Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
It is hard
not to read an article, which does not name the former Iraqi president,
without the added adjective, "brutal." One popular Black
talk show host recently described
the former Iraqi head-of-state as a "thug."
reminded me of an article I read several years ago, before the (latest)
Iraq War, written by a Jesuit scholar who worked with the antiwar
group, Voices in the
Rev. Dr. G.
Simon Harak, writing in the October-November 2002 issue of *BLUEPRINT*,
a Loyola University bimonthly journal, wrote tellingly of the false
justifications for the then-upcoming war, and told of a parade of
US officials who came to Baghdad to support the Hussein regime.
Rev. Dr. Harak writes:
Hussein's human rights violations became more and more flagrant,
the US response was to send a parade of US government representatives
to support Hussein *Donald Rumsfeld*, Alan Simpson, James
McClure, *Robert Dole*, Frank Murkowski, together with US Ambassador
April Glaspie. Typical of their statements is one from Senator Howard
Metzenbaum, announcing himself "a Jew and a staunch supporter
of Israel." He went on to tell Saddam that "I have been
sitting here and
listening to you for about an hour, and I am aware that you are
a strong and intelligent
man *and that you want peace."* [ p. 2]
To quote that
great American actor, Keanu Reeves, "whoa."
I think what
'the Honorable gentleman' meant was, "as long as you're whacking
who we want you to whack (meaning the Iranians) you're cool with
Hussein *did* want peace; peace through war, which, *with the assistance
of American arms dealers on both sides*, sent over 800,000 people,
perhaps as many as a million men, women and children of both Iraq
and Iran, to the final peace of death. As long as Saddam was wreaking
bloody havoc upon the Islamic
Republic of Iran, he had no shortage of American 'friends.'
if he was a 'brutal thug,' what of those who aided, abetted, and
fulsome praise of Saddam came *after* the horrors of poison gas
dropped on Halabja, the Kurdish town.
Iraq was lobbing chemical warfare against the Iranians, the US support
for Iraq went so far as the altering of US law, to allow US companies
to sell Iraq the resources for his WMDs, and giving him satellite
targeting support for his chemical weapons.
When I hear
such references to 'thugs', or 'brutes', or 'savages', I am reminded
of what every American schoolchild reads by 2nd grade the
Declaration of Independence.
In this declaration,
penned by Thomas Jefferson, to state a claim against the British
Crown for "excit(ing)" the "merciless Indian Savages"
against "us", who adopt a "Rule of Warfare"
of "undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes, and Conditions,"
the US announces its basis for independence from its imperial ruler
England. This is one reason, Jefferson writes, why King George
was "unfit to be the Ruler of a free People."
same time as Jefferson was blaming King George for unleashing the
fury of "merciless Indian Savages" upon the white settlers,
a Shawnee warrior named Tecumseh was rapping with Osages in Missouri.
His comments, designed to achieve
Indian unity, certainly questions who were the "savages":
When the white men first set foot on our grounds, they were hungry;
had no place on which to spread their blankets, or to kindle their
fires. They were feeble; they could do nothing for themselves. Our
fathers commiserated their distress, and shared freely with them
whatever the Great Spirit had given
his red children. They gave them food when hungry, medicine when
sick, spread skins for them to sleep on, and gave them grounds,
that they might hunt and raise corn.
Brothers, the white people are like poisonous serpents: when
chilled, they are feeble and harmless; but invigorate them with
warmth, and they sting their benefactors to death. The white people
came among us feeble; and now we have made them strong, they wish
to kill us, or drive us back, as they would wolves and panthers.
Brothers. The white men are not friends to the Indians: at
first, they only asked for land sufficient for a wigwam; now, nothing
will satisfy them but the whole of
our hunting grounds, from the rising to the setting sun. Brothers.
The white men want more than our hunting grounds; they wish
to kill our warriors; they would even kill our old men, women, and
little ones ...
Who, one wonders,
were the real 'merciless Savages?'
2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.