[m2c] Assata: Terrorist, or Survivor of Terrorism?" Mumia Audio Transcript
sandinista at shaw.ca
Fri May 27 03:18:48 MDT 2005
Rough Transcript of Audio Recording
Submitted by Noelle Hanhrahan
Assata: Terrorist, or Survivor of Terrorism?
With the news of the posting of an additional eight hundred and fifty
thousand dollars for the return of former Black Panther and Black
Liberation Army member Assata Shakur from Cuba, the U.S. government has
taken another step in its ridiculous so-called War on Terrorism. They
did this by New Jersey officials branding Assata with the latest
libelous label “terrorist” in an attempt to justify this modern day
slave bounty. If anybody knows about terrorism it’s Americans, for this
nation was founded in terrorism. So deep is this truth that it lies in
the subconscious of almost every American and can be unleashed with
unnerving ease. Come on. Complete this phrase “The only good Indian is a
________." Whether we’re Black, white, rich, or poor that phrase echoes
in American consciousness, an inheritance from a time when those dark
thoughts were dark realities of, yes, genocide against the native
peoples that fed and healed the starving settlers from Europe who
survived the Atlantic crossings. Terrorism, white terrible violence
against red life and black life and brown life and yellow life. That is
America’s truest hidden history, hidden beneath lies about “all men are
In 1973, when Assata Shakur and Zayd Malik Shakur and Sundiata Acoli
were stopped on the New Jersey turnpike, they weren’t stopped because
the cops wanted to “render assistance”. This was a car stop for the
unwritten crime of Driving While Black, before we developed the term.
And the cops tried to kill every Black Panther in that car, for this
unwritten crime. Zayd was shot to death and Assata was shot twice. And
in an act of arrogance that only American judicial terrorists can
devise, she was charged with murdering both Zayd and the cop that tried
to kill her.
Assata went through a devil’s brew of show trials in several states,
best summed up in a book by her lawyer/aunt Evelyn Williams titled
"Inadmissible Evidence." These were trials that seemed more fitting for
Mississippi than Middlesex County, New Jersey, or Manhattan borough, New
York. But no matter where that happened, they featured all white juries,
and ambitious judges who didn’t even pretend to be fair and unbiased
arbiters. Even despite these obvious obstructions, she was occasionally
acquitted, and when she was convicted in Middlesex, it was clear this
was a verdict not of her guilt, but of her political ideas. To label
this woman a terrorist, is to bleed all meaning from the word. For,
during her life as an activist, during her wounding and her arrest, and
during her travails as an accused in courtrooms that were more lynching
posts than halls of justice, she was terrorized by a system that wanted
to punish her for daring to rebel.
It is fitting that these words are written on May 13, 2005, twenty years
to the day from the police mass murder and bombing of the MOVE home in
Philadelphia. Today, twenty years later, only one person, Ramona Africa,
ever spent a day in jail. What of those cops who shot and bombed unarmed
children? What of the politicians who unleashed these dogs of urban war?
Like Ramona, Assata was jailed for daring to survive.
Cuba’s valiant Fidel Castro responded almost immediately to announce his
refusal to recognize this modern day slave bounty. He pronounced her a
political prisoner during her time in American Gulags, perhaps
remembering that she was held in an all-male jail during her incarceration.
For centuries, nothing has so stirred up American fury like the escape
of a slave. That ain’t just distant history. For daring to slip her
bonds and escape from brutal and unjust bondage, the Empire now labels
her a terrorist. That’s because to them, nothing is more terrifying than
resistance to their imperial will.
As for terrorists, if they really wanna find some, it shouldn’t be too
hard to find them. Just check the White House.
From death row, this is Mumia Abu Jamal.
Prospero, you are the master of illusion.
Lying is your trademark.
And you have lied so much to me
(lied about the world, lied about me)
that you have ended by imposing on me
an image of myself.
underdeveloped, you brand me, inferior,
That ís the way you have forced me to see myself
I detest that image! What's more, it's a lie!
But now I know you, you old cancer,
and I know myself as well.
- Caliban, in Aime Cesaire's "The Tempest"
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