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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: Category: podcasts
Sep 19, 2009
The next time I hear a politician promise to do something 'for the children', I may heave. If one thing is clear in this nation, it is that children are hated. Oh -- we don't use that word to describe our relationships with them, but if we honestly examine those interactions we find that it would be difficult to describe in ways other than 'hate.' For the last several months, I've been reading, studying and thinking about the nation's public school system. I've read classics in the field, like Jonathan Kozol's 1967 work, Death At An Early Age, a stunning account on his years as a permanent sub [!] in Boston's Black populated schools in Roxbury, where kids were taken down into dark, dank cellars and beaten with rattan sticks. But what happened in the dark basements of the buildings, while certainly dramatic and deplorable, could hardly be worse than the systematic slaughter of the minds of tens of thousands of children, who were, in Kozol's words, "intellectually decapitated" daily by a racist, segregated school system. Truth is, any major U.S. city could've been used with similar results - Harlem, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, for nationally, the drop-out rate is 50%. Public schools are places where kids go to get their minds and souls killed. And what is war but old men sacrificing young men in often meaningless battles? What is the so-called 'War on Terror' but a mindless slogan used to sell lies like 'Weapons of Mass Destruction?' And what are soldiers but mostly children, molded into madmen, who fight and die, so that old rich men can get richer? Daily, we drug millions of schoolchildren, some as young as 4 years old with Ritalin, because we describe them as hyperactive or deficient in attention --which means they don't sit still, while we bore them out of their brains, with what we laughingly call an education. 'For the children' we leave a diseased and poisoned planet, an economy on crutches, and a world boiling with hatred for their fathers. Isn't it about time we really stopped doing more damage to the children? 9/19/09 (c) Mumia Abu-Jamal
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
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