“I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.” Possibly bogus quote expresses broadly popular sentiment.

The big business press is gaining mileage and drumming up support for the extra-legal military actions of the US government using the military-political murder of the reactionary, anarchist-terrorist  Osama Bin Laden as a rally cry for further military interventions and intelligence manipulations of the affairs of sovereign nations. An interesting but inaccurately quoted statement attributed to the great African-American fighter for civil and human rights Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has gained viral status in the ‘blogosphere’

The viral statement appears to be a modification of the following real statement which was sent in to me by a reader, Rick, who writes.

“On August 16, 1967, Dr. King gave his “Where Do We Go From Here?” speech in Atlanta. In the transcript of the speech there appears this passage:”

“I’m concerned about a better world. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood; I’m concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.”

The reader’s note is in the comments below this post.

As have many, I came across the false quote in a few places on the internet over a very short period of time. The quote is at once appropriate and yet at the same time devoid of analysis or context. The unsubstantiated statement reads..

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.  [For the origin of the false quote follow this link]

Dr. King who was killed in Memphis Tennessee in 1968 after attending a union rally in support of striking sanitation workers also said this on the day before he died.

The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee — the cry is always the same — “We want to be free.”

For the full text of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” his final speech
Follow this link

For the updated story on the inadvertent combination of the the line, written by Jessica Dovey, “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy, ” with the words of Dr. King Follow this link

The unsubstantiated quote appears in this version in a site which seems to both refute its own claim of authenticity and also market micro-loans a recently fashionable utopian-capitalist pseudo solution to poverty in rural and undeveloped areas of the world. The link is below.  [Editorial note: as of 4-09-13 Wake up Life seems to be defunct. I leave this link in place since this page seems to have some significance in tracking down a notorious internet misquote. It no longer however seems to lead to the source that it did when this was written.]

http://wakeuplife.org/quotes/i-mourn-the-loss-of-thousands-of-precious-lives-but-i-will-not-rejoice-in-the-death-of-one-not-even-an-enemy-returning-hate-for-hate-multiplies-hate-adding-deeper-darkness-to-a-night-already-devoi/#respond

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About rawlinsview

News and political commentary from the point of view of the social interests of the international working class.
This entry was posted in Afghanistan, African American nationalist movement and struggle for human rights, Bibliography, Dr. Martin Luther King jr., political rights of the US working class and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to “I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.” Possibly bogus quote expresses broadly popular sentiment.

  1. Rick says:

    On August 16, 1967, Dr. King gave his “Where Do We Go From Here?” speech in Atlanta. In the transcript of the speech there appears this passage:

    “I’m concerned about a better world. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood; I’m concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.”

    • rawlinsview says:

      Thanks Rick

      This is great and pretty close in many ways. I like this one better than the viral one. It has much more context and is connected to Dr. King’s message of struggle for justice.
      I have included a link to the full speach that you referenced on the update of this post.

  2. Athena says:

    You can find it in Strength To Love, 1963, Hope that helps!

    “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. […] The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”

    Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength To Love, 1963

    • rawlinsview says:

      Thanks Athena

      Again this is not the exact words which are circulating. Perhaps the false quote is an amalgam. The real text quotes being sent in are better for their fullness. I hope that you don’t mind that I edit your comment by adding a link to the speech that you reference.

  3. Ana Campos says:

    The first sentence may or may not be MLK. I know I’ve heard it before. It’s very familiar. I feel like it was about Vietnam.

    “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.

    The rest of the quote is word for word MLK.
    I’ve posted a direct link to page 53 in MLK’s book below.

    “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper
    darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
    Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
    Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King,

    Page 53 Strength to Love
    http://books.google.com/books?id=errxX4tzSMcC&lpg=PP1&dq=martin%20luther%20king%20adding%20deeper%20darkness%20to%20a%20night%20already%20devoid%20of%20stars.&pg=PA53#v=onepage&q=darkness&f=false

    • rawlinsview says:

      Anna,
      I added this in as a separate post. “hate multiplies hate” LINK
      Thanks for subscribing
      RV

    • Aether says:

      From a quick search around the internet, it seems as though the original posting had an original comment, followed by this MLK quote. Presumably it was copied from status to status, and the quotation mark moved to erroneously include the whole status.

      [The reader provides a facebook screen capture here which I have taken down until i have permission from the author to post it. This seems appropriate as a matter of respect to her privacy. I wrote to the author and await her reply.

      This is the capture of the original post It has been authorized for public view by its author Jessica Dovey. She requests that we respect the privacy of her friends.] RV

  4. clarissarachaelle says:

    Awesome.
    These quotes by MLK are great and thanks for the links to the speeches. They are definitely more meaningful and have more depth than the condensed version. They feel profoundly relevant right now.
    Again,
    Thank you for sharing.

  5. Karen says:

    The quote was falsely attributed to MLKJr in it’s entirety because somewhere someone omitted a quotation mark from the original posting:

  6. Thank you for sharing!

  7. MN says:

    I was searching on the Internet to find the right source for the mentioned quote because I liked it and wanted to post it on my FB w the right reference and year. I got confused by the mixed findings and came across this one: http://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110502205607AAuO9XN where I found a link showing that a random girl on FB had written the first line in her FB status and thereafter quoted MLK. The missquote came across as people have copied all of her status like it all was said by MLK when they reposted it. See her status here: http://i.imgur.com/cqtjw.jpg
    Thanks for being critical towards what you see and what you hear on social media platforms. The same way is how we have to be with the mass media and their sources these days. Peace.

  8. I found the following from MLK that is close…

    “This story [the story of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea and the Egyptian army being drowned] symbolizes something basic about the universe. It symbolizes something much deeper than the drowning of a few men, for no one can rejoice at the death or the defaeat of the human person. This story, at bottom, symbolizes the death of evil. It was the death of inhuman oppression and ungodly exploitation.”

    http://books.google.com/books?id=GkHrnFzEykwC&pg=PA260&dq=martin+luther+king+rejoice+in+the+death+of+one&hl=en&ei=m_2_TdTBMMro0QHA0v2IBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CD8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

  9. Chris says:

    This is interesting. I’ve used the apparently paraphrased version of the quote before. Thanks for the help in clarifying. 🙂

  10. Carl McNeill says:

    Is there a way I can post this to facebook?

  11. Pingback: “I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.” Words of Jessica Dovey. Followed by Martin Luther King Junior | Rawlin'sView Blog

  12. “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that”

    Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? MLK, 1967

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  14. Noah Hocker says:

    Stop drowning the truth in specificity! The words are right no matter who’s mouth they came from.

    • Zuri says:

      Thank you Noah – EXACTLY!! I’m so tired of people complaining about my apparent incorrect use of a quote. That’s not the point at all.

  15. Pingback: Today « Purplume's blog

  16. Christy says:

    Yes, thank you!

  17. suesue says:

    peace and justice for all

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