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Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts

For Your Own Good?

Long version: mp3, 2.93 MBs, 4:40
Short version: mp3, 2.90 MBs, 3:34

[Col. recorded 11/08/03]

As the deaths begin to mount, and opposition grows to the illadvised Iraq Adventure, we are assured by voices raised in the corporate media, that "we" must all "stay the course," for, surely, the "light is becoming visible at the end of the tunnel."

To someone who lived during the Vietnam War, such assurances are (to say the least), disquieting. They are echoes that harken back to another time, another experience, another war.

What it 'assures' us is, that the essential natures of government and congresses are unchanged, or, perhaps, worsen over time.

At the very beginning of the Iraq Attacks, voices of the anti- war movement claimed that this was chillingly similar to the Vietnamese example of the infamous Gulf of Tonkin resolution, when the administration, the Congress and the press conspired
to create a false *casus belli* to spark the U.S. war machine. Headlines blared about the "brutal attack" on U.S. Naval vessels by "cunning communists" assaulting Americans in an "unprovoked" attack.

It took the better part of a generation to unravel the fact that the war was waged based on a lie.

This time, as before, the U.S. claims to be "bringing democracy" to the benighted Iraqi people, and also "saving them" from a "brutal dictatorship." Conveniently, the fevered warnings of 'weapons of mass destruction', which nudged a cowardly Congress into granting unprecedented powers into administration hands, is casually forgotten.

America, is instead, bringing 'freedom' to the Iraqi people.

Uh, huh.

There is a reason that African-Americans have been a frequent and visible presence in the anti-war movements that have sprung up in this period, unlike during the Vietnam War. I've often wondered why. One thinks it is the deep, cultural understanding that Blacks bring to this question, given their own historical experiences in the U.S.

Blacks know that there were millions of Americans who spoke about "freedom" and "liberty" for centuries, without once thinking about *Black* freedom and liberty. They know, as a deep lesson of history, that their ancestors were dragged here in shackles by people who swore that they were doing it "for your own good."
They know, from bitter experience, that while Americans may say one thing, they mean something quite different. They *know* this.

Few made the case as brilliantly as Frederick Douglass, who condemned the U.S. Constitution as deeply imperfect:

Liberty and Slavery — opposite as Heaven and Hell — are both in the Constitution; and the oath to perform that which God has made impossible... If we adopt the preamble, with Liberty and Justice, we must repudiate the enacting clauses, with Kidnapping and Slaveholding; ... The Constitution of the United States: — What is it? Who made it? For whom and for what was it made? Is it from heaven or from men? ... [W]e hold it to be a most cunningly-devised and wicked compact, demanding the most constant and earnest efforts of the friends of righteous freedom for its complete overthrow. It was "conceived in sin, and shapen in iniquity." [Fr. Philip S. Foner, *The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass* (1950), pp. 118, 362.]

The great American abolitionist and journalist, William Lloyd Garrison would echo Douglass' comments, calling the Constitution "a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell."

The Iraqi Occupation will end, one way or another. The only question is when, and perhaps, how. The American people will look back on this presidential adventure as folly. They may mourn the costs, or even ignore them. They will claim to 'learn' from it,
and then quickly dispatch it into the dark recesses of national memory. Soon, all too soon, it will be history, that most hated and ignored of subjects to Americans. Perhaps a new generation will dust off the dry tomes of the past, and wonder, once again, how
did such a thing come to pass?

Americans, perhaps more than other people, look less to the past, to glean lessons. They are impatient, and forward-thinking, with tomorrow on the radar scope; yesterday all but forgotten.

They are thus ripe for the plucking when politicians unleashthe fear card, to launch them once again, into hell.

Copyright 2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal


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