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Moussaoui’s Coming of Age

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[Col. recorded 10/6/03]

President George W. Bush said in October of 2001, people are going to get tired of the war on terrorism. For the first time in years, the Franco-Moroccan accused Zaccarhais Moussaoui i, who faces a litany of charges connected with the hijackings and bombings at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 911, received some good news in an American court.

On Thursday, second October, the judge hearing the case precluded the US Attorney General from seeking the death penalty and from raising to any jury, any suggestion that Mr. Moussaoui was involved with the events of September 11th, 2001. According to federal judge Leoni Brinkma, it would simply be unfair to require Moussaoui to defend against such prejudicial accusations while being denied the ability to present testimony from witnesses who could assist him in contradicting those accusations.

The judge's opinion was almost as unprecedented as the prosecution's provocation-their utter denial to allow Moussaoui access to propose witnesses. One must read thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of cases before finding one where, as here, the prosecutor replies to a judge's order by simply saying "no"

As news was breaking of this latest development in the Moussaoui case, this commentator was reading the last pages of the recently published Zaccharais, My brother- The Making of a Terrorist by Ab-samad Moussaoui, the older brother. It provided some interesting insights into the early developmental years of the Moussaoui boys who were both born in the south of France of Moroccan parents. Their mother, Ayesha, seemed determined to raise them without the slightest inculcation of their Moroccan-Arabic culture.

Ab-Samad tells of their inability to speak Arabic and their almost total ignorance of Muslim religious prayers and customs. Their mother would proudly tell other Moroccan and North African neighbors, "They're right little French boys, these two"

When they were yet little boys, the learned something quite important about how other French people saw them. In an exchange that sounds almost certainly American, Ab-Samad recounts the day that marked the two Moussaoui brothers when they were but eight and ten years old.

'Everyday after school, Zach and I would play marbles with the same friend, a neighbor,' Ab-Samad wrote, 'one afternoon at around 4:30, he appeared as usual. We called out to him 'Remi," he didn't budge. He looked at us from a far. We walked over to him to ask him what was the matter?

I can't play with you,

how come? why can't you play with us?

Because my parents said I can't.

But why have your parents said you can't play with us today?

We play marbles together everyday.

No its not just today, its for always. They say that you're niggers and they don't want me to play with niggers', he wrote.

When one multiplies such soul-cutting events over a young person's life, can there be any question why someone might grow up alienated, feeling set apart from the society of their birth?

The two brown-skinned boys were born in France, lived all of their lives in France, spoke only French, went to French schools, but, increasingly, especially after the rise of the rightist Le Pen movement in 1984, began to wonder about the land of their birth. They began to search out religious and cultural teachers who could give them a grounding in the history and culture of their parents and extended family in Morocco.

This is not to suggest that such events as this, pushed a youngster such as Moussaoui into the ranks of the Islamists of Al-Quaeda. Of that. I have no knowledge, no matter what the US government charges them with. But it may suggest that the root of fighting terrorism lies not in the missile silos, or the uranium tipped anti-tank weapons that litter the deserts of Iraq. For if the Iraq adventure has proven anything, it has shown how such attacks create more, not less enmity, anger and violent reprisal. The roots of wisely waging a war against terrorism may lie in the chamber of the human heart, where children dwell and where hatred and enmity is born often at the instigation of parents.

Who Knows?

From Death Row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal

Copyright 2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa

Text © copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.