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Dr. King and Bradley Manning Show the Way to a Revolution of Values

2011-01-18 11 comments

By Margaret Flowers, MD

Today I stood with 200 activists at the gates of Quantico Marine Base to protest the imprisonment and torture of a young patriot, Bradley Manning, who has not been convicted of any crime.  It was the right way to spend the day set aside to remember Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Margaret Flowers

Dr. Margaret Flowers

Manning, 23, is alleged to have provided Wikileaks with documents that expose war crimes and other unethical behaviors being committed by the United States. He reportedly first went to his commanding officer when he saw that Iraqis were being imprisoned and tortured at the behest of the US military for simply publishing a document which questioned where the money went in Iraq. He was told to get back to work. Apparently when he saw more evidence of war crimes, he felt that the American public must know what is being done in its name. Manning is said to have joined the military because he believed in his country.

Many of us held photos of Manning and signs that said, “I am Bradley Manning.”  In essence, each of us who love our country and who speak out for the betterment of the United States are brothers and sisters of young Manning. And sadly, each of us who does speak out risks consequences of imprisonment like Manning.

We started the day at the FBI headquarters in Washington to protest the treatment of peace and justice activists who have had their homes raided, their private property stolen and who are facing an investigation by a Grand Jury. In some cases, these social justice groups had been infiltrated by undercover FBI agents for as long as 2 ½ years. This is what our tax dollars fund: domestic spying on peaceful social justice activists.

And this is what killed Dr. King. He was assassinated for speaking out against the American Empire. His words threatened to inspire a movement that would challenge the profits of the military-industrial complex. Dr. King was assassinated by our own government as was revealed in a wrongful death trial held in 1999.

It takes courage to speak out against the great corporate interests in this nation be they the military-industrial complex, the financial institutions or the healthcare-industrial complex. Not everyone has the courage to do so. I am driven by the words of Dr. King when he said “to be silent is to be complicit.”

I cannot be silent when tens of millions of people in the U.S. have no health insurance. I cannot be complicit when tens of thousands are suffering, when tens of thousands die of preventable causes, when families go bankrupt and lose their homes because of medical illness. I cannot be silent when health professionals are being driven out of practice by the insatiable greed of corporate health care.

I take comfort in the fact that I am not alone and that there is strength in numbers. Today we were told that we could only protest across the street from the base at Quantico. We chose not to obey that order and instead marched across the street and right through the gates chanting “Free Bradley Manning!” There were a few Marines and police officers stationed at the street and gate to stop us. They held up their hands and told us to stop but we did not hesitate and marched on through.

Likewise, there is strength in numbers if the peace and social movements join together to speak out against the concentrated corporate power that controls our government and our media. Together we can create the changes we so desperately need. Together we can raise our voices so high that we cannot be ignored.

Let us remember that Dr. King was more than a leader of the civil rights movement. He also advocated for those living in poverty and spoke out against the Vietnam War. When he began to speak out against the war, he was questioned why he did that instead of focusing on civil rights. King responded in his speech at the Riverside Church in New York City:

“And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.”

Dr. King went on to link all of the movements for peace and justice at home and abroad and to call for a radical revolution of values. He said that we must move from a “thing-oriented society” to a “person-oriented society.”

I urge you on this great day of remembrance to hear the words of Dr. King and to do what you can to create a just society and world. Speak out against injustice wherever you may see it. Use your money wisely to support local goods and services rather than multinational corporations who rob us of our health and wealth. Join in protest when you are able.

To reach the revolution of values of which Dr. King speaks we must build a culture of non-violent resistance to the status quo. We must not be silent. We must not be complicit. We must join the movements for peace, health care, jobs, education, housing and human rights. We can succeed together.

Dr. Margaret Flowers is a Maryland pediatrician and current the current Congressional Fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program.



  • Bruce Leier

    I wish I could have been there with you. Thank you for carrying-on for King and us.

    2011-01-18 14:35
  • save something

    My Hope is that citizens of USA realize how far the co.and multinational are going to make money.
    Some movies where made about the subjet but it still far from the truth.
    Americain can wake up and made change.Let<s go we will be with you!

    2011-01-18 18:18
  • Laura Watkins

    I’m sickened that our government officials dare to treat Brad Manning and other prisoners so inhumanely. Authorities can do this to anyone based on the suspicions of whatever paranoid control freak is in charge of nabbing “potential terrorists” that day.

