Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
Shadow of Rome
3/51 MBs, 4:18
Short version: mp3,
2.89 MBs, 3:32
crown o' the earth doth melt. My
O! withered is the garland of the war,
The soldier's pole is fall'n; young boys
Are level now with men; the odds is gone,
And there is nothing left remarkable
Beneath the visiting moon.
Shakespeare, *Antony and Cleopatra*
The War, we
are told, has been over for months in the sweltering desert of Iraq.
As Bush 'the Lesser' proclaimed several months ago, as he swaggered
in his tailor-made flight suit: "Mission Accomplished!"
Yet, if wars
are measured in death, destruction and conflict, the Iraq Adventure
is many things, but 'over' it ain't!
As these words
are written there comes reports of conflicts with U.S. troops and
Iraqis in the so-called "Sunni Triangle," sparked by protesters
who are parading through an Iraq town with pictures depicting Iraq's
former President, Saddam Hussein!
The body count
of Americans (not to mention Iraqis!) who have died in the broadening
conflict has equalled or exceeded that of the active war itself.
Also, by increasing
numbers, the American people are becoming increasingly disenchanted
with the Iraq Occupation. Some are beginning to question the claimed
reasons for the war and occupation, as there is no indication that
so-called weapons of mass destruction exist or have existed for
As the eloquent
Black nationalist, Malcolm X was fond of saying, "History best
rewards our research."
When we look
at the emergence of the U.S. Empire, we are tempted to look at historical
precedents, like Rome. A man regarded as Rome's greatest historian,
Tacitus, wrote of Roman wars for imperial looting, against the Britons,
the Gauls, and other ancient peoples. Among his reports is of Calgacus
of the Caledonians, who was rousing his British tribe against the
Roman invaders. In his speech to the Caledonians, we see how an
occupied people looked at the Romans:
as I consider the causes of war and our dire straights, I have great
confidence that this day and your union will be the beginning of
freedom for all Britain; for you have all joined together, you who
have not experienced slavery, for whom there
are no lands further on and even the sea is not safe, with the Roman
fleet threatening us. Thus battle and weapons, which are honorable
for the brave, are likewise the greatest source of safety even for
cowards... [N]ow the farthest boundary of Britain lies open, ...now
there are no people further on, nothing except waves and rocks,
and the Romans more hostile than these, whose arrogance you would
in vain try to avoid by obedience and submission. Plunderers of
the world, after they, laying everything waste, ran out of land,
they search out the sea: if the enemy is wealthy, they are greedy;
if he is poor they seek prestige; men whom neither the East nor
the West has sated, they alone of all men desire wealth and poverty
with equal enthusiasm. *Robbery, butchery, rapine they call empire
by euphemisms, and when
they produce a wasteland, they call it peace,"* [Tacitus, P.C.,
*Agricola, Germany and Dialogue on Orators* (Univ. of Oklahoma Press:
Norman/London, 1967 ),
To be sure,
this is not a common reflection that history sends us of Rome. But
it is a view held by many of the people who were held under the
Roman imperial foot.
now, perhaps centuries from this hour, what will people think of
the acts of the American Empire? Will the justifications for war
put out by Bush prevail, or will the voices of those who are under
the American imperial boot be unearthed?
are almost all consumers of the corporate, imperial press, such
voices are hard to hear now, and will rarely be heard, for a while.
their newsdesks festooned with sets embracing 'Operation Iraqi Freedom,'
it will take some time for the voice of Iraqi underdogs to carve
through the marble.
But if Tacitus
teaches us anything, it is that those voices will have their hearing.
its best, reflects more upon the present than the past. It gives
us some idea, not only of what came before, but of what is happening
now, and why.
In 2,000 years
we are still engaged in "empire by euphemisms", where
war is peace, and warriors are peacekeepers.
2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.