Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
New and Old
9-11, US President, George W. Bush, initially announced the beginning
of a "crusade" against the forces that unleashed September
11th. Under criticism from his advisers, who said that the term
evoked outrage in much of the Arab world, he relented, and the term
was heard no more.
While the word
'crusade' may no longer be used in presidential speech, there can
really be little doubt that it is precisely the concept of 'crusade'
that actuates many of the actions of the US government vis-a-vis
the countries of the Middle East. Bush has spoken often of 'remaking
the face of the region.'
There is a reason
why Arab countries and communities reacted with outrage and horror
at the mere mention of the crusades; Arabs and Europeans view that
past differently, because their respective cultures were in conflict
then. The Europeans saw the Crusades as a noble assignment from
the Popes to 'liberate' Jerusalem from the hands of the "infidels",
the Muslim Arabs and Moors. The Arabs saw the era as one of unrelenting
bloodshed and cruelty at the hands of the Christians, and saw the
dark days of European colonialism as an echo of that earlier period.
For many Americans,
the notion of 'crusades', while not as loaded as either, evokes
bright, shiny images of knights with crosses on their shields, defending
the poor and the weak.
Behind the various
images of the crusades, however, lies its awful and bloody history,
which British historian Edward Gibbon, in his classic *The History
of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire* [Abridged], does not
hesitate to relate. He is not one who recites the glories of these
mass military campaigns. It... "[Appear[s] to me," Gibbons
writes, that these 200 years of "holy wars", "have
checked rather than forwarded the maturity of Europe" (691).
and labours of millions, which were buried in the East, would
have been more profitably employed in the improvement of their
native country: the accumulated stock of industry and wealth would
have overflowed in navigation and trade; and the Latins would
have been enriched and enlightened by a pure and friendly correspondence
with the climates of the East. 
were not absolutely evil, he argues, in that they did away with
another evil: the crusades unleashed an untold number of Europeans,
who were tied to the soil as serfs. These people were thrown into
the teeming armies of the crusades, and the costs of such ventures
"dissipated" the estates of the barons, allowing the poor
to agitate for some semblance of freedom, and some social standing
free of the rapacious nobility.
us that wars begin for many, various reasons; yet few of us can
see their end. Surely, the nobles of church and state, who alone
bore the stamp of 'citizen' or 'men', before the 200 years of war,
could not foresee their dissipation, and loss of power and prestige
afterwards. They saw only the promise of vast wealth, and the misty
inheritances of martial glory.
Yet, as ever,
there are lessons in history.
'War', the saying
goes, 'is the sport of kings.' It is also, often, an engine of societal
change, that transforms the nations that wage war, as often as the
nations that are warred against. The first crusades weakened, rather
than strengthened Europe, but this was lost to those ruling and
wealthy classes, who could not see past their own avarice.
We are told
that these wars too, will, in the crippled words of Bush, 'last
None of us can
see the beginning of an end. But, if history teaches us anything,
it is that change is coming.
will change them; but assuredly, it will change us, as well.
2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal
information and to order We Want Freedom, visit:
Check out Mumia's
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life
of African and African-American People" at www.africanworld.com
The Power of Truth
is Final Free Mumia!
International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180
E-mail - AND
OFFER YOUR SERVICES!
Send our brotha
some LOVE and LIGHT at:
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370
WE WHO BELIEVE
IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!
© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.