Martin Luther Kings „Jenseits von Vietnam“ ist aktueller denn je

Heute abend erzähle ich bei der SMD Heidelberg über Friedenstheologie, Gewaltfreiheit und ob das alles wirklich funktionieren kann.
Statt meiner Notizen zu Walter Winks Auslegung der Bergpredigt1, zu Gene Sharps Analyse von Macht2 und ein paar Geschichten von Christian Peacemaker Teams bin ich versucht, anlässlich des Martin Luther King Day in den USA einfach diesen Zusammenschnitt seiner (wesentlich längeren) Predigt „Beyond Vietnam“ vom 4.4.1967 abzuspielen3


Diese Rede gilt vielen als MLKs weitsichtigste und radikalste Predigt und sie enthält viele Aspekte, die in Diskussionen um Gewaltfreiheit und Antimilitarismus vorkommen sollten.
Wer MLK jenseits von „Das war doch dieser Träumer“ kennenlernen will, sollte sie anhören:

Die Adressaten sind wir selbst, nicht die Anderen (ob Kommunisten oder Muslime), es geht um unser Verhalten, unsere Involviertheit. Der Prophet kritisiert sein Volk, weil er es liebt:
I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia.

Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the National Liberation Front, but rather to my fellow Americans.

Verbindungen zwischen Krieg, Armut und Rassismus:
There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor — both black and white — through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. And so we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. And so we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

Diskussion staatlicher Gewalt und Widerstand dagegen:

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and 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 today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

Systemisch-strukturelle Gewalt (und ihre ideologische Legitimation) als Grundlage physischer Gewalt:

It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, „Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.“ Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin…we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

Gottes liebendes Gericht als Grundlage christlichen Gewaltverzichts:
And don’t let anybody make you think that God chose America as his divine, messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with judgment, and it seems that I can hear God saying to America, „You’re too arrogant! And if you don’t change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I’ll place it in the hands of a nation that doesn’t even know my name. Be still and know that I’m God.“

  1. Ermächtigung zu kreativem gewaltfreiem Handeln, dass Täter und Opfer aus ihren Rollen wirft
  2. Macht ist letztlich freiwillige Unterwerfung, die auf den Dimensionen von Autorität, Humankapital, Fähigkeiten, Gehorsam, materiellem Kapital und Sanktionen beruht. Gewaltfreier Widerstand zielt darauf diese Dimensionen zu delegitimieren und einen groß genugen Teil der Bevölkerung dazu zu bewegen, den Machthabern ihren Gehorsam zu verweigern
  3. Ich habe verschiedene Versionen der ganzen Rede gelesen, er scheint im April 1967 mehrmals ähnliche Reden gehalten zu haben.

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