Today is the birth anniversary of the Abolitionist, John Brown, who led the famous pre-Civil-War attack on Harper's Ferry in 1859 and was later hanged. The slide-show posted below includes: Brown's photo, an article about his life, Pete Seeger performing "John Brown's Body," a PBS documentary, a video-look at the Harper's Ferry incident, and a performance of John Brown's last speech,
Looking over these materials, I found similarities between the arguments Brown made in defense of his attacks on slaveholders and those presented by former National Security Agency Contractor, Edward Snowden, in defense of his NSA leaks. At the heart of this defense, as we all know, is the assertion that sometimes it is necessary to break the law in order to do what is right. To break man's law in the service of a higher one. Between Brown and Snowden, there are men like Henry David Thoreau and Daniel Ellsberg. Probably others, too, but the point is made. What I found striking was a certain physical similarity as I compared photographs of Edward Snowden to those of a beardless John Brown. It's as if the same man has come back, as it were, to take the same stand as before but on a different, yet no less important issue. Although I set out to mark only the life of John Brown in this post (in part because he figures in my short story, A SUNDAY KIND OF LOVE), I have included in the slide show below a photo of Snowden and a few items about his life as well, including his recent appearance at TedTalks via video robot.
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