Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the only African American with his own public holiday, said: “In these times, SILENCE IS TREASON!”
King agonized over his own silence during the bombing of Laos and subsequent occupation of Vietnam. He confessed being ashamed for being silent for so long as a betrayal.
Silence now, when the vast majority of Americans is against the Iraq War’s continuation, is not only a betrayal of one’s nation and mankind, but a betrayal of ones’ own conscience, of one’s own heart, of one’s children and the parents and children of Iraq.
If every member could just check out his own feelings about being active or passive about the mass suffering our government is creating. 802 offers an opportunity to be active within the AFL solidarity against the war.
Albert Einstein said that it isn’t the lying, thieving and killing that is basic. It is the indifference which permits the criminal insanity to take place.
Hatred for America profiting from the suffering of others is now widespread all over the world, and is no longer merely directed against the US government, but now encompassing a hatred for the selfishness, arrogance and self-righteousness of the average American. One feels it when travels overseas. Americans are not considered innocent of their government’s intentions.
The Italian poet Dante wrote, “The hottest fires in hell are reserved for those, who in times of moral crisis, maintain neutrality.”
Musicians coming out with their friends to march with fellow New Yorkers and the large veterans organizations is a fine first step. We could then follow it up by sharing the experience with others and the calling of Congressmen and Senators, and complaining to commercial media for their war propagandizing.
Music is the most highly respected art. Throughout history musicians have inspired citizen protests against injustice. 802 members can hold their head high as sensitive idealists.
Fats Waller once quipped, “Only music is real. All the rest is seemin’.”
Through our performing, we strive to emphasize the difference between beauty, charm, integrity, and ugliness, fear and fakery.