At the Web site dedicated to the memory of Officer Daniel Faulkner, the Philadelphia policeman murdered by Mumia Abu-Jamal, you will find a variety of facts supporting the case of the prosecution, as well as a variety of facts rebutting the case of the defense.
But the most interesting guilt that is heaped upon Abu-Jamal is not the testimony of witnesses, or the debate over crime scene forensics, it is the quote he uttered from Mao Zedong: “Political power grows from the barrel of a gun.”
Apparently, the jurors in 1982 were shocked when they heard this and for some, it continues to raise an eyebrow. They shout “terrorist” and “revolutionary” at those who would agree with such a statement. However, it does not take a very bright person to realize that the only means by which control is asserted in society, be it social or political, is through violence.
Therefore, you will find no eyebrow raised from this writer, only a nod of agreement with the words of Mao. To validate such a quote, there is no need to elaborate on the Cold War, or a civil rights movement that claimed the lives of Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. To witness such a socio-political fact, we need only examine today’s newspaper and ask ourselves whether political power doesn’t grow out of the barrel of a gun:
NATO continues to bomb Serb army bases, as well as accidentally killing Serbs and ethnic Albanian refugees to bring “peace” to the Balkans;
When another crop of Iraqi babies die because of sanctions, when more pedestrians are killed by bombs;
When Amadou Diallo, an innocent man, is shot 19 times by four New York police officers. And New York Mayor Giuliani says that he hopes “the commotion will die down in a couple weeks”;
When individuals stripped of their health by cancer turn to certain drugs to relieve their symptoms and are subsequently imprisoned for marijuana possession;
Every time anti-abortion activists gun down another doctor at an abortion clinic;
Every time an illegal alien is arrested or gunned down by border patrol on the land between Mexico and the United States;
When the United States “fights for freedom” by trying to topple “corrupt” governments in Nicaragua, Panama and Cuba;
There are myths in this country of values that enable us to believe that our leaders are the apogees of moral values, myths that limit our capability for a free society by stating that we already live in one. These myths limit our progression to a land of freedom and justice that we have been promised for 223 years.
We can never stop the fight for an ideal America. We should not compare ourselves to other nations and marvel at our creations. Envision not 2.5 kids and a house in suburbia, but a land where political power cannot grow from the barrel of a gun, a land where we immerse ourselves in the concepts of freedom and justice.
Otherwise, I fear that our America will sink back into the depths from whence it came, and always be nothing more than a convincing myth.
-The writer is a freshman majoring in journalism.