Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. Abhijeet has been blogging on educational topics and business research since 2016. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Cambodia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. Surely we must understand their feelings, even if we do not condone their actions. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. The war according to King Jr. is nothing more than a political game played for the sake of fun and ego. We must stop now. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. He calls the situation “some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war”. As we counsel young men concerning military service, we must clarify for them our nation’s role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. In April of 1967, the Rev. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.”, “I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word (unquote). Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. And of course it’s always good to come back to Riverside church. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. In Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech “Beyond Vietnam—A Time to Break Silence” (1967), Dr. King asserts that the war in Vietnam is totally immoral and has far reaching negative implications not only for Vietnam, but for The United States and the rest of the World as well. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives. This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. In part, we do not commemorate the aspects of Dr. King’s legacy that are wrapped up in “Beyond Vietnam” because a chorus of voices at the time condemned the speech as too radical, as communist, and as contrary to the interests of a Civil Rights Movement that was finally gaining traction on issues of social justice at home, and that stood only to lose by associating its cause with the most … Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor. Exactly a year later, King was assassinated. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. He evaluates the psychological as well as social, political and economic implications of America’s participation in Vietnam war. He drafted several speeches for King over the years and eventually became the first director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Regarding choosing “Beyond Vietnam” for the title when the country was deep in the middle of the war, Harding recalled in an interview with Tavis Smiley, “this is more than a simple case of getting out of Vietnam. ‘Beyond Vietnam' was a speech that resonated in so many hearts during such a tragic time. However, all wanted clarity on the subject. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Let us not join those who shout war and, through their misguided passions, urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. They know they must move on or be destroyed by our bombs. After more than a decade in the public eye fighting racism and inequality in America, King plunged himself into another searing, divisive issue in America with his speech, Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence, given at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967. Moreover, I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. Jamie Mason Ms. Lowe English 1102 TR, 8:25 2 February 2013 A Time to do What is Right In Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech “Beyond Vietnam—A Time to Break Silence” (1967), Dr. King asserts that the war in Vietnam is totally immoral and has far reaching negative implications not only for Vietnam, but for The United States and the rest of the World as well. In this way, he appeals to the emotions of the audience and challenges the logic behind an unnecessary war. We must not engage in a negative anticommunism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. It is not addressed to China or to Russia. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. And finally, as I try to explain for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. They will be concerned about Guatemala — Guatemala and Peru. Beyond Vietnam: An occasion to interrupt Silence was delivered by Martin Luther King Jr., on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of concerned clergy and laity at Riverside Church in Nyc, Nyc. While those words from 1963 are necessary, his speech “Beyond Vietnam,” from 1967, is actually the more insightful one. How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: “Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King?” “Why are you joining the voices of dissent?” “Peace and civil rights don’t mix,” they say. These are revolutionary times. The essence in the speech centered on the war in Vietnam. Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence was actually a collaborative work largely written by a close associate and friend of Martin Luther King, Jr. —- Vincent Harding. Harding recalled in an interview with Tavis Smiley, The Third Rail with OZY Wants You in the Audience. Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. The church maintains an active social justice mission today. According to the PBS documentary MLK: A Call to Conscience (2010), the speech was denounced by 168 newspapers across the country. King claimed that America made “ peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments ” (King, “ … He expresses his anguish at seeing people of Vietnam and America suffer and also notes that if American folks do not break their silence they stand to lose much more than their opponents. In this way, while he successfully draws a parallel between the struggles of Vietnamese people and that of the Americans, he also lays the foundation for the next stages of his argument. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism (unquote). I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor. That speech, entitled Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break The Silence, was an unequivocal denunciation of America’s involvement in that Southeast Asian conflict. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative method of protest possible. Now let us begin. Meanwhile — Meanwhile, we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a fervent anti-war speech, departing from his message of civil rights and railing against the Vietnam War. Apart from drawing a parallel between the situation in Vietnam and America, he shows neither stood to gain from it. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. Apart from being an advocate of Mahatma Gandhi’s idea of nonviolence, Martin Luther King Jr was a great leader and rhetor of all times. Both religion and society condemn war and even popular religious figures have stood up to speak against it for the toll it takes upon human lives and for it is against the spirit of humanity and brotherhood. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers. Three: Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos. HistoryNet Staff. