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Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays

Commentaries by the award-winning journalist and activist Mumia Abu-Jamal
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Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays
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Now displaying: May, 2007
May 27, 2007
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May 27, 2007
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May 14, 2007
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May 13, 2007
With congressional passage of the administration's supplemental money bill, the president threatens a veto because of his aversion to timetables. But whether he vetoes it or not, the die is cast. More money for war, a war that never should have been waged in the first place. When news broke of the congressional passage, I thought not of Congress but of a robber, like the ones of old time movies who snarled your money or your life. Congress goes one better, for it's your money and your life. For while bowing to the false political imagery of supporting the troops, congress has socked more US billions into a losing proposition to prop up a doddering regime in Baghdad. The troops trope is a political maneuver meant to evade the charge that the democratically controlled Congress is soft on defense and betrayed the military in the midst of war. Instead of recognizing the handwriting on the wall, imperial huberis of left and right feeds the illusion that more money can save Iraq. Only Iraqis can save Iraq. What we are witnessing are simply the limits of US imperial power. When Rome reached the limits of its stretch, Emperor Hadrian ordered the building of a wall across Britain's colonial areas. The US has ordered the building of walls throughout Baghdad, to further divide an already divided city. Echoes of empire, echoes of history. Vietnam was waged years after it was abundantly clear that peace was inevitable. In that interim, tens of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, perished in a maelstrom of madness to save the faces of presidents. A generation later, although the scope is different, the dismal reality is the same. More war, more needless death. From Death Row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal
May 9, 2007
With wars waged abroad purportedly for "spreading democracy", it's time to face some uncomfortable truths. People are awake and aware that the U.S. and the West doesn't give a fig about democracy. They care about puppets -- people in state power who are answerable to them -- and fear democracy more than terrorism. From Karzai in Afghanistan, Siniora in Lebanon, al Maliki in Iraq, and beyond, people are rising up against these shills for Western, corporate interests. Protests from Kabul to Pakistan are raging against America's alleged allies, who rule by brutality, barbarity and torture. There are several reasons for this state of affairs, but perhaps it all bubbles down to two: Abu Ghraib, and the Iraq invasion/occupation. American performance on the ground, their treatment of Iraqis, the chaos that has seized the country like a fever, had fueled protests far beyond the borders of Iraq, blowing around the world like the borderless wind. The war in Iraq, and all of its consequences, has caused the U.S. to be one of the most-feared and most-hated nations on earth. Beyond the rhetoric of democracy lies the gloved hand of international business; or, in a more commonly-used term -- globalization. Globalization is far more than the newest expression of an old economic theory (capitalism); it is the force that requires the installation of puppets throughout the Middle East. One of the many, many protesters against the Siniora regime in Lebanon, in explaining her opposition to the government, voiced a concern not usually translated for American audiences: We are peacefully contesting the government to show that people without a voice are actually the majority... It is only the rich people who have a voice in this current government, while the middle and lower classes are not listened to. There is a class mentality in this government. [Fr.: Jamail, Dahr, "Lebanon: this protest won't go away," Asheville Global Report (May 3 - May 9, 2007), p.12]. The reason for this infiltration? Oil Do you really think that Americans suddenly care about Arab suffering? One glance at the pain of Palestinians will answer that question. Indeed, life under any of America's allies in the region ain't no cup of tea; in Eygpt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, or in Iraq, democratic activists have faced the brutality of their regime's police in the streets, and the sneer of their torturers in the dungeons beneath the streets. America's response is little more than stony silence, broken intermittently by the cold academic listing in the State Dept. report. The message couldn't be clearer: "We'll talk about democracy, but that's it!" The U.S. didn't march to Iraq to bring democracy, to spread freedom, or anything even remotely like it. It didn't go there to stop the oppression of Iraqis. It didn't go there because Saddam Hussein was a "bad guy." It went there to make that access to the most precious commodity left on earth, oil, was there. And, it figured, as a Superpower, it was its imperial due. Every nation in the world knows this. Billions of people around the globe know this. The tragedy is that there are still a few Americans who claim to believe in this madness. If there really waas democracy, America's closest allies would be out of a job (at the very least, or hanging from the spires of their professional palace. If there really was democracy either in the U.S. (or Britain), the most unpopular governments in generations wouldn't still be in power. From Death Row, this is Mumia Abu–Jamal
May 6, 2007
It was a bright spring day, May 14th, 1607, when one hundred and eight men and boys from England went ashore in an area that we now call Virginia. Before a generation could pass, the indigenous people would be all but destroyed. They would become the sad reflection of the English missions of civilization and Christianizing. Having failed in this dubious experiment, the so–called Indians would be reduced to beggars in the land of their fathers. Jamestown. During this month, and throughout the year, we may be hearing of memorials or even celebrations of the English settlement. We’re taught about the great English leader, Captain John Smith, and the struggle on an Indian’s chief’s daughter, Pocahontas, to save his life. Her plea to for the man’s life is as central to America’s founding mythology as the fantastic wolf–fed children of Romulus and Remus was to Rome. When most Americans think of America’s founding families, they think more often of Plymouth, Massachusetts, than of Virginia. England’s settlers landed in Virginia thirteen years before settlers arrived in New England. When local Indians resolved to let the English starve rather than endure their harsh treatments, Smith chose to attack and take what he wanted from his neighbors. As one recorder noted, “seeing by trade and courtesy there was nothing to be had, he, Smith, made bold to try such conclusions as necessity enforced, though contrary to his commission, let fly his musket, ran his boat on shore, whereat they all fled into the woods.? Englishmen were poor farmers, and further, many felt such work beneath them, so they either bartered foodstuffs from the Indians, stole it, or forced them to work for them. How many of us know that the first cross–cultural slavery in the Americas was of Indians, not Africans. The Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas, who accompanied Columbus on the voyage from Spain, wrote home to request permission to exploit Africans as slaves because the Indians were dying too quickly. Jamestown was four hundred years ago, yet it set a pattern of conquest, destruction, and self–deception that continues down to this very day. The history that began with Indians did not end with them. The successful conquest of Indians led inexorably to the conquest of a third of Mexico, and seizure of their lands. It led to the Monroe Doctrine, looking at the nearest continent as this nation’s ‘backyard’. Jamestown. Four hundred years. Yes, let us celebrate and commemorate conquest, death and genocide. There’s something to be learned in this. But I doubt it’s the lesson we think it is. From Death Row, this is Mumia Abu–Jamal.
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