Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali 1942-2016           (AP photo)

Muhammad Ali  1942–2016

June 6, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Muhammad Ali died on June 3. From the very beginning Ali brought a breath of brashness and defiance into the world of sports. He was a great and artful, graceful and courageous champion in what is, under this system, a brutal, corrupt and dehumanizing arena. But most of all, he should be cherished for the defiant and extremely important stand he took against the U.S. government and its war in Vietnam, refusing not only to join their bloody army but refusing as well to regard the Vietnamese as his enemy. Instead, he declared: “No, I am not going ten thousand miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would put my prestige in jeopardy and could cause me to lose millions of dollars which should accrue to me as the champion. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is right here.”

In punishment, he was stripped of his title and not allowed to fight. And it was only through long legal battles that Muhammad Ali both defeated the U.S. government’s attempt to jail him for five years, and eventually regained the right to box professionally, winning back his championship despite being forced out of the ring for over three years. Yet this sacrifice was certainly well worth it, for this stand inspired and gave heart to people all over the world, as well as all through the U.S.—from the ghettos to the campuses and far beyond—and helped to strip away the moral pretensions of U.S. imperialism. This stand is why billions around the world mark his passing.



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