Noam Chomsky reads "Of Idiots and Sages" by Mumia Abu-Jamal

1/26/12

Prison Radio announces that it will continue to record and distribute Mumia Abu-Jamal's radio essays in the face of State censorship and State sponsored torture. Mumia is being kept in solitary in SCI Mahanoy's dungeon. Its restrictions and conditions belie its modern construction. The defeat for the State, having to openly declare that Mumia will live, and the fact that they can no longer legally execute Mumia, has meant a severe backlash. After his transfer off of death row, Mumia was thrown in the hole at SCI Mahanoy.

The prison administration excuse that "paperwork" is holding up his transfer to general population in this medium security prison is transparent. The disinformation is part of the strategy to create confusion and disorient. Make no mistake. These conditions are clearly designed torture. They are being enacted to elicit Mumia and our silence.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is being held in extremely repressive conditions. And like thousands of prisoners, residents of solitary confinement and isolation units in every hole in every prison across the country, Mumia is being subject to draconian, dehumanizing and brutal conditions. He is chained in leg, waist and wrist irons, behind Plexiglas during visits. Subject to strip searches before and after visits. Unable to walk freely. Having bits of paper to write notes on, with a rubber flex pen. No shelves, no books. Limited access to new reports, letters delayed. Resitricted visiting. Lights on 24hrs a day. Only one brief phone call to his wife. No access to adequate food or commissary.

"Solitary Confinement is simply torture.  It has been well known for a long time.  It is savagery Mass incaceration is an incredible crime.  All of these things are a true international scandal.   He is a striking case, but it is far more general.  Maximum security prisons in the United States are horrendous. They make Guantanamo look like a vacation resort. Same with Death Row.  Executions in the United States are far beyond the norm. There are very few countries except ones that we would prefer not to mention that use the death penalty either at all or anything like the U.S. does. Noam Chomsky, Professor MIT, Cambridge Mass.


 


 


Of Idiots ~ and Sages


[col. Writ 1/11/12] © ’12 m.a.jamal


 


Noam Chomsky, for Mumia Abu-Jamal.


Prison and government officials are trying to censor and silence Mumia Abu-Jamal.  I stand as one of many Americans who believe that there is tremendous value in his voice being heard.  I and others will fight to make sure that both his voice and his body are free.


Of Idiots and Sages


How much is your child worth?


How much is your grandchild worth?


These are not trick questions.  They arise from the news that North Carolina


Recently announced cash compensation to thousands of survivors of their State sterilization program that ran from 1929 to 1974 ~ and astonishing 45 years!


          North Carolina was but one of many mostly Southern states that sterilized people whom it considered as ‘defective’.  In this, they were supported by authorities as august as the U.S. Supreme Court, which, in its now-infamous Buck vs. Bell (1927) decision, found that a state could properly sterilize its citizens, and citizens had no constitutional right to oppose it, for, in the words of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Three generations of imbeciles are enough!”


A North Carolina task force recommended payment of $50,000 for each survivor.


North Carolina shouldn’t be the whipping boy here, for such practices took place nationally with Federal government support.  Historians and scholars  Mary Frances Berry and John Blassingame, in their 1982 work,  ‘Long Memory’”  The Black Experience in America” (NY Oxford University Press) tell us that as late as the 1970’s, the U.S. Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare were “forcing 100,000to 150,000 people to be sterilized annually”! {p.353} Over 90% of these people were Black.


This horrific state practice and the U.S. Supreme Court’s chilling reasoning in support thereof, gives us some insight into how social prejudices and attitudes percolate into all sections of society – and despite their self-evident madness are seen by seemingly enlightened sectors as perfectly reasonable –only to be later tarnished as repellent with the passage of time.


If a state, or nation, could sterilize its own so called ‘citizens’, deny people the right and ability to have children, what is such a state (or nation) but a dictatorship of arrogance and power?


One day, perhaps sooner than we suppose, we shall look back at the phenomenon of mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex as proof of a mad society.


Perhaps such a future state will pay reparations ---(oops) …er, I mean compensation to their survivors in 75 or 80 years.


If any survive.


--© 12 maj (Mumia Abu-Jamal


Noam Chomsky for Mumia Abu-Jamal.