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. ... A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.” “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.” Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. Could we blame them for such thoughts? We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In Doctor Martin Luther King’s Speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” King reaches out to his “fellow Americans” (2) to speak for those who are hurting so that they will come to the agreement that violence is not the solution. I join you in this meeting because I’m in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. Body Paragraph 1 It is why while he attacks America’s intervention in Vietnam on the one hand, on the other he brings people’s attention towards the other side of life where America can become a beacon of hope and peace for the entire world including Vietnam. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. King’s main motive was to persuade people to see how war was destroying lives, society and economy and being silent meant being in approval of the war. He also affirms that people have better options and that the idea of war, despite that it sounds patriotic is basically inhuman. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. War was an inhuman and barbaric exercise and America’s participation was not in human interest. Shall we say the odds are too great? I say we must enter that struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. Martin Luther King’s ‘Beyond Vietnam’ Speech. As Arnold Toynbee says: Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Some civil rights leaders urged King not to speak out on the Vietnam War, but he said he could not separate issues of economic injustice, racism, war, and militarism. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end, unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1954 — in 1945 rather — after a combined French and Japanese occupation and before the communist revolution in China. In his speech on the meaninglessness of the Vietnam war and to persuade the audience to listen to its own conscience rather than to conform to the idea of war in the name of patriotism, King Jr draws from the realms of economy, society, polity as well as religion and philosophy. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us”. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity, and injustice, which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops. His choice of diction and use of imagery help him deliver his point effectively in a manner that impresses both the audience’s heart and mind. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly rooted out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords, and refused even to discuss reunification with the North. America is overlooking its own poor and pouring resources into a war which does not offer any political, economic or social advantage. And history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated: Once to every man and nation comes a moment to decide, They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. It is just a continuation of the regimes that have been trying to oppress the Vietnamese. In this way, he personifies war as a demon that consumes people’s lives and a nation’s valuable resources which would otherwise be happy if it was not being ruined by bombs and bullets. The American intervention came at a time when the Vietnamese were expecting freedom and peaceful life and it came in a manner that was even devastating compared to the French occupation. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of their reckless action, but we did not. In addition to Martin Luther King, Jr., the church has hosted many prominent speakers, including Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian who was executed in 1945 at a German concentration camp; Cesar Chavez, the Mexican-American civil rights activist who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association; and Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and former president of South Africa. Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not ready for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. Martin Luther King Jr. April 4,1967 A meetingat Riverside Church in New York In this speech King compares the struggles of the African Americans to the suffrage of the people in Vietnam TONE SINCERE- “ we must speak with all the humility In this way, he tries to stress that even if we have progressed, we have grown nowhere better than the ancient barbarians that killed for fun. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers. When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered. Read a rhetorical analysis of Martin Luther King Jr’s Beyond Vietnam: Time to break silence. Hear the entire recording of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence speech, including introductory applause and a greeting King makes to his fellow clergy speakers. A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” And that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. Now there is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. Through his use of imagery, diction, and parallel structure, Martin Luther King Jr associates the war in Vietnam with injustice in his famous speech, "Beyond Vietnam - … This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence Rev. King also links the issue to the question of America’s integrity. "BEYOND VIETNAM"- Martin Luther King Constraints Audience 1) Controversial Opinions of MLK 2) Religious figure talking about political problems 3) Malcolm X and his ideas Fitting Response EXIGENCY First Persona-Martin Luther King Second Persona-American Population and the Civil He includes various perspectives and addresses several counterarguments with the intention to prove the futility of war as a tool to address social, economic and political problems. This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing — embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. While his I Have a Dream speech is considered his best one, his other speeches too offer a glimpse of his powerful rhetoric and his art of persuasion. Or will there be another message — of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the North. While his words clearly deliver his disappointment over the path American government had chosen, it also expresses a clear intention to not be with the wrong and instead listen to one’s inner voice. Number two: Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation. I am pleased to say that this is a path now chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. He does it to engage people’s imagination and to awaken their consciences. Five: Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Agreement. contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, https://nolongerinvisiblemen.