Taking The Knee: An Old (New) Custom

Perhaps the first or one of the first times that this taking the knee action became significant in the USA was when M. L. King, Jr., did it. He like many other defiant individuals of the social order acted respectfully and heartfelt Yet he was not going to stop his actions regardless of consequences, which ended in his murder.
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The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., center, leads a group of civil rights workers and residents of Selma, Ala.

Customs often have an interesting way of arising. For example, we offer our right hands when greeting  strangers and shake them.

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The original purpose for the handshake was this: to prove that your intentions toward the strangers were friendly. After all, the right hand  — the sword, saber and knife hand wiellder — was the right hand for most people. So symbolically you can show no ill will when the hand is offered free of a weapon.

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Russian and American soldiers shaking hands and greeting each other
Jesus also condoned the defiance that is the custom of bending the knee, although he had another way to carry it out. … Contrary to modern derivatives of turning the other cheek’s meaning as indicating that one forgives and forgets, this action was an act of disobedience.

It is because offering your left facial cheek to a lord, ruler or other superior means that you would not show him his superiority to you by offering your right one for a possible slapping. So Jesus turned his left one to Romans and others to show noncompliance.

Quakers (Religious Society of Friends) did the same action with NOT kneeling or bending the knee before Royalty in England and elsewhere located. It was because they thought that we were all equal under the eyes of the ultimate Lord, God.

They refused to bend the knee to false Gods and those in power alike:

“What pictured forms of heathen lore, of god and goddess please you, What idol graven images you bend your wicked knees to.” – John Greenleaf Whittier

John Greenleaf Whittier – Wikipedia

John Greenleaf Whittier (December 17, 1807 – September 7, 1892) was an American Quaker poet and advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States.

Yet the meanings of certain actions can change with time and I bet that now that some Quakers now are bending the knee in this vein if they are in sports’ stadium stands:

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Several New England Patriots players kneeled during the national anthem before an N.F.L game against the Houston Texans on Sunday. Credit Michael Dwyer/Associated Press Inline image 3
[Jaguars Bend the Knee], By Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

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‘America’s Team’: All Dallas Cowboys, owner take a knee during Monday’s NFL
“President Donald Trump said Tuesday he felt “ashamed” by ‘disgraceful’ NFL-wide protests and accused participants of disrespecting military members who died or were injured defending the United States.

“’I was ashamed of what was taking place,’ Trump said during a joint press conference with the Spanish prime minister in the White House Rose Garden, referring to the numerous football players who knelt during the playing of the national anthem before NFL games.

“I don’t think you can disrespect our country, our flag, our national anthem,” Trump said. ‘Many people have died,’ he added, referring to fallen military members.” –Trump: I ‘felt ashamed’ after ‘disgraceful’ NFL protests, NBC News

Every time that those in power try to use fascist measures to control us, we people across the world need to lock arms in protest or take the knee. We need it as a form of protest against them and our huge capability to “speak truth to power.”

We need it across all countries at public events. We need to kneel or lock arms and show our rejection of a wrongful system. We need to do so since the tormentors won’t willingly cede their control of us unless we stand up to them with formidable force.

A number of my friends in the USA think that we are broiling toward another civil war. Some of the signs of this possibly coming into being in the USA are already present.

What is needed on behalf of all oppressed people across the world are huge protests, such as we had in Charlottesville, Boston (40,000 strong) and now at our sports’ stadiums in the USA. … What we need is an attempt to universally protect each other in unison, and in the nonviolent ways that M. Gandhi and M. L. King, Jr. both did. … Only when we continually speak truth to power and have enough people in unified defiance will we have the hope of finally being a bit free from covert or overt violence and intimidation!

Let’s all honor our societies’ best intentions by knee or locked arms:

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A protester is detained by Portland police during a demonstration in Portland, Sunday, June

As an aside, people should never stereotype others. I have a policeman in my neighborhood, who would if defend anyone’s life by giving up his. He doesn’t care about your religious preferences, skin color or any aspects about you personally since he sees it his duty to serve humanity.
So I hope that we can continue to all resist, including him. Let’s fight the status quo full-force in peaceful ways! … Non-action is consent!

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We need to take some sort of this rejecting action for all of the people, who for centuries before us fought. This includes my former friend, Andy Goodman, who was murdered while Freedom Riding. This involves Gauri Lankesh and will always involve new others like Prof Kancha Illaiah. If we won’t defend them, then who will? So rise up or go on knee.

Personally, I don’t care about the way that others resist. I think that we should all learn to carry out this action — the knee, the locked arms  or something else — across the world. So I want this fightt o spread as an action like a wild fire.  It is one of the few ways that we can fight back power with equal power. So I hope that this custom latches on across the world regardless of the way that it is enacted.

Sally Dugman is a writer from MA, USA.


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