ON DECEMBER 6th, I lost a friend- killed by police on the streets of Kansas City. He was Black, 38, born in Chicago and moved to Birmingham, Alabama at age 14. Other than the spirit of Cinque in his heart there was no advance notice of his death. It's taken me 4 months to connect with someone in Kansas City that can help me find out why Mike Turner died so violently and what happened with his body.
ALSO IN DECEMBER, a young Dominican man was beaten and choked to death by police officers in the Bronx. Anthony Baez succumbed to the blue terror while his family and friends looked on in horror.
FEBRUARY, IN PATTERSON, New Jersey an unarmed 16 -year old manchild- Lawrence Myers had his brains blown out by a housing project cop working for federal dollars. The shooter was white. The victim was Black.
THE ONLY WARNING any of them got was color and class. The list is endless.
FOR MUMIA ABU JAMAL there was an additional warning. The state has proclaimed loud and clear its intention to kill him. The state is backed in its warning by the Philadelphia Police Department, judicial compliance, and a sickening apathy on the part of too many people.
WHAT THE FACTS DEMONSTRATE is that Mumia was beaten and shot by Philadelphia police in a city notorious for police murders and brutality. They show that Mumia's trial was fundamentally unfair and that he was framed by a hanging judge. The fact is this system places no human value on Mumia's life but does place symbolic value on killing a principled and courageous defender of the Black Nation. Mumia has been made a target of opportunity in a political climate rancid with racism and reaction.
IT'S OFTEN SAID that it is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness. That's fine as far as it goes but it is presently not deep or strong enough to deter the States executioners. We are at a point beyond candle vigils that reflect little besides moral indignation. We are beyond the point of watching and staring in disbelief.
PROTEST MUST CONTINUE and increase, but it is the fire of resistance that must be ignited. And I don't mean the path of least resistance. I mean resistance that fires from the heart rather than a sense of obligation. I mean sacrifices that compensate in some meaningful way for the shameful indifference that afflicts so many that should be supporting Mumia. Political murder grants nothing to moderation.
WE LIVE IN A COUNTRY that passed a "crime bill" imposing the death penalty for 50 new offenses at the same time a national day of mourning was declared for a war criminal like Richard Nixon. We all bear some degree of responsibility for this American nightmare. We are all responsible to rectify it.
THE LAW FUNCTIONS as an ethical sanction of state violence. It's the governments trump card; the corporate ace in the hole. Cops kill us with impunity and we are hurled into the worlds largest prison system while the quality of life gets pulled from under us by King Capitalism. Those that rule have the law and most of the guns on their side.
...political murder grants nothing to moderation.....
MUMIA'S LIFEBLOOD and political activism have roots in the Middle Passage and Black bondage. The law has its own bloody roots in supporting genocide, slavery, racism, and the penitentiary system. The use and abuse of the law from the patrol car to the Supreme Court only add to the debilitating effects of lives rubbed raw by oppression - an oppression Mumia has resisted since his formative years with the Black Panther Party.
TO RESPECT AND DEFEND MUMIA IS TO ACT.
THE FALL, 1994 ISSUE of the National Lawyers Guild "Guild Notes" does not contain a single mention of Mumia Abu Jamal. This is not a good example of raising. consciousness, testing the bounds of legality, or defiance in the face of death. More must be done.
I'M REMINDED OF IDA B. WELLS and her hard fought campaign against lynching. Throughout her many years of activism she was dismayed with the large number of professionals who put their positions and comforts over the needs of a community under attack. And for the uninitiated let me add that Ida B. Wells possessed a big pistol which she acquired after seeing enough men lynched to know that bitter fruit is most often Black, and the system attacks the most vulnerable.
IT IS MY VIEW THAT the rights due us by virtue of our humanity and labor are continuously violated, and that no comprehensive relief or solutions lie with the courts. However, this is not to say that battles cannot be won through the law. For this reason, every avenue of the law should be pursued to save the life of Mumia and others. What I am saying is that it may not be enough, and for THAT reason other avenues need to be utilized in local, national, and international efforts to stop this execution.
WE NEED TO GO BEYOND the merely acceptable to another
level of energy, commitment, and possibilities. Every neighborhood, every
workplace, union, church, mosque, NAACP chapter, Leonard Peltier Defense
Committee - every National Lawyers Guild member needs to get down in a
serious way with this campaign. No one should claim immunity or prior commitments:
it's going to take sweat and maybe pain. It's going, to take a big noise
and maybe confrontation. This is a commitment that requires whatever it
takes for as long as it takes.
Ray Luc Levasseur, 10376-016, PO Box 150160, USP Atlanta, Atlanta, GA 30315