We live in an interesting time. I was thirteen when the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened, and it was at that moment that I finally became aware of the world outside my little bubble. Since then, we've been in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, all over the place, and now there's stuff going down in Syria. Plenty o' violence out there. It's no good. As a teenager, I wondered what would happen if they reinstated the draft. The idea scared me – I hated it. I still hate the idea, but I'm now a 26-year-old single father college student, so I'm safe. Imagine, though, being compelled to be shipped off to a strange country to have to either kill people or die yourself. It's wretched, and I cannot comprehend what it must have been like during the Vietnam War. Of course, there were those who refused – most famous among them being Louisville's own Muhammad Ali.
He is a hero, both local and national, and he has his own center downtown, but in the 1960s he came under fire for his refusal to accept his draft call and go to Vietnam to fight, citing his religion as his reason. “War is against the teachings of the Holy Qu'ran,” he said. “I'm not trying to dodge the draft. We are not supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah or The Messenger.” He famously remarked, “I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Congs.”
Playing now at Village 8 Theaters as part of the Louisville Exclusives series is The Trials of Muhammad Ali, a documentary which tells the story of this incident. Village 8 is located at 4014 Dutchmans Lane. Further theater information and showtimes can be found at the Village 8 website.
Image: Internet Movie Database