    Now they’re confiscating laptops and cell phones without warrants, as they did to Jake Applebaum, and snooping through citizens’ personal information. Our constitutional rights are being steadily eroded, yet most Americans behave as if nothing out of the ordinary has happened. It’s surreal. The U.S. isn’t becoming a police state. It is one.

    Thank you for reporting the details about the rally, Dr Flowers. Thank you, Courage to Resist and the many demonstrators who showed up. I loved the part about you all marching through the gates Good for you! I hope Brad could hear you. I’ll find out when the next demonstration is and see you there!

    2011-01-18 20:44
  • Ed-M

    Thank you for carrying on the tradition of speaking Truth to Power for the fallen Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the illegally punished Pfc Bradley Manning.

    “In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act!” – George Orwell.

    “Truth is treason in an Empire of Lies.” – Ron Paul

    2011-01-20 21:03
  • cvili

    Hope all the best for Bradley Manning. Its unacceptable from human view that one man is tortured for 1 CD-rom. US army is biggest enemy for their own people. Hope for best, more human and less violent america in the future for better common world.

    “older brother is an example to others”

    2011-01-26 15:32
  • Sam Brad

    I am 50 yrs old and deeply saddened to see the world in its current state of global conflict. After the fall of the Berlin wall and the opening up of the Eastern block countries I was very optimistic for the future of mankind. Global travel/communications truly were making the world a global village.
    with devisive deeds polarising the

    2011-01-26 17:10
  • Sam Brad

    I am 50 yrs old and deeply saddened to see the world in its current state of global conflict. After the fall of the Berlin wall and the opening up of the Eastern block countries I was very optimistic for the future of mankind. Global travel/communications truly were making the world a global village.
    Predictably, post the demise of the so called “Russian threat”, soon enough another threat was discovered in Islam, which fortunately was good news for the international arms industry, as a new enemy was conveniently created.
    Ironically, the new enemy was a by-product of the USA/Russia cold war era when Russia`s attempt to annexe its neighbor(Afganistan) had to be stopped, so as to secure the middle east/oil supply.
    Yet again, the world is becoming very polarised with the most extreme viewpoints having only one thing in common, meglomania!
    Sadly the other 95% of us are in the middle, and if we do not do make a concerted effort to break down barriers and get along the time will come when you will not be able to “sit on the fence” .
    The internet is one such vehicle which will help to breakthrough barriers, in particular the ascent of websites such as Wikileaks, which Governments have very limited control over,could possibly reinstate true Democratic Government, governance which serves the people.
    Reallistically, we will need an army of Bradley Manning`s to reveal the powerbase pulling the strings behind Government.
    Alas, history shows us how quickly an army can be mustered when a just cause is presented.
    Peace to all, Sam Brad.

    2011-01-26 18:15
  • Pauline

    ‘Bad things happen when good people do nothing’ I don’t know who said this, but it is significant to what is happening to Pfc Bradley Manning. Thank you for making a protest and speaking up for justice. I will continue to do so.

    2011-01-31 11:06
  • Ed-M

    @Pauline: Thanks for the quote. It made me realise WHY our central government is treating Bradley Manning the way it is. Because it wants good people to do nothing! And let those inside the government to continue their doings of evil.

    2011-01-31 16:52
  • Sandor Szarvas

    Hi Sam
    I am soon to be 53 and also my youthful idealism is nearly shot!
    All the hopes of the freedom movements in Central America, Guatemala, Nicaragua, the fall of the dictators, then fall of the Iron curtain, seems to have clouded over in the last 5 or so years.
    I read Naomi Klein, John Pilger, Chomsky, perhaps these are voices in the wilderness, but my despair is very soon turning to anger and a desire to express myself and act.
    I want to show solidarity with Bradley Manning and I cannot do so any other way. Yet to do nothing is not an option. I have very little power or status in this world.
    But I live here as conscious aware being, sickened with propaganda and manipulation. My heart rejoices at the events in Egypt now, I hope the world wakes up and the interest of the many trumps the self-centered interests of the greedy, powerful few.

    2011-02-08 18:00
  • BRAUCKMANN Michael

    BRAD MANNING IS A HERO ! Freedom for him !

    2011-02-10 18:09

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