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Statement for 6/19 Rosenburg Friends for Children Commenoratory 50th anniversary of the Execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenburg.

mp3, 2.65 MBs, 3:18

I greet you all who have gathered here fifty years after the state legally lynched Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. It is a testament to their great spirit that you are here and their memory is hallow by their high work that the Rosenberg fund is doing helping the children of many politically imprisoned activists. To prepare for this event, I read the infamous Death House Letters. Wrenching and haunting accounts of two loving young parents who find themselves on the brink of hell subject to the tender mercies of ambitious public officials. One is struck, not just by the horrendous conditions under which they were held, nor the nakedly political frame up that sent them to Sing Sing, but the deep abiding hope they had in the American judicial system, in the appeals courts, and the Supreme Court. One is struck by how they learned the hard way that the system is not to be trusted and that the law, although promised to all, was not for them. I recommend you not read the heart searing letters especially if you’re a parent, or worse, a parent on death row not to mentioned one prosecuted for political reasons. It’ll destroy any remaining illusions. Ethel’s letters read like the aching heart of any mother who longs for her children. Julius’s letters are more overtly political and they’re a barometer of the repression of the 1950s. A time not unlike our present. For now, we are embarked on a war on terrorism, then it was the war on communism.

As Julius writes on October 9, 1952, “the political climate in this country is one of fear, with a rising hysteria against all those who don’t conform,” To read those words and to think of today is to be reminded of history’s cycles. We’re reminded of how politicians ruthlessly exploit fear to achieve their political ends. How the media plays into these campaigns of lies to further isolate people and to peddle the gruel of fear. Think of the lies which justifies the recent war and once again the cycle of history.

Fifty years ago, and the Rosenberg’s could touch nor hug their boys. They were separated from each other by a screen, confined to a cell for all but fifteen minutes a day in Sing Sing. Fifty years ago, right? And yet we live in a nation where over two million men, women and juveniles are encaged. There are still non-contact visits for thousands of people awaiting legal lynching by the state. When you see my son, understand that I have been forbidden from touching him since he was four years old. I’ve not been able to stroke my wife’s face for over twenty years. Fifty years ago, right? The Rosenberg’s were progressive folks who dared to dream of a world where fascism and racism were no more. And where the state did not use its judicial apparatus for state terrorism. They did not succeed. But that does not mean that their noble dream was wrong. It only means there’s work to be done. Let our work further their dreams into reality.

On the Move, I thank you.


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Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa

 

 

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