Two champions for human rights

Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter has a post on two champions for human rights; Martin Luther King Jr. and Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet.

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“Action for one’s own self binds, action for the sake of others delivers from bondage.” – Mohandas Gandhi


They were born 32 years and 748 miles apart. The man born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929 would grow up to be a Baptist minister and civil rights leader. While the man born in Havana, Cuba on July 20, 1961 would grow up to be a medical doctor and human rights leader. They never met because an assassin shot the 39 year old Baptist minister in the head on April 4, 1968 at 6:01pm. The older of the two grew up in the Jim Crow South while the younger grew up in communist Cuba under the dictatorship of the Castro brothers. Despite the distance in both time, geography, and language they are brothers. Both are Christians and disciples of Mohandas Gandhi’s teachings on nonviolence.

Both Martin Luther King Jr. and Oscar Elias Biscet would spend time in prison defending human rights and human dignity accepting imprisonment as a necessary sacrifice to expose and challenge injustice with the goal of ending it through nonviolent means and loving their enemies. In a speech he gave in St. Augustine in 1964 the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. described both this kind of love and the impracticability of violence:

“Its difficult advice and in some quarters it isn’t too popular to say it…Let us recognize that violence is not the answer. I must say to you tonight that violence is impractical…We have another method that is much more powerful and much more effective than the weapon of violence…Hate isn’t our weapon either…I am not talking now about a weak love it would be nonsense for an oppressed people to love their oppressor in an affectionate sense I’m not talking about that too many people confuse the meaning of love when they go to criticizing the love ethic. …I am talking about a love that is so strong that it becomes a demanding love. A love that is so strong that it organizes itself into a mass movement and says somehow I am my brothers keeper and he is so wrong that I am willing to suffer and die to get him right and to see that he is on the wrong road.”

In July of 1999 Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet ending a 40-day fast in Havana at a residence in Tamarindo 34 spoke to other activists who had joined him in the fast and international media gathered explained:

“To love one’s neighbor is also to love one’s enemy. Although in reality that qualifier-‘enemy’ does not exist in my vocabulary. I recognize that I only have adversaries and I have acquired the capacity to love them because in this way we do away with violence, wrath, vengeance, hatred and substitute them with justice and forgiveness.”

Read the entire post HERE.

2 thoughts on “Two champions for human rights”

  1. Gentlemen, as much respect as Ghandi, MLK, and Biscet deserve; let us be clear about something, the tactics that Ghandi and MLK employeed were successful in their respective locations for one reason – they were used in nations that had a civil society and a legal system, NOT in nations under totalitarianism.

    Had Ghandi or MLK lived in Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, the Taliban’s Afghanistan, or Kim Jung-Il’s North Korea among others, they would have been an abysmal and suicidal failure. The same goes for Castro’s Cuba.

    Sadly we live in an emasculated era of stupidity and cowardliness were it is first talked about peace than about justice. Biscet and all others have played to that trend looking for international support. Yet, for what? So they can rot in a cell while the free world that is so quick in condemning arm struggle, while ignoring peaceful fighters, can keep financing the murderous, fraudulent, destructive, economically inept, and slavish despot of Castro & Company? No, the international community and all the alleged “representatives of democracy” can go to hell. Let’s get real here.

    Also, and a crucial point, Cuba and Cubans have made a fatal error trout the years in believing that USA truly stands for something. Aside from Reagan, the USA has stand for crap. We saw it with Eisenhower stupidly betraying Batista’s pro-American regime in the utmost irresponsible way, with Kennedy’s incompetence and betrayal of the Cuban people and our freedom fighters, with Clinton’s actions of miserably sending a poor child back to the tantrum of an insignificant despot, and lastly with Obama pressuring for the reinstatement of an oust anti-American poppet of Chavez in Honduras.

    With all this being said. Communist Cuba is the result of a war that was never fought, a war the USA prevented from being fought. Sadly but surely working with USA was a waste of time no different than working with the international community. We should have looked outside USA, in South America during the years of operation condor, in Colombia during the paramilitary years of Carlos Castaño, Israel, Cubans involved in trafficking during the 80s, etc. Being the good boys for people who retain us while they let our enemies free and protected has been, and continues to be, nothing but a waste of time. Thus, sorry, but financing the likes of Biscet is a waste of time as well, if not a criminal one. He is gold and his might, solitude, and principals truly make me cry out of pride but this is not the way. For his own sake, the sake of those like him, and the Cuban republic, that is not the way.

    In conclusion, I am young, disconnected from the epicenter, and without resources but one thing I know. For those that played, can play, and play, it was time to change the game a long time ago. The least I can do is speak my mind and one thing I’ll say, that communist pest may be weak and on life support but until it truly gets a stab somewhere and a kick in the testicles it will continue there.

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