Imagine how much the world could accomplish if we all respect each other and work together. That seems to be what the individuals that will be mentioned in this article had in mind when they decided to dedicate their lives to fostering peace and trying to create a world where love and understanding prevailed over hatred.
In the pursuit of global harmony, those historical figures that make the subject of this article paid the ultimate price, as they were killed for their convictions.
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968):
Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister, political philosopher, and activist who was also a prominent leader in the American civil rights movement. He dedicated his life to achieving racial equality through nonviolent methods. He was a firm believer in the idea of peaceful protests and civil disobedience, but even so, he became a target for those who resisted change.
Martin Luther King Jr. was killed on April 4, 1968, in Memphis (Tennessee). He got shot by James Earl Ray while standing on the balcony of a hotel. The murderer was a fugitive at the time of the assassination, as he escaped the Missouri State Penitentiary a year before the assassination. The assassin had a history of criminal activities, and his white supremacist ideas didn’t align with the political and life perspectives of Martin Luther King Jr.
James Earl Ray was apprehended, and he pleaded guilty in order to avoid the death penalty. He got sentenced to 99 years in prison and spent the rest of his life behind bars. He died in 1998.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948):
Mahatma Gandhi remains one of the most important figures when it comes to nonviolent resistance, as he advocated for the independence of India through peaceful methods. He was known for his philosophy of satyagraha, which means passive resistance, as it inspired millions of people.
Nathuram Godse, who was a Hindu nationalist, was responsible for the murder of Gandhi on January 30, 1948. Godse opposed the conciliatory approach of Gandhi toward Muslims during the partition of India and decided to murder the famous philosopher by shooting him three times in the chest.
Godse was quickly apprehended by the crowd, and the authorities took over. During the following trial, Godse defended his actions but was found guilty. On November 15, 1949, Nathuram Godse received the death penalty through a gallow.
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963):
John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the US, and he worked diligently to ease tensions during the Cold War. Despite his efforts towards disarmament and diplomacy, he was assassinated on November 22, 1963, through a gunshot in Dallas, Texas.
Lee Harvey Oswald was responsible for assassinating Kennedy, and the motives behind the tragic event remain a subject of much debate and even conspiracy theories. The official investigation reveals that the reasons behind the assassination of the 35th US President have to do with the political beliefs and personal grievances of Oswald.
Lee Harvey Oswald was captured by the authorities but murdered by Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner before he could stand trial.
Anwar Sadat (1918-1981):
Anwar Sadat was the President of Egypt, and he took courageous steps towards peace when he decided to sign the Camp David Accords with Israel. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, but even so, the Egyptian President became a target for extremists.
On October 6, 1981, Sadat was killed during a military parade by members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which is an extremist Islamist group.
Several factors motivated the assassination of Sadat, such as the Peace Treaty with Israel, the impression of political opposition, as well as economic policies and unrest.
The murderers of Anwar Sadat were quickly apprehended by the authorities. Khalid ISlambouli, who was the main assassin, received the death penalty on April 15, 1982. The firing squad carried out his execution.
As for the rest of the individuals involved in the conspiracy, such as members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and military personnel, they were also arrested, tried, and convicted. Some of them received death sentences, while others got lengthy prison terms.
Benazir Bhutto (1953-2007):
Benazir Bhutto was a former Prime Minister of Pakistan and also the first woman to lead a Muslim-majority country. She was especially committed to democracy and human rights, and these commitments made her a target for extremist elements.
A terrorist attack on December 27, 2007, caused the assassination of Bhutto. It was actually a suicide attack that happened during an election rally in Rawalpindi.
Jesus Christ (c. 6 to 4 BC – AD 30 or 33)
Whether you are a Christian or not, you have to admit that the teachings and philosophy of Jesus Christ had a profound impact on the concept of love, peace, and forgiveness. His message emphasizes love, compassion, and forgiveness. Jesus is a central figure of Christianity, one of the world’s main religions.
The Sermon on the Mount, as it was recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, has some of the most renowned teachings of Jesus, such as the Beatitudes. In those verses, Jesus Christ fosters qualities such as peacemaking, mercy, and humility. In one of his most well-known statements, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
The Christian belief states that Jesus was crucified for the sins of mankind. Christians interpret the crucifixion of Jesus as a profound expression of love and reconciliation.
The sacrifices of the peace warriors mentioned in this article have not been in vain. History will never forget them, as they represent a great source of inspiration for generations to come, reminding all of us that the path to peace is often fraught with challenges and dangers.