Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
Abu - Ghraib Away
news tips are correct, the U.S. Army's report on the barbarities
at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison will lodge blame for the events there
at the rank of colonel and below, and no real bigwigs or command
staff officers will be tied to the vile events that took place in
the American-controlled gulag.
If so, I'm tempted
to say: "I told you so."
When the Abu
Ghraib prison scandal broke, I wrote that the nation must prepare
for an efficient, neat, tidy whitewash. The grunts would bear the
brunt of any discipline, and the dudes at the top would emerge unscathed.*
There it is.
When it first
happened, I thought back to the scandals that rocked SCI-Greene
several years ago, when a score of guards were charged with brutal,
racist, and vile behavior against men in the hole. Roughly two dozen
guards were fired, but after union appeals, most were quietly reinstated,
after the media furor died down.
One day, while
on the way to the yard, a young red-haired guard said, "It's
all about protecting yer ass, that's all the white shirts care about
know what I mean, Jamal?"
I actually didn't, and asked, "Whatchu mean, Reds?"
when they fired all of us a few years ago?" I nodded.
"They left us out to dry, just hanging. Every damn thing we
did ina Hole, we did 'cause they *told* us to. They told us to 'tune
guys' up, to give 'em an 'attitude adjustment', ya know what I mean?"
I nodded again.
when the heat came down wham! they left us hangin'!
I learned from that, 'protect yer ass!'"
Reds You was one of dem dudes in that stuff?"
Jamal I was out for months, doncha remember?"
I actually didn't
know then, but his brief conversation came back to me, years later,
when the events at Abu Ghraib made the news. Nor was I even remotely
surprised when a former guard from SCI-Greene just happened to be
at the forefront of the vile and violent assaults at Abu Ghraib.
It was a whitewash
here; why not one there? The brass, the White House, and the Senate
wanted a whitewash. They got it.
Why ask why?
which demanded and created the mess in Iraq, now commands a clean
We've all heard
it all throughout our lives.
'A few bad apples..'
'Just poor training...' 'It's not a systemic problem ...'
The same lines. The same lies. The same soap used to cover up the
stench of racist, brutal, vile, depraved treatment of people who
are not white enough to matter.
To be sure, for millions, perhaps billions of people in Arab and
Muslim lands overseas, it matters little what Army officers or 'investigators'
say. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
of naked, cowering men, some menaced by dogs (in some Muslim cultures,
dogs are seen as unclean creatures), men smeared with human feces
(oh excuse me, according to the polite, civilized American
media, 'a brown substance'), will not be washed away. It doesn't
matter if Americans use Tide(c), or the *New York Times*. Those
images of humiliation are burned into the retinas of billions.
What is even
more shocking is what has been hidden from the tender visions of
Americans, the images of rape, of sexual domination, and perversity
by American occupiers upon a defenseless people, upon women and
children, but has reached the realm of cyberspace, and again, burned
into the soul.
For the many
people overseas, the whitewash of American officials is like the
smearing of mud (or, 'a brown substance') that further discredits
the world's 'bringer of democracy.'
fattens the swarm of jihadis everywhere, who see that American democracy
is a sham.
2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.