Untold Story of Martin Luther King comic that inspired the Egyptian Protests
via Comics Alliance
Originally published by the Fellowship of Reconciliation in 1958, The Montgomery Story was a comic book that dealt explicitly with Dr. King’s philosophy of non-violent civil disobedience, specifically with respect to the legendary Montgomery Bus Boycott. The book included a how-to section that demonstrated how the practice can actually yield results. According to FOR’s website, The Montgomery Story sold more than 250,000 copies.
While the world’s political pundits debate the role the United States has played in the historical events presently occurring in Egypt, one activist is crediting a specific American with playing a part in inspiring a generation of Egyptians to take to the streets in a nonviolent protest that has changed the course of their nation. That American is Martin Luther King, Jr., and his message was transmitted by way of a 50-year-old comic book recently translated into Arabic and distributed throughout the Middle East.
Dalia Ziada is Egypt Director of the American Islamic Congress, a non-profit group founded in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to confront intolerance against Muslims, and later to promote peace and civil rights throughout the Arabic world. The AIC’s HAMSA initiative – designed to link civil rights groups throughout the Middle East — undertook in 2008 a project to translate The Montgomery Story into Arabic (and later Farsi). With the endorsement of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Ziada distributed 2,000 copies of the comic throughout the Middle East, and her efforts were consequently reported on by news sources including Time Magazine and History News Network:
Spreading the message of non-violent resistance throughout the Middle East is ultimately a means to an end for Ziada and the rest of the AIC; that is, to inspire action. “The main message I hope that Arabic readers will take from the MLK comic book is that: change is not impossible. It is time to stop using our muscles blindly. Let’s try using our intellect in innovative, creative ways to pressure decision makers and end dictatorship, tyranny and the suppression practiced against us.”