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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: Page 1
Feb 8, 2007
Have you ever thought (but were afraid to admit) that there really wasn't such a thing as a 'war on terror?' Well, worry no more. England's top prosecutor has set the record straight. Britain's director of public prosecutions, Ken McDonald, gave a speech in late January to the nation's Criminal Bar Association. In words that few U.S. figures of such stature could ever muster, McDonald told the assembly: "On the streets of London, there is no such thing as a 'war on terror', just as there can be no such thing as a 'war on drugs'." McDonald, who heads the Crown Prosecution Service, warned of the "fear-driven and inappropriate response" of the nation's political and legal community, which could threaten the fairness of trials and due process of law. McDonald added: "The fight against terrorism on the streets of Britain is not a war. It is the prevention of crime, the enforcement of our laws and the winning of justice for those damaged by the infringement."* How utterly refreshing! Leave it to the Brits to stick a pin into the U.S. balloon of the 'war on terror.' Presidents love to sell the war metaphor to support their prerogatives to accrue more power than their predecessors. Every war sets the stage for the strengthening of the nation's executive power. That's what McDonald meant when he referred to 'fear-driven responses.' It may begin in Britain, but it won't end there. That's because neither wisdom nor common sense can be segregated behind borders. That's because fear doesn't last forever. Generations ago, during World War II, thousands of Japanese-Americans, men, women, and babies, were placed in concentration camps all across the country -- based purely on fear and racist projections. Today, people look back at that era with embarrassment and deep misgivings. There was no real, honest basis for this kind of treatment of such citizens. It took decades, but presidents have condemned such treatment, and reparations (albeit quite modest) were made to survivors of that social tragedy. Today, a host of errors and evils accompany the so-called 'war on terror.' The president has tried to sell the Iraq debacle as 'the central front' of this war, but fewer and fewer Americans are buying it. And while politicians insist on swearing their false fealty to it (even though they don't believe in it, but are afraid to do so, lest they be marked as 'soft'), public opinion polls show most folks are echoing the views of a British prosecutor. False pretexts -- false wars. With millions of people refugees, hundreds of thousands dead, land and lives ravaged by American maniacs, and their imperial subjects. Americans hear 'war and on terror' today, and turn to American Idol. That's because they know -- in their innards -- that it's a crock. The time will come when we look back, and may dare to smile. Copyright 2007 Mumia Abu-Jamal [Source: Asheville Global Report, No. 420, Feb. 1-7, 2007, p. 15.]
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