Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
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Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal/Prison Radio
"When the Prison Nation Goes International: Attica to Abu-Ghraib "
1) 3:49 When the Prison Nation Goes International: Attica to Abu-Ghraib"
2) 4:10 Speech When the Prison National Goes International: Attica to Abu-Ghraib"
WHEN THE PRISON NATION GOES INT'L
[Speech Writ. 4/2/05] Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal
Thanks for your kind invitation to join the 'Attica to
Abu Ghraib' Conference; *Ona Move!*
When we think about the atrocities of Attica, and the
abominations at Abu Ghraib, we are sometimes caught
searching for a common denominator. What could it
be, we wonder, as we look at the brutal state assault
on both prisoners and staff at Attica, and the human
rights violations, and yes - torture, that marked American
behavior at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq?
The commonalities, however, are more than first
meets the eye. Of course, they are both prisons (but
that's obvious). They both came to public consciousness
through the actions of people who were prison guards.
And they both were, initially, defended by the State
by a flood of lies.
What matters really least, is that they occurred in
different countries. They both happened in the same
What marked the differences between them is the
critical element of time, and even this quality does not
speak well of things to come. For, as time is the
difference, yet it tells us how far things have fallen;
how the 30 years between Attica and Abu Ghraib
have marked a coarsening of American character,
and a brutishness of imperial defenders.
Attica opened up an era of prison reform across
much of the nation, and fueled the movement to
attempt to eradicate the most depraved elements
of the nation's repressive prison systems.
Abu Ghraib was met by quasi-official justifications,
government obfuscation, and the incredible spectacle
of right-wing pundits likening the torture and human
rights abuses there to 'college pranks.' The humiliation
of naked Arab men was compared to the field
displays of cheerleading squads!
There is, of course, another monstrous difference:
the architects of Abu Ghraib, and high-level defenders
of torture, have been rewarded by higher, and more
prestigious posts in government!
In a nutshell, torture pays!
We have not spoken of the pivotal American issue
Without prisoners actively advocating Black
liberation, there would have been no Attica.
The tortured, maimed, and humiliated prisoners
at Abu Ghraib were targeted by the U.S. Army
because they were seeking to intimidate and
eliminate people who were trying to fight to
free their country from foreign occupiers. In
other words, they were fighting for their own
national liberation. In an empire, which picks
puppets for other nations, this is not acceptable.
It wasn't acceptable under the Roman Empire,
the British Empire, nor its North American
successor empire, the American Empire.
To this latest global incarnation of the White
Nation, Arabs are but sand niggers, to be
beaten into submission and obedience. It is
the refusal to accept this status that is fueling
what the U.S. media calls 'the insurgency.'
There is another element that arises from the
evidence: American cruelty. Big Black, the
late veteran of Attica, told stories of the
torture and beatings that he endured, as he
was naked, and held under gunpoint. It is an
eerie precursor of the treatment of Arab
prisoners at Abu Ghraib.
Nor is it mere coincidence that some of
the most brutal, most vicious actors at
Abu Ghraib were U.S. Reserves, who,
in their civilian lives, were prison guards.
How else could they learn it?
One of the most infamous was from
SCI-Greene, in Southwestern Pennsylvania,
named Charles Graner. Recently his ex-wife
came forward to tell of the terrors to which
she was exposed daily. She said Graner
promised to cut her into little pieces, and
that no one would ever find her body.
Welcome to U.S. 'corrections' as the Prison
Nation goes Global.
Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal
[Check out Mumia's latest: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is
just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die.
And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about
justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal
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