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/sparknotes-for-martin-luther-king-jr-s-a-time-to-break-silence/, https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence.htm, Navigating the Job Market During and After COVID-19, 4 Vital Considerations for Businesses Implementing the Internet of Things, How to Build a Sales & Marketing Funnel to Increase Sales Conversions, How To Make Online Marketing Your Business’s New Best Friend. Apart from the use of ethos, pathos and logos in his speech, he builds a rock solid argument by involving religious figures and facts from history and philosophy. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. To construct a clear and strong picture and show how condemnable the war exercises in Vietnam were, King compared it with an arena of gladiators which even if it amuses and engages, is something absolutely animal and barbaric. Procrastination is still the thief of time. This is an attempt to connect with the audience’s emotions and prove that the war was imposed on them and even if politicians call it patriotic, society and people would never love war. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? " Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence ", also referred as the Riverside Church speech, is an anti–Vietnam War and pro– social justice speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1967, exactly one year before he was assassinated. What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam, and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will not have a part? Omar Khayyam is right: “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on.”. In this paper the speech “Beyond Vietnam” of Martin Luther king will be analyzed through the framework of Neo-Aristotelian criticism. A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. King, a gifted speaker who normally wouldn’t read from text, did read out Beyond Vietnam because he planned to submit it to publications and did not want to be misquoted. They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate — ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: “Let us love one another, for love is God. Though her portions be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong Members get extended access to PBS video on demand and more. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent. All the while the people read our leaflets and received the regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. The war was only going to consume lives and resources. Some great cause, God’s new Messiah offering each the bloom or blight, With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination and a government that had been established not by China — for whom the Vietnamese have no great love — but by clearly indigenous forces that included some communists. Read on for background on the historic speech, highlights and the speech in in its entirety. The neo-gothic Riverside Church in New York City has a long history of progressive leaders and activism, dating back to its opening in October, 1930. It is not addressed to China or to Russia. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. “Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people,” they ask? The actual speech begins at 1:41 in the recording. He tries to make people see the other side of the picture where both black and white men were being pushed into hell without considering and questioning the outcome. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. His speech grows deeply sarcastic at times. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. He notes, “as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube”. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they must play in the successful resolution of the problem. Moreover, it is the poor and the helpless mainly who are falling prey to this war game. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. “Beyond Vietnam”, Silence is Betrayal: Martin Luther King’s Historic 1967 Speech Introduction by Michel Chossudovsky. Photo: Ad Meskens. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, delivers a speech entitled “Beyond Vietnam” in … The war with Vietnam was just as unjust as unnecessary. Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life? And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. As a concerned and alarmed American during a time of war, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” April 4 th, 1967 at Riverside Church in New York in hopes of persuading his fellow Americans that the U.S’s involvement in Vietnam was unjust. On April 4, 1967, Martin Luther King delivered his first major public statement against the Vietnam War, entitled "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence." These are the times for real choices and not false ones. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such. He notes how essential it is to break silence before all hope is lost. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men. Apart from highlighting the wicked nature of the war, King Jr ‘s speech also sets the urgency for protest. In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French Commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It is also a much more dangerous and disturbing speech, which is … The idea with the clergy took the theme of silence is betrayal. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war. Just like the people of America, the Vietnamese also have a right to live free on the lands of their fathers. He graduated with a Hons. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. And so, such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. His indictment of the U.S. government and the war became known as “The Riverside Church Speech” and it was criticized by media from The New York Times to the Washington Post, and by groups such as the NAACP, which objected to the Civil Rights Movement weighing in on the war and joining anti-war protests. He says, “ And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. It encompasses all humanity and not just America. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. 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S Beyond Vietnam ” speech was delivered at the Riverside Church in New York exactly one year before assassination... Challenges the logic behind an unnecessary war of them, mostly children the Church an... To ultimate reality also have a direct effect on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth raise our and... Counterrevolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala most important needs in their own document of freedom, we rapidly! Brother to the question of America ’ s of the poor and pouring resources into a which! Be that the idea of nonviolence is much larger than ordinary people see the men we supported pressed to!, Riverside Church horrific memories for generations on both sides, New Delhi desperately for Time to break.. Prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this revolution of values, my friends, that anonymous.
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