Jim Perkins: The hope of a ‘genuine peace’ sought by JFK, King

Friday, December 06, 2013
To the editor:

I was a member of the cast of “Project Unspeakable” in Leverett. More than 300 people came Nov. 22. Their attention and concern was electric, and the cast was electrified by it.

The subject matter was grim: a view that the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. were carried out by members of the military-industrial-intelligence complex, and with them, the epic struggles for world peace and social and economic justice that they led. I come away from the experience of participating in this play with renewed determination and hope that we may revive the hopes and dreams of these leaders.

John F. Kennedy spoke these words in his “Peace Speech” at American University in 1963: “What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children. ... When a man’s ways please the Lord, the Scriptures tell us, ‘he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.’ And is not peace, in the last analysis, basically a matter of human rights: the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation; the right to breathe air as nature provided it; the right of future generations to a healthy existence?”

And the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said these words in a sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1967: “I still have a dream ... that we will be able to adjourn the councils of despair and bring new light into the dark chambers of pessimism. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when there will be peace on earth and good will toward men. It will be a glorious day, the morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy.”

Jim Perkins