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2001-12-27

Mother Courage: Imagining Peace, Excerpts

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After publicly criticizing the use of military tribunals, the actor Danny Glover has become one of the latest victimsof the war on free speech.

On November 16, at the invitation of the local Amnesty International chapter, Danny Glover gave a speech about thedeath penalty to a packed auditorium at Princeton University. While his speech was enthusiastically received atfirst, it became the subject of controversy when, following the lecture, a young person asked the actor whether hewould extend his opposition to the death penalty to Osama bin Laden. Glover affirmed his opposition to the deathpenalty in all circumstances.

The provocative exchange continued, with Danny Glover noting that America has been a key purveyor of violence in thisworld. Glover also voiced his objections to the military tribunals that President Bush has created.

These comments have elicited a hailstorm of outrage. For two weeks The Trentonian newspaper ran angry commentssuggesting that if Danny Glover didn’t love this country he should leave it. Meanwhile, Oliver North broadcast thestory across the country on his Radio America show, urging his audience to boycott The Royal Tenenbaums ­ a moviethat was released last Friday in which Danny Glover stars alongside other prominent actors. More recently, inModesto, California, the controversy caused the City Council to withdraw its sponsorship of Glover as the featuredspeaker for the celebration of Martin Luther King Day.

We turn now to a reading Danny Glover gave recently of a speech written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He performedthe speech at an event called Mother Courage: Imaging Peace, which was presented by the international women’s humanrights organization, MADRE (www.MADRE.org). MADRE organized Mother Courage in support of the women and children ofAfghanistan.

Tape:

  • * Danny Glover, actor, reading from "A Time to Break Silence," a speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. atRiverside Church in NYC, April 4, 1967 * Susan Sarandon, actor, reading from How We Did It by Muriel Rukeyser *Monica Aleman, Program Coordinator, MADRE, reading from Psalms: Poems, by Mahmoud Darwish … and An Arab Shepherd isSearching for His Goat on Mount Zion, by Yehuda Amichai * Eve Ensler, playwright, reading "I Have Been Thinking AboutViolence," by Eve Ensler * Tony Kushner, playwright, reading from Mother Courage * Susan Sarandon and Danny Glover,reading from a letter to President Bush written by Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez * Carol Maillard and Nadine Mozonwith Cooper-Moore on piano, performing Time, Grace and the Courage to Love * Danny Glover, reading from My DungeonShook: Letter to My Nephew on the One Hundredth anniversary of the Emancipation * Gale Jackson, poet and storyteller,reading from Dear Nephew * Blanche Wiesen Cook, author and scholar, reading from her book, Eleanor Roosevelt * SoniaSanchez, poet, reading "Praise God" and "I am an Afghan Woman," by Sonia Sanchez.

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