January 28, 2023

Please Read the Letter

The Vanity Fair’s article on Donald Trump’s letter writing habit reminds me. I forgot all about Iran’s Ahmadinejad fancying himself as a letter writer. With all the turmoil in the Middle East, President Obama, or the Donald, need to re-establish pen pal relations with some of these countries in the Middle East.

Iran’s Ahmadinejad sent President Obama a letter soon after the 2008 election. In a New York Times article,  Ahmadinejad said he did not think a black candidate could be elected because of racial discrimination. “I congratulate you for attracting the majority of votes in the election,” Mr. Ahmadinejad wrote in his message, an Iranian news agency, ISNA, reported. “As you know, opportunities that are bestowed upon humans are short lived.”

Well, well. Bottom log on top this time master as a slave said to a southern plantation owner at the end of the Civil War.

Here’s a passage from Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail

“Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history”

President Obama should send a copy of Martin Luther King’s letter to all the governments in the Middle East, and perhaps Russia, China, and whoever else around the world who needs a “letter nailed to their door.” As Robert Plant and Alison Krauss say in their beautiful song, you reap just what you sow.


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