Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
Other Central Park Rapes
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Angela Davis once wrote the ideological space for the proliferation
of this racialized fear of crime, has been opened by the transformation
in international politics created by the fall of the European socialist
countries. Communism is no longer the quintessential enemy against
which the nation images its identity. This space is now inhabited
by ideological constructions of crime, drugs, immigration and welfare.
Of course the enemy within is far more dangerous than the enemy
without. And a Black enemy within is the most dangerous of all,
There was without
doubt a wild and horrific crime committed against a young woman
in the green depths of New York Citys Central Park, in the
cool nights of 1989. But she was not the only person against whom
a crime was committed. Five young boys Yusef Salaam, Kharey Wise,
Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, and Antron McCay which each and
all victimized by a police prosecutorial and judicial system that
saw them merely as the racist rampaging media was projecting them.
And treated them like aliens in the midst of what philosophers like
to boast about the so called social contract. They
were hustled into court provided with defense counsel that is barely
more than a presence, like most poor folks in the nation, and given
what was little more than a proverbial bums rush.
In the days
following the Central Park rape and in the same period of the trial
a prominent New York City financial and real estate tycoon Donald
out full page ads in city papers lamenting that these animals
could not receive the death penalty. The boys were duly bum
rushed into the gulags of New York, upstate prison hell holes where
they were tagged with that worst of all tags Rapist".
In prison culture
there are few epitaphs that are more deadly, the only one scene
as worse is perhaps baby raper. These youngsters endured
almost and for some over a decade, of such horrific conditions.
And they faced another hell when they came time for an elusive false
freedom, in a city where their names were anathema. As they suffered
so thier mothers suffered and as they recently wrote to the head
DA we have suffered for thirteen years but it seems like an
eternity, while the so-called justice system refused to hear our
laments, or even objectively review our many legal concerns regarding
the many improprieties that we perceived to be evident in this case.
It has been our hope although not our belief that we would be treated
fairly and democratically given the confession of Matias Reyes and
the forensic verification validating his admissions.
of the Central Park five have endured the unendurable as their boys
were swallowed up into the Gulag and emerged with permanent scars
upon their very souls. One wonders what would have happened if that
young man Mr. Reyes had not
In a word nothing.
How many other
such cases, rushed through a voracious greedy soulless system languish
in the joint under processes that are virtually identical to those
that occurred in the Central Park five case? Was there really anything
different? Did they have better
lawyers? Did they have falsified confessions? Did they have DAs
hungry for book deals? Did they have judges bent on moving the case
along, who considered the notion of presumption of innocence a mere
Park five are striking if in anything in their ordinariness they
are everybodys son in every city anytime. Their fate is not
unique. For the average jury the next time your DA announces a confession
treat it with the scorn it deserves. Any adult knows that 14, 15,
or 16-year-olds can be bent to the will of older more mature men.
How much more so when the bullying methods of cops are used. Cops
who if wary of inflicting physical punishments upon the very young,
are more than equipped to apply the psychological ones. As adults,
as armed adults, as grown men it would please pardon the expression,
be childs play, especially to a Black or Latino young who
regards them sometimes rightfully as vicious brutes who will do
them some serious harm unless they say what they want them to say.
And so the
Central Park jogger rape case folds, and it now seems that those
got raped, by judges, by defense lawyers, by prosecutors, by juries,
and by the white nationalist media to quote black novelist Ishmael
Reed. The very media that sensationalized and demonized the boys
13 years ago, and sold ad space to call for their deaths, now makes
new millions off of their exoneration. How delicious. How many more?
bourgeoisie hand wringing in the daily press that asks what went
wrong? The question really should be what is the difference between
this case and hundreds if not thousands of others? What is the diff?
And the answer is not much. It happens everyday in Babylon; it is
the repressive norm. It is business as usual.
row this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
commentaries are produced by Noelle Hanrahan for Prison Radio.
© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.