[Ppnews] Concert calls for the release of the jailed Native American activist
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Dec 15 16:13:30 EST 2012
*Jackson Browne and Common Unite to Bring Leonard Peltier Home*
*Concert calls for the release of the jailed Native American activist
By Patrick Flanary <http://www.rollingstone.com/contributor/patrick-flanary>
December 15, 2012 11:35 AM ET
During a phone call from a Florida prison minutes before Friday's
concert for Leonard Peltier, the activist jailed for the last 37 years
pushed organizers at New York's Beacon Theatre to refuse money pledged
in his honor.
"I hope this evening is not about raising funds, but raising
consciousness," Peltier told event co-host Harry Belafonte, who with
actor Peter Coyote introduced a lineup of Oglala Sioux Nation tribal
leaders, human rights activists and musicians calling on President Obama
to free the ailing American Indian prisoner before Christmas.
Throughout the event, titled Bring Leonard Peltier Home in 2012, grainy
clips of news footage showcased the sprawling years of Peltier's trial,
conviction and doomed appeal. Jailed since 1976 on a conviction of
murdering two FBI officers during an Indian Reservation shootout,
Peltier, who is nearing 70, will serve time through 2040 unless the
president commutes his sentence.
Robbie Robertson Helps Jailed Friend Peltier With Music
Folk tunes and Native American spirituals stretched over four hours,
beginning with several never-performed verses of "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
that 93-year-old Pete Seeger said he recently found in a batch of lyrics
he'd written 60 years ago: "A time for dirt, a time for soap/A time for
hurt, a time for hope," he gently wavered while strumming his acoustic.
Fresh off a flight, Mohican guitarist Bill Miller tuned his guitar
onstage before attacking it with lightning-fast picking through Bob
Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower." Fellow First Nations musicians,
including Jennifer Kreisberg and Geronimo and Buddy Powless, stripped
things down and used only their voices to fill the venue with
traditional and contemporary songs.
Bruce Cockburn and Jackson Browne later shared the stage for "Indian
Wars," a song they recorded together in 1991. Browne followed with a
tribute to his Native American friend, the late Floyd Westerman, with
covers of "Boarding School Blues" and "Custer Died For Your Sins," and
ended with Steven Van Zandt's singalong, "I Am A Patriot."
Halfway through the evening, Common, the only performer backed by a band
and DJ, injected 20 minutes of throbbing hip-hop into the event's mostly
acoustic setlist. Racing across the stage with his hand raised, he
thundered through hits including "The People" and "The Light," and
stunned the audience with an unannounced appearance from Yasiin Bey,
formerly Mos Def, who emerged from the dark for "Umi Says." "If you want
peace, work for justice," he said before departing as suddenly as he had
One man who dedicated his life to such justice was Rubin Carter, the
former boxer whose story Bob Dylan memorialized in his song "The
Hurricane." After serving almost 20 years in prison, Carter was
eventually released after it was determined he had not committed murders
at a New Jersey bar in 1966. "Our freedom account is being looted," he
said during the event, holding a worn piece of paper -- a writ of habeas
corpus --in his right hand. "I consider it to be absolutely sacred, and
I never leave home without it."
Global figures like Nelson Mandela and the late Mother Teresa have long
lauded Peltier as a humanitarian and called for his release, based on
judicial misconduct and lack of evidence proving that he killed the
federal agents. From his prison cell during the 2004 presidential
election, Peltier ran as the Peace and Freedom candidate in states that
allowed the party on the ballot. In California, more than 27,000 voters
favored him over George W. Bush and John Kerry.
Six presidents have held office since Peltier's conviction.
"If not you, President Obama, who?" activist filmmaker Michael Moore
asked as he addressed the crowd. "All the wrong people are in prison in
this country. As an American, this is not how I want to be remembered.
And so I think that we have a much larger job: We have to get Leonard
out of prison immediately."
Seeger returned to the stage and was joined by the night's performers
for the show closer, "Bring Him Home," which Seeger adapted from his
Vietnam War protest song, "Bring 'Em Home."
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the PPnews