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Martin Luther King III stresses need to communicate with terrorists
February 27, 2009 00:40 IST
Instead of a tit-for-tat with terrorists, there was need to communicate with them in making them shun violence, Martin Luther King III, son of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, said in Kolkata on Sunday.
"We have to find ways to communicate with terrorists. Even they have children and I believe they do not want their
children to grow up in a world where there are no rights or privileges. So I think we have to engage in dialogue even with those whom we do not understand," King told a press conference.
Referring to the post-9/11 attack on Iraq by the US, he said, "far from showing a different paradigm, we chose to
engage in war. I am not here to be critical of the government, but what I am saying is from a philosohical standpoint. I want to go on record that I am against war like my father was."
Society will have to learn how to resolve differences without hurting personal property, he said, adding that although it may take some time, non-violence was a message that could be used if people were willing to embrace it.
"Most of our society, however, is still engaged in attempting to defend ourselves. We feel we must spend large sum of our budget preparing for military defence as opposed to spending at least an equal amount for life or the
preservation of life," King, whose father was an avowed follower of Mahatma Gandhi [Images], said.
Describing the US as a big country to be engaging in a tit-for-tat, King said that right now the focus of the government should be to repair the economy as it had a world-wide impact.
Replying to a question, King said that US foreign policy was beginning to change from being exclusive to being inclusive.
"The first interview President Obama [Images] did after his inaugural was with Al-Jazeera to speak to the Islamic community. He said, we reach out their hands to those who reach out their hands to us," King said.
He denied that non-violence had been relegated to a mere concept, saying that during his visits world-wide, he had
come across a large number of youth who were willing to embrace non-violence.
Earlier in the day, King began his tour of the city with a visit to Mother House, where he visited the tomb of Mother Teresa and spoke to her successor Sister Nirmala.
King was also treated to lunch at the Raj Bhavan by West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi who also took him to the Gandhi Memorial Museum.