Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Courageous, Prophetic Stand of Muhammed Ali

I was only nine years old at the time Muhammed Ali resisted the draft. Still, I am very moved by his courage in doing the right thing and standing up to the American government. The Champ takes a prophetic stance in this inspiring video - Lance 
Muhammad Ali’s Courage by Ed Brayton via
Much has been written and said about Muhammed Ali's legacy in sports and as a global celebrity, but I want to highlight his refusal to fight in Vietnam. Here’s the transcript and video of the speech he gave explaining, quite reasonably, why he would not go to kill people who had done nothing to him:
“My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father… Shoot them for what? …How can I shoot them poor people, Just take me to jail.”
On another occasion he said, “No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder kill and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people the world over. This is the day and age when such evil injustice must come to an end…Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”
I know we like to think that those who refuse to fight in unjust wars are cowards, but Ali was being courageous here. He didn’t run to Canada, he stood up in public and declared his opposition to the war and his entirely valid reasons for not fighting in it. And it cost him dearly. He was arrested and put on trial, stripped of his championship and denied a license to box and lost 4 years of his career when he was in his prime. He was targeted by the FBI and the CIA. That took courage. What he did was honorable and right. And he deserves to be praised for it. 

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