captured and chained slaves, and brought them to the British Colonies in the Caribbean, picked up cotton and other goods, sailed to Liverpool, delivered their cargo and then went back to Africa to do it all over again!

Apparently, there were meticulous logs kept on this human "merchandise", and the birth, baptism and marriage records of the slaves were maintained by the Churches. With some effort, it was possible to construct the family tree of these slave families. For people of African origin, whose ancestors came to the western world through this brutal, inhuman and heinous trafficking, there was some comfort in knowing something about their ancestors.

Al Roker was keeping his dispassionate demeanor in reporting his story with the objectivity of a journalist, but I could not stop crying! It brought back memories of the ABC miniseries "Roots", which gave me a glimpse of this darkest chapter in American and Western European history. It has been searing in my conscience ever since.

Brutalizing human beings because of their race, religion, ethnicity or their inability to defend themselves against an evil force has not stopped, in spite of our being "enlightened", "educated" or "civilized"!

What happened then has been happening ever since, in different part of the world. Holocaust, Rwanda, Darfur, Islamic Jihad, suicidal bombings, air strikes on defenseless civilians, Serbian death squads, butchering of peaceful Buddhist monks in Tibet ....

The list goes on and on and on!

While these are visible examples of brutalities, there is also an invisible form of brutality going on - hidden under the anonymity of blogosphere, there is constant hidden violence perpetrated by lies, innuendos, misinformation and other forms of hatred perpetuated by chain emails - such as calling Barack Obama a "registered Muslim".

Racism and bigotry is alive and thriving in our country. Is our country going to be victim of such vicious attacks and moral violence?

Look around. You will find several such racists and bigots around you. They survive and do their filthy deeds because we let them, through our tolerance and nonchalant attitude.

On this 45th anniversary of the "I Have A Dream" speech, Democrats have chosen Barack Obama as their candidate for the office of the President of the United States. He is expected to accept the nomination tonight.

Is he going to get a fair chance of winning this election? That is up to us.

In my view, the time has come to silence such ugly deeds and promise to ourselves and to the world around us that we are not going to tolerate this any more.

And just like we promised ourselves after the Holocaust, we must renew our promise "NEVER AGAIN"!

Peace and Blessings!