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Yesterday was the late Reverend Martin Luther King’s holiday. As such, Lindsay and I observed the holiday by watching an awe inspiring documentary on one of our nation’s greatest hero’s. I can’t express how badly I wish the great Reverend were still alive to see the difference in our nation — largely due to his efforts that cost him his life. Our nation will forever be in debt to his heroic service.
Upon further reflection, I couldn’t help but bring my mind to a recent event in the news (or, unfortunately, I should more clearly state a recent event mostly left out of the news). A great man, who I consider to be a modern day version of the late Reverend, was killed two weeks ago. On our anniversary, in fact. He was the governor of Punjab in Pakistan. His name was Salmaan Taseer. He was shot 26 times for being a champion for human rights in Pakistan. He dedicated much of his political career to protecting minorities from Muslim groups that continue to kill minorities (mainly Christians) and fighting laws that do the same. The New York Times described him as “exceptional, even within the secular-minded Pakistan Peoples Party, for his vocal opposition to the religious parties and the extremism they spread. He was imprisoned in the 1980s under the military dictator Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq for it and was still opposing the religious parties 30 years later.”
Most recently, a non-Muslim woman, Asia Bibi, has been sentenced to death for committing blasphemy. Taseer was killed because he spoke out against this death sentence — stating that he believed Bibi was innocent. He knew very well the threat to his safety in doing such things. He did it anyway.
A couple days ago, I was talking with a friend of mine, Reverend Timothy, who is from Nigeria (Jos, to be exact). Reverend Timothy moved to the states recently for a couple years to go to university. He told me how he had to call home on Christmas eve. Muslims were killing Christians in his town that night. His phone call home was to make sure those who were killed weren’t his wife and daughters. Fortunately, they weren’t. Unfortunately, however, 6 of his unarmed, non-violent friends were killed.
Courageous men like Mr. Taseer and Rev. King need to be remembered and honored. It’s the way in which we tell history that such actions are commendable, heroic, and worth the risk involved. Such actions lead to the protection of innocent people. People like my friend, Reverend Timothy.
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