US’s New Cold War: from a Legacy of Assassinations
America’s New Cold War: Born from a Legacy of AssassinationsBy Genevieve Cora Fraser
After watching the recently released movie, simply titled, “Bobby,” on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy’s brother, Robert F. Kennedy, I suddenly realized he died on the 1st anniversary of Israel’s Six Day War – on June 6, 1968. Another way of phrasing it is US presidential hopeful, Robert Kennedy was assassinated, allegedly at the hands of Palestinian, Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, on the 1st anniversary of Israel’s Occupation of Palestine.
At the time of his death, Robert Kennedy was running for president to end the war in Vietnam and forward the civil rights movement in America. His intent was to extend his sense of social justice to all areas of national life and into matters of foreign and economic policy. Two years prior to his death, in June 1966, he visited Apartheid-ruled South Africa to deliver the Annual Day of Affirmation Address. “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope....,” Kennedy said that day. If he had been elected president, perhaps justice would prevail in the world today instead of ruthlessness.
June 6, 1968 also marked the 2nd anniversary of the shooting of civil rights activist, James Meredith, the first black student to attend the University of Mississippi. President Kennedy and his younger brother, the then Attorney General Robert Kennedy were determined he attend. Meredith had been barred from the segregated campus, but the Kennedy brothers persisted. The riots that ensued required federal troops and the US Marshall to intervene. The brothers prevailed and Meredith enrolled, graduated and went on to law school. But on June 6, 1966, as Meredith led a civil rights march, the March against Fear from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi, a sniper’s shot hit him, but he lived to tell the tale.
Martin Luther King did not live to tell the tale. Clergyman, Nobel Peace Prize winner and one of the principal leaders of the American civil rights movement, King was shot in the neck and died on a hotel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4th, two months prior to Robert Kennedy’s assassination. On that day Kennedy was slated to appear in a ghetto campaign-stop in Indianapolis, Indiana. He learned of King’s death and was advised to move on to a safer spot where he would be greeted by mostly white, middle class voters. Instead, he addressed the mostly black audience:
“Ladies and Gentlemen - I'm only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening. Because...,” he began then paused searching for the right words. “I have some very sad news for all of you, and I think sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.”
“Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it's perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in.”
“For those of you who are black - considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible - you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.”
“We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization - black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.”
“For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man,” Kennedy struggled to say, recalling how his brother John was gunned down, five pain-filled years earlier.
“But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond these rather difficult times.”
“My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: ‘Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.’”
“What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black," Kennedy said as the weeping crowd burst into applause.
The Middle East, Africa, South America have paid the price for these assassinations – which have left many to wonder if they were somehow connected - purposeful. We have drifted increasingly right of center as we seek world domination and to control oil and other resources. Torture, war, assassination are our calling card. The USSR vs. the USA has been replaced by the USA-Israel-Zionist agenda versus anyone who gets in our way.
Please forgive the US, we have become drunk with power, a swaggering bully, a shadow of the selves so many of us aspired to as we laid our fallen leaders to rest. But hopefully the torch has been passed, and The People’s struggle for freedom and stability throughout the world will become a reality, born from the pain, sacrifice, and death of the martyrs and the wisdom that “comes through the awful grace of God.”