Yesterday we were reminded of one of the greatest speeches in the world. We heard excerpts from it on the radio and TV all day. Experts in rhetoric commented on why this speech was so good, why we remember it, why it spellbound 250,000 people on the day it was delivered, and millions in the 50 years that followed.
“I have a dream!” said Martin Luther King jr. “When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
What a man, what a speech, what an example!
Today I am in transit. I am on my way to Thailand, and then onward to Burma. Because Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream has not come true for so many people still. I am going to an area of conflict, poverty, death and sorrow. I am not sure what I will be able to do to help. We will be bringing clothes, money for food and medicine. We will see the result of what we already have done in the area. We will hear about needs not met. I will want to do so much more that we have done until now. But, if I am not able to do anything else at all, I hope that I will be able to tell the people that they can’t stop dreaming. They can’t stop hoping. They can’t stop believing. Because, I do believe that there will be a day when we all can say: Free at last! If we can’t hold on to that hope, I think we have lost the battle.
As a confirmation to my feeling this morning, I received a sweet message from a lady in the US who had met some of the same refugees we have been working with over the past years. She had let them listen to Martin Luther King’s speech. After that she had them write their dreams. You can see what they said in the video below.