I feel a day late on this, but I’m grateful to In the Fray for publishing my essay about Northern Ireland. A little more than a week after our 4th of July, this piece is well-timed, as July 12 is a big day for Northern Irish Protestants. I hope it was safe one this year.
“As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.” ~Dr./Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., “Beyond Vietnam–A Time to Break the Silence”
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.’”
I wanted to expand upon and provide some clarification on something I said in my recent essay that argued we should let Dzhokhar Tsnaraev live. In that essay, I wrote the following: “Political issues that involve taking a human life are usually complicated, but I still land on the side of finding ways to sustain life even if, like in this case, a person has done awful things and hurt many.” I mean this in the fullest sense, and I think this consistency across issues is tragically lacking in the American two-party system.
I’m grateful to Punchnel’s for publishing an essay I recently wrote about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger Boston Marathon bomber. It is my position that he should not receive the death penalty. Here is a teaser from the essay:
“In a world with as much evil and violence as this one, I can certainly understand the appeal of the death penalty and can’t really fault someone for supporting it, particularly if they are closely connected to a murdered victim. Those family members and friends of victims from the marathon that day are important stakeholders in this trial, and they deserve our ongoing support.