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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: 2009
Aug 29, 2009
Between the Government and the People As democratic forces mobilize in response to the suspicions resulting from the recent Iranian presidential election, they are meeting repression from a government that is fueled by the twin forces of paranoia and theocracy. The Iranian government is paranoid not because they are crazy, but because many remember the U.S. and British supported coup that led to the installment of the dictatorship of the Shah in 1953, and also more recent support for the Iraqis (during the time of Saddam Hussein, btw) when both countries lost nearly a million people during what came to be called 'The War of the Cities', in the '80's. And although the corporate media has pronounced the notion 'loony' that the U.S. has supported the anti-government protests, in truth the U.S. has supported anti-government terrorism against Iran, chiefly via CIA funding and support for the Baluchis, an Iranian national minority group which comprises some 2% of the population, and which seeks independence. Those ways of thinking informs their view of the broader, democratic movement, which may reflect the sentiments, not so much of an Iranian ethnic minority, but of Iran's youth - a percentage approaching half of the country's population. The second force, theocracy, is the very foundation of the government, which is seen in the formal name of the country: Islamic Republic of Iran. That feature, the rule of the clerics, makes all internal conflicts both religious and political, and therein lies the danger. As Europe has shown for hundreds of years, few wars are more brutal than religious wars. For centuries, the Catholic Church waged wars against unbelief, against innovation, against women, and through the Crusades, against Islam. And although the church won many battles, it lost many wars, such as the war against science, where it sent the astronomer, Galileo, to prison for contending that the earth revolved around the sun -- not the reverse. Let us not act as if we've not seen this before, when theocracies tortured bodies, brutalized people, in the name of faith. Have we not seen democracies do the same, in furtherance of the faith in profit -- as the U.S. in Iraq? Iranians must decide the form their government will take: not the U.S., nor the British. The Iranian people will decide whether the ungodly repression they face will stall them, or spur them on to demand more than the change of faces at the top. (c) 8/16/09 Mumia Abu-Jamal
Aug 3, 2009
Beyond a Beer With the BoysIf the arrest, humiliation and resultant brouhaha over the case of Harvard scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates has taught us anything, it is that we still dwell in separate worlds -- ones which rarely meet. And while some wags have rushed to tell us that the case shows us the continuous clash of class, I beg to differ. If anything, it shows us just the opposite. When it comes to Black people, of whatever wealth, status, class or prominence, the normal rules don't apply. Indeed, Blacks are the ever present exceptions to the rules. Consider this: Americans have said and believed for the better part of a century, that saying: 'A man's home is his castle. Not Black men. How else could 'Skip' Gates get busted on his doorstep -- for disturbing a non-existing peace? In law, a homeowner's property rights doesn't end at his front door. It extends to the street, at the curbside. This is an appurtenance. Imagine if a person slips and falls on the sidewalk in front of a home. What person has a claim on the homeowner, not the city. 'Skip' Gates was busted not because he violated the law, but because he violated the emotions of the cop who entered his house. He angered him when he initially refused to exit his house; and he angered him further when Prof. Gates demanded the cop's ID. President Barack Obama was right when he called the bust 'stupid', but, as usual, politics prevailed when American rednecks responded with howls of protest. (One need look no further than the email sent by a Boston cop in response to the Gates case, where the distinguished educator was described as a 'jungle monkey' -- no, a 'banana-eating jungle monkey'..' if memory serves! Furthermore, imagine what it takes, not just to write this -- but to write this to a reporter). They took it personally -- just as the cop in Gates' home took it personally. Will a beer with the boys put this fire out? I doubt it, for it ignores what happens everyday, in dozens of states, to countless men and women who don't have Harvard Ph.Ds, or friends in the White House. The sad truth is, being Black in America is akin to being born low-caste in India, where separate and unequal rules remain, despite promises in their constitution. Obama's election hasn't changed reality, but may mask it, by providing cover for the ugly things that Blacks endure in a nation where the elites claim a false 'post-racialism.' A few brewskis ain't gonna change that either. (c) '09 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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