Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
We Seen This Before?
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have never met anyone who wasn't against war. Even Hitler and
Mussolini were, according to themselves."
Sir David Low (1891-1963)
are so in the thick of something, that we cannot see what we are
really into. That is especially so in times of war, or other national,
or communal, emergencies.
We, in times
of fear or crisis, often react, rather than act with wisdom and
If we look at how Americans acted after Pearl Harbor, against their
fellow Americans who happened to have Japanese ancestry, by isolating
them into cruel concentration camps, we get some idea of how fear
contracts the mind.
after 9-11; the hundreds of people in concentration camps, who are
incommunicado from lawyers, families, anybody; the several dozen
who have attempted suicide; hundreds of others, citizens and non-citizens
alike, who are held in prisons around the country, for months
on immigration charges! while judges sigh softly that there
is little they can do, and while the Chief Justice quotes nostrums
like 'in times of war, the law is silent'; while the constitution
is shredded before our eyes; the Fourth Amendment a distant memory;
with cops and their cohorts bugging phones, ripping into mails,
snooping into computers, and setting up snitch networks, all in
the name of 'Patriot Acts!' Americans are still gripped by fear,
and the government is squeezing.
writer read an article, which detailed similar historical occurrences,
so similar, in fact, that it was breathtaking.
author cites the case of a leader (unelected!) who stood before
the ruins of a destroyed building, who called it "a sign from
God" and a marker of "a great epoch in history."
The building's destruction was blamed on "radicals" and
"terrorists" who had roots in the Middle East, who could
only be stopped by "all-out war." Within weeks of the
attack, detention centers sprang up to hold suspected allies of
the terrorists. Shortly thereafter, a new law was passed called
the "Decree on the Protection of People and the State,"
which, although opposed by civil libertarians and some concerned
legislators, was seen as a very patriotic bill by the majority of
the people. To please the civil libertarians, it had a 4-year sunset
provision in it, in case the "national emergency" was
over by then, and then the suspended rights of the people would
be returned, and the nation's cops would be re-restrained. It was
such an emergency, in fact, that legislators would later say they
hadn't had time to actually read the anti-terrorism bill before
they signed it into law.
As for the press,
it was very patriotic. When the government began arresting its undesirables,
and its critics, they either ignored it, or reported that these
people were supporters of terrorism, or unpatriotic. Hundreds of
people began to be arrested; and then thousands; and then tens of
In his public
addresses, the great, popular leader spoke of "the Homeland,"
and his deep religious faith. His soldiers, who came from the poor
and working classes, shared his beliefs, and they wore their faith
on their new, crisp uniforms, with belt buckles that read, 'God
Is With Us.' The leader urged his unified people to invade other
countries, and installed new leaders that were friendly. "Time"
magazine hailed this popular new leader as "Man of The Year."
As some of you
have guessed, this is an account of the rise of German Chancellor,
Adolph Hitler, whose career rose after the firebombing of the Reichstag
(or the German Parliament building), on February 27, 1933. This,
and the crony capitalism that marked the period, or the backing
of big business, ushered in the era of fascism that drenched the
earth in blood.
Think of the
U.S. after 9-11, and the similarities, the historical correspondences,
must give you pause.
This is a lesson
Will we learn
from it, or repeat it?
2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
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Reprinted by permission of the author.