[Ppnews] Assata: Terrorist, or Survivor of Terrorism? - Mumia Abu Jamal

PPnews at freedomarchives.org PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon May 23 11:17:45 EDT 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 created equal".

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.

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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