Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
There is a profound
contradiction at the heart of American political life: the claim
to a democracy, and the bitter struggle to deny it to almost everyone
else in the world, *all in the name of 'bringing democracy' to the
If there is
one constant in American past and present history, it is the determination
of the powerful elites in this country, to impose their will upon
those of other nations,
against the wishes of the majority of people in foreign nations.
Empire utilizes force, brutal and terrifying, to intimidate the
populations of other nations, and this, when alloyed with the mesmerizing
power of the corporate press, serves to whitewash what is actually
When one looks
at the present situation in Iraq, when the US (on behalf of the
whole world, we are assured) invades a sovereign nation, *which
has not attacked the US*, topples its government, bombs cities,
and installs a puppet regime, we are assured (once again!) that
this is done for the Iraqis, *not American corporations!*
We have been
here before scores of times!
In 1915, the
U.S. invaded nearby Haiti, ostensibly to deal with 'violence' on
the island. It dealt with it, by bringing more. The U.S. Marines
forced the Haitian Legislature to select the candidate the US invaders
wanted as president. When Haiti refused to declare war against Germany,
the Americans dissolved the Haitian legislature! The Americans then
pushed a sham referendum for a new Haitian constitution one
far less democratic than the instrument it replaced. As for the
so-called 'referendum'; under US bayonets it passed, by a ridiculous
98,225 to 768.
nationalists rose up to oppose the northern invader some years later,
the US let loose a bloodbath, killing some 3,000 Haitians in the
infamous Cacos Rebellion. George Barnett, a US Marine general, would
complain, "Practically indiscriminate killing of natives has
gone on for some time." Barnett found this violent episode
"startling" [See James Loewen's *Lies My Teacher Told
Me* (Touchstone, 1996), p. 25-6].
put these proud people who fought two European powers (France and
England) to surrender, in shackles on road crews, and dismantled
to make room for large plantations. As Piero Gleijesus observed,
"It is not that [President] Wilson failed in his earnest efforts
to bring democracy to these little countries. He never tried. He
intervened to impose hegemony, not democracy" (Loewen, p. 25).
is not a Haitian tale alone; for the US invaded Cuba 4 times, Nicaragua
5 times, Honduras 7 times, the Dominican Republic 4 times, Haiti
twice, Guatemala once, Panama twice, Mexico 3 times, and Colombia
4 times this, in the 36 years between 1898 to 1934 alone!
They went, not
to plant democracies, like it's some kind of tobacco plant; but
to *remove* democracies, to prop up dictators, and to support repression.
Iraq is an inheritor
to a grim and dark history, that began in the Americas, spanned
the Caribbean, and touched the region before. It brought the ignominious
reign of the
Shah to the 'peacock throne' of Iran, tossing out a democratically-elected
president, Muhammed Mussedegh. Mussedegh's great offense? He dared
to nationalize the vast oil resources of Iran. For this affront
to the American oil merchants, the US imposed the brutal and repressive
dictatorship of the Shah - Reza Pahlevi, who turned the nation into
a private fiefdom, and a torture chamber. Indeed, it was hatred
of the Shah that launched the Iranian Revolution, and put the Ayatollah
Khomeini in power there.
are mobilizing in the Persian Gulf today, to wipe out the Western-backed
dictatorships that sit above unhappy, and unstable quasi-states.
they have any inkling of history, can no longer claim ignorance,
when it happens again.
2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.