WELCOME TO moomoonews COWPEN PAGE
There is a cowtale which since the beginning and for a
long time was only shared by and only told amongst
the cows themselves. The cowtale speaks of the time
when God was still busy creating Heaven and all that is
under it. Because God is God, God created a perfect
cow meadow. After a while, God ended up regretting
to have overdone it. To make amends,God created
moomoocow and stuck moomoocow in the cow
meadow. moo moo moo.
AN ASIAN AMERICAN’S APPRECIATION OF
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, American prophet, began his civil rights ministry in the mid 1950s with the
Montgomery Bus Boycott. After over a decade of peaceful struggle his dream remained unfulfilled.
However, the many years to toil and rejection gave Dr. King a more complete understanding of God
and propelled his ascension to a great human being.
As an Asian American, I inevitably study and arrive at an appreciation of the life of Dr. King through my
own colored lenses. To begin, I am heartened to learn that Dr. King had studied and incorporated the
nonviolent resistance successfully practiced by another great soul, Mahatma Gandhi of India.
The price paid by Gandhi was the forfeiture of his own life in 1948.
By the early 1960s. Dr. King’s ministry had gained national prominence. In 1963 while organizing a
protest in Birmingham, Alabama, he was confronted by police using dogs and fire hoses and then
detained in the Birmingham jail. There he wrote his letter to continue "nonviolent direct action [which]
seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community, which has constantly
refused to negotiate, is forced to confront the issue." While already an acknowledged leader of the
African American communities, his letter called upon all Americans to embrace his vision. Very quickly
on August 28 of the same year, he delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech to an overflowing
congregation during the summertime march on Washington, D.C.
Dr. King now had the attention of President Johnson and many powerful members of the white
establishment. People all across American began to gather around to the message of Dr. King.
The civil rights marches became multiracial as white people joined in the movement. After
witnessing more direct action in Alabama, the United States Congress passed and President
Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 followed by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In the limelight of these landmark federal legislative victories, Dr. King could have easily settled
into a period of labor towards the enforcement of the new laws. For sure, there remained stubborn
resistance against the Acts as entrenched social prejudices do not dissipate overnight. But Dr. King
now had federal law on his side, and he had every opportunity to continue his ministry from within
the relative safety of the legal establishment.
What Dr. King elected to do next raised him up, in my opinion, into the stature of a Prophet of
the God of unbounded Compassion. Compassion at her greatest and as taught in Buddhism and
other faiths is the sympathetic identification and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of all
others. It is good to selflessly advocate for one’s own community or even one’s outlying neighbor, but
Dr. King chose to call for compassion for the enemies of his own country which included the
Vietcong in Asia.
On April 4, 1967, at the pinnacle of escalation of the Vietnam War, Dr. King at the Riverside Church in
New York City revealed his indelible opposition against the Asian war waged by the United States . In
his “Beyond Vietnam” speech, Dr. King laid bare his trepidation of speaking out for the
enemies of his country and against a war endorsed by a President who had signed the civil rights bills.
He was torn by the prospect of losing the hard earned support of the white political establishment and
even that of his own community save for a few radical black power activists. Yet he found himself
saying: “…I found myself in full accord when I read....: 'A time comes when silence is betrayal …
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: my own
More mightily, Dr. King was able to articulate the deepest relationship between compassion and
non-violence “Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to
see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from
his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we
may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.” As a
Christian minister, Dr. King is drawing upon the Gospel teaching: “You have heard that it was said,
'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. ' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for
those who persecute you.”
In my opinion, this speech started the death knell for our Prophet. Exactly one year later, on April 4,
1968, Dr. King was assassinated by a man with a rifle while emerging from his motel room in
Memphis, Tennessee. There again, Dr. King had sought to step beyond advocacy for racial equality
and was getting ready to march with the Memphis Municipal Workers Union which had gone on strike
after 2 members were killed by defective machinery. The conjoining of his revolutionary moral position
against the war in Vietnam and speaking up for organized labor and supporting the collective labor
strike, these novel steps ensured the martyrdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Once again as a child who was living during the 1960s under the shadow of war in the neighboring
country of Malaysia, I must reemphasize the unbounded compassion and unflinching strength of
Dr. King during the last year of his life in advocating for an immediate cessation of
American involvement in Vietnam. In the decades after his assassination, the words of Dr. King
against war is overtaken by his more conventional proclamations on civil rights and racial equality,
but I will not be shaken from my belief that it was Dr. King's courageous opposition to war and his
unbounded compassion for human suffering including the feeling for the pain we inflict with modern
weapons against our enemies thousands of miles beyond our shorelines that made Dr. King into an
American martyr and great soul of all humanity.
Moomooocw, January 20, 2020. When a child, moomoocow lived in Malaysia from 1960 to 1972
and worked as a federal OSHA compliance officer in Cincinnati, Ohio from 1984-1988.
copyright moomoonews all rights reserved 2020.