|Significance in MLK’s Monument|
|Monday, 29 August 2011 12:00|
On August 28, some 48 years after the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, civil rights leader, made his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech at the National Mall in Washington D.C., America's first Black president, a beneficiary of King's dream, will dedicate a monument depicting King's image at the same place.
The monument, to be officially known as the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, is a fitting lifetime commemoration to Dr. King's national and international contributions and vision for people of all races to enjoy a life of freedom, opportunity, and justice.
While other civil rights leaders largely stayed behind the scenes seeking justice for the oppressed, especially Blacks, Dr. King showed unusual courage – stepping out to the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement to insist that American political and other leaders create a society in which different races would live equally, with equal opportunity.
Former President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Congress must be applauded for the joint resolution and law passed in 1996 to build the $120 million monument. The organizers of the monument must also be applauded for selecting a place of prominence on the Mall for this historic tribute.
It is also fitting that King's statue is located adjacent to the (Franklyn D.) Roosevelt memorial and between the (Abraham) Lincoln and (Thomas) Jefferson Memorials. Lincoln strived to liberate slaves and Jefferson worked to improve social services for the poor. In their midst is the first major memorial on the National Mall of an African American – a man who sought equality and justice for all races and economic classes.
Sadly, however, 48 years after the "I have a Dream Speech" and 43 years after King's assassination in 1968, the dream of comprehensive equality for the races in America is yet to be fulfilled. Today's irony is that on the one hand, America elected its first Black president, but the disappointing and frustrating resurgence of racism which has deeply marred this historic event, brings us back to the reality that racial inequality is far from over.
But the monument will be an everlasting reminder that the dream remains alive. Like King showed, as he led the Civil Rights Movement, those marginalized because of racism should not relent from seeking equality. King showed America that antagonists could become allies through calm persuasion and reasoning.
This is a very important reminder with so many members of the community frustrated that President Obama is too passive in dealing with his opponents. King emphatically taught that much can be accomplished without aggressive confrontation, while not compromising God-given rights.
The monument will also be a reminder to all people that justice must always prevail over injustice, that everyone, regardless of race, gender, religion or social class has rights. It will be a reminder that despite the frustration of the current challenges, hundreds of Americans fought and died for the rights so many take for granted today.
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial will be a daily reminder – not just on the anniversary of King's birth or death – of his great contributions to American history and that America is yet to fulfill the dream of equality and justice for all.
Gaddafi's fall a testimony to success of Obama's policy
President Obama has been severely criticized in some quarters for taking a vacation in the midst of the unusual national economic circumstances, but the president was pushed into the national glare as news came of the sudden encroachment of Libyan rebels on the Gaddafi regime in Libya.
While, at the time of writing, there is no conclusive evidence of the overthrow of Gaddafi and his regime, like President Obama said in a public speech from his vacation in Martha's Vineyard, it is clear that Gaddafi's "rule is over" and the "future of Libya is in the hands of its people."
Undoubtedly, the success of the rebels is due largely to the role of the allied forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This alliance that gave support to Libyan rebels was an initiative of President Obama, after the U.S. originally launched air attacks on Gaddafi's forces. Obama was criticized for attacking without Congressional approval, and again for pulling out U.S. forces without eradicating Gaddafi's regime.
Now, ironically, Republicans, are hailing the obvious defeat of the regime, but are unwilling to acknowledge the president's sound decision.
The rebels' victory will signal a new phase in foreign policy for the Obama administration. Now, the U.S. and its NATO allies must ensure that the Transitional National Council (TNC) comprised of Libyan rebels, is strategically organized to implement democracy and eradicate the atrocities of the old regime.
In his speech, President Obama said the U.S. got involved in Libya to shield people from humanitarian crisis, and pledged to stay involved after Gaddafi goes. This is of utmost importance. It is crucial that the TNC evolves into a strong, humanitarian government, and Libya evolves into a peaceful, progressive state.