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Mumia's Message to the French on the Occasion of His Being Awarded an Honorary Citizenship of Paris

mp3, 1.44 MBs, 1:41

[Recorded 9/27/03]

My friends, comrades, brothers and sisters. I want to take this opportunity to thank our good friends in France, to the many good people who are deeply opposed to the modern barbarity of the death penalty, and for those who have retained the taste of liberty that sparked the great French revolution over two hundred years ago.

I have been forced to think about what it means to be a citizen, even an honorary one. I have often wondered what such a thing meant for I have seen precious little of what it means in my life and in the lives of many of my contemporaries. It must mean far more than the empty right to vote.

Does it mean the so-called right to have Black jurors summarily removed from your jury?

The right to have openly racist judges appointed to decide whether you shall live or die?

The right to a trial that violates the laws of the land and indeed international law?

If that is so then I am an American citizen and it has become virtually meaningless. I
am hoping that an honorary citizenship may mean something more. What more? I don’t have the experience to know.

But I do have the knowledge to thank you and the French Republic for — since the time of Mitterand, 1981, taking the side of life. There are indeed over three thousand men, women, and juveniles, who if they could would surely thank you all for such a choice.
I am but one of them.

So I thank you all. Merci, On a Move Long Life John Africa.

Copyright 2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal

The city of Paris, France hasn't named a Citizen of Honor for the past 30 years, and the last person to be bestowed this title was Pablo Picasso. On October 4, 2003, Mumia Abu-Jamal continued this respected tradition by becoming a Citizen of Honor of Paris in a ceremony conducted by Mayor Bertrand Delanoë. On hand to receive the medal and certificate were, among others, Pam Africa, Angela Davis, Julia Wright and Mumia's chief counsel, Robert Bryan.

This video report about the event is interactive. It is composed of three short videos all linked to the main menu video. There is a video of the presentation ceremony in the City Hall of Paris. There is a video of Angela Davis speaking about the utter racism of the death penalty. There is a video of Robert Bryan, Mumia's chief counsel, talking about status of Mumia's case. You can watch any of the videos by clicking on the video thumbnail of the main menu. At the end of each video, you have the option of watching the video again, returning to the main menu, or ordering books by and about Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Best regards,

Victor Muh

Watch the video here:

You will need Quicktime 5.02 or higher to watch the video.

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"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life of African and African-American People" at

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Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa

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