Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Mumia Abu-Jamal

mumiaabujamal.pngMumia Abu-Jamal is a political activist and journalist from Philadelphia who is on death row in Pennsylvania.

He is in prison for the alleged shooting of a police officer in 1981. Mumia has attracted much international support, both from those convinced of his innocence and those opposed to the death penalty generally.

Whatever his guilt or innocence, my focus here is not on this crime and whether or not his conviction was warranted, but on Mumia’s remarkable continued political work.

Since his imprisonment, Abu-Jamal has published Live from Death Row, a book on life inside prisons. He has also completed a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts by distance education. From his cell he has made commencement speeches via tape to graduating classes at UC Santa Cruz, Evergreen State College, Antioch College, and Occidental College. He has his own radio program that airs regularly and can be heard online at Prison Radio. Mumia has been a guest speaker on Immortal Technique‘s musical albums.

His mellifluous voice has been set to many video clips; two are featured below:

Fear immobilizes; that is its intent.

But hope opens up, as spring opens up the earth.

Don’t recreate the ’60s. Make this moment, this day, this era, one of speaking out against the Empire. Make it a time for joining together with others who share your fears, and your hopes.

Make it an age of marching against the madness that assaults our senses.

Make it a chance for change, or it will be with us, forever.

*** UPDATE on his trial (3 April).

See also (Philadelphia), (New York City), (San Francisco), or (Educators for Mumia).

Empire of Fear 4:17

War for the Eternal Empire 3:57

2 comments on “Mumia Abu-Jamal

  1. Jack
    4 April, 2007

    Hi Ann!

    I guess I have another viewpoint on this. It is a shame that our prisons are little more than day camps for our criminals. Did you realize that each prisoner costs in excess of $25,000 a year? That is more than many families who have children to feed make. I think anyone convicted of murder should be serving hard time in payment for their crime. But in today’s politically correct society, what wonderful opportunities and choices we provide those who have denied others the same. If it were up to me, Abu-Jamal, would be assembling happy meal toys as reparation for the horrendous loss he created by his heinous crime.

    -Old Fashioned Jack

  2. peoplesgeography
    4 April, 2007

    Hi Old fashioned Jack :)

    Thanks for proffering your POV. I agree that proven criminals should be serving time and labour (for the public good ideally, not for corporate profit). Admittedly I am not 100% familiar with the ins and outs of this criminal investigation and appeal. But reputable human rights organizations and credible evidence suggests there may be grounds for Abu-Jamal not having received a fair trial. Shooting anyone is indeed a heinous crime. I don’t know whether Abu-Jamal is in fact a political prisoner or whether he has been a model prisoner, I guess I was highlighting his political work. I’d heard of his name several times previously and this was an opportunity to learn more. Thanks for coming by!

    – Ann

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Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"