Dr. Martin Luther King Jrs essay A Time to Break Silence was a small but significant piece of his life and career as a minister, Nobel Peace Prize winner, husband, father, civil rights activist, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and an important historical figure for future generations.
In this essay, Dr. King discusses why the Vietnam War is important to him. He starts with his first reason, is that he felt like the military had given a promise of hope to the poor, when the government didnt really have the funds or intentions to fulfill their dreams. He felt that the war was almost like an attack on the poor, because it lured them to their death, in a sense.
His second reason is recognizing the reality of the war and its impact on the families it affected. Again, he felt like it was an attack on the poor, and especially African Americans, because the government thought they were good enough to fight with white soldiers, leave their families, and die for the country, but not good enough to ride the same bus, go to the same, schools, or have the same equality.
Thirdly, he writes about how people need a deeper understanding of war, and need to know that it wont solve all of their problems. He then delves into the fact that although he is a civil rights leader, he still cares about these issues because of the people that it affects. He this talks about the responsibility he carries by receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, and how he feels that it is similar to a commission, and a commitment to work harder for the brotherhood of man.
He then goes on to speak about his religious feelings towards the war, and says that it is a privilege and a burden to be human. In the last line of his Importance of Vietman segment, he says For no documents from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers. I feel that his quote has multiple meanings. Taken from his religious views, he follows the teachings of Christ, who is supposed to be the voice for the weak, the voiceless, the victims, ect. I feel this quote also refers to his moral views of treating people equally, and believing that no matter what race, all humans deserve respect.
He begins the next segment of his essay, Strange Liberators, he speaks of his compassion for the people affected by the war. He wonders what the Vietnamese people think of America , and talks about how the U.S government oppressed the Vietamese people because the U.S didnt feel like they were ready for the freedom of running their own government. The U.S and French government poured money into controlling Vietnam , and the U.S ended up paying most of the expenses. This segment basically analyzes the hypocrisy of the U.S, because they were destroying lives and communities, and not actually focusing on liberating Vietnam . The Vietnamese people were treated poorly, and faced the choice of a concentration camp or death. Dr. King compares the treatment of the Vietnamese people to that of the Jews by Germany under Hitlers rule.
Dr. King then proclaims that the madness and suffering of the Vietnamese people must end for things to move forward. He speaks of how the war will make the world see America as a place of militarism and violence. He then brings up things that he thinks would help to end the conflicts, such as stopping bombing, removing foreign troops, and accepting the realities of the war.
In his next segment, Protesting the War, Dr. King talks about churches, synagogues, and communities bonding together to protest the war, and how American government officials are making peace impossible because they arent willing to give up overseas investments. He feels that America is too materialistic, and that a true revolution of values would soon change the ideals of the people, because war is not the way to peace, justice, and love. He felt that if change was not made, America would approach a spiritual death. He felt that rather than bombing to end communism, America shouldve tried to make positive steps to defeating communism.
In the last segment of his this essay, The People are Important, Dr. King says that we must support the revolutions, and make the final analysis of our loyalties. He says that love is the ultimate force of life, and is a necessity for man. He says that we can no longer afford to hate.
Henry Thoreaus essay Civil Disobedience is similar to Dr. Kings, becauseThoreau also feels like the government is run by the majorities, and not the conscious of the people. He feels that the majorities decide right and wrong in the government, and that it is unfair and unjust.
Like Dr. King, Thoreau feels that the military is just a tool to the government, disposable lives, an army of machines. Thoreau disagrees with the government, and feels like it is too involved in peoples lives.
In conclusion, both essays relate well and give evidence of the wrong doings and mistakes of the government at their time period, and that have and will carry into the future.
Work Cited/ Bibliography:
King, Martin Luther. A Time to Break Silence. Literature and Society. Ed. Annas, Pamela J. and Rosen, Robert C. Upper Saddle River , New Jersey : Pearson Education Inc, 2007. 1098-1103.
Thoreau, Henry. Civil Disobediance. Literature and Society. Ed. Annas, Pamela J. and Rosen, Robert C. Upper Saddle River , New Jersey : Pearson Education Inc, 2007. 1423-.