"In Prison My Whole Life", the latest in a string of pro-Mumia films is set to be screened simultaneously at The Times London Film Festival and at Rome's International Film Festival on Thursday 25 October.
After seeing the trailer for the upcoming "documentary"
that is sure to celebrate Mumia and ignore his crime, I am not surprised that the film’s star, William Francome, refused to grant me an interview, using the excuse that un-named producers would not allow him to do so.
If I was about to unleash on the world what appears to be a completely one-sided waste of celluloid, I might have reservations about answering questions from someone who actually knows something about the case.
For me, the idea of yet another pro-Jamal and therefore factually challenged film, is especially vexing.
More than any single factor, the 1996 film "A Case For Reasonable Doubt", helped to solidify my support for Mumia, as I am sure it did for many others. It is a film that is still used by Jamal devotees, for their propaganda purposes
And while now it is known that the film is essentially a work of fiction, for me, at that time, it was a very real, riveting, story of true injustice. After all, HBO would not knowingly or even accidentally mislead it’s viewers, or so I thought.
The likely difference between this new film and "A Case For Reasonable Doubt" is that the latter had a cast with credentials who were able to speak with authority on the case. That there comments were slickly taken out of context by producers of the film in order to bolster Jamal’s defense is clearly the fault of the producers of the film and HBO for not doing adequate fact-checking prior to it’s airing.
"In Prison My Whole Life", by all appearances is set to make official the latest party line of the pro-Mumia crowd. In place of reasoned arguments bolstered by trial transcripts and testimony, those who make the mistake of paying money for this film will likely be force-fed a heaping helping of "white guilt" and conspiracy theories along with their popcorn and soda.
This would explain why the characters in the film are fixtures on the far-left and could not even be confused with anyone even marginally knowledgeable about the case.
The most stunning statement so far from the film is from the godfather of the far-left himself- Noam Chomsky. The comment he makes in the film’s trailer "guilty or innocence is irrelevant", shocked me to the point that I had to watch a few more times to make sure that I got it right.
I will readily admit that I have a good quarter of a book-shelf stocked with Chomsky’s works. Many of which deal crimes against humanity on a grand scale. From Chomsky’s early books and activism dedicated to chronicling the tragedy of America’s misadventures in South East Asia to the genocide in East Timor, to Clinton’s cruise missile attack on a civilian Pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, Chomsky has made it his business to lay out in excruciating detail, just who is guilty of what, and why. That he can so crassly turn a blind eye to the reality of Mumia’s case is just more evidence that this once great, secular moralist, has lost his way.
Another clip from the trailer shows Snoop Dogg, who once proudly rapped "187 On A Mother Fucking Cop", an explicit celebration of the murder of police officers. The former gang member is no stranger to the wrong side of the law. In April he pled "no contest" to felony gun and marijuana charges. He received five years probation and must serve 800 hours of community service. And just a few days ago, the "artist" once signed to "Death Row Records"pleaded guilty on to one count of felony possession of a dangerous weapon. His attorney said the rapper received a sentence of 160 hours of community service and three years probation.
These two incidents are just the latest in a near continuous history of criminality of the former Crip, who now apparently is an expert on the Jamal case.
Another hip-hop artist who appears in the film is Mos Def. He is known for his "uplifting" and "positive" lyrics that steer clear of the violence and misogyny that are so often a part of the troubled world of hip-hop. ,
But while Mos Def is a respectable artist, his views are saturated with outdated, identity politics, and conspiracy theories that diminish his irrefutable talent.
In 2004 he recorded a song that laid the blame for 9/11 on George Bush and the policies of Ronald Reagan.
Earlier this month, Mos Def appeared on "Real Time With Bill Maher", incidentally also on HBO, and in a nearly hysterical state of derangement declared that Al-Qaeda was not responsible for 9/11 and went so far as to question the terror group’s existence. The co-star of the film "A Hitchhikers Guide To The Universe", also claimed the Moon landings were a hoax and that there were no violent teachings in the Koran. To top it all of he asserted his belief that Mumia is innocent and should be freed.
It is hard for me to believe that William Francome honestly wanted to investigate Jamal’s case. given what I have seen of his work so far. What seems more likely is that he entered this project with a conclusion and than sought to work in details that supported his beliefs. He than enlisted a group of people whose opinion on the matter reflected that of his own and that had to have known prior to enlisting them to be in the film, and on down the road of "group think" he went.
A real investigator or an honest documentation would start out and allow the facts to lead them to the truth. Both sides would be fairly portrayed. Experts and not entertainers would be invited to share their analysis and the viewers would be left to decide for themselves.
If the trailer for "In Prison My Whole Life" is an apt reflection of what the film is about than one should not have much in the way of expectations. Instead of a film that chronicles the history of this case, we are likely to instead be subjected to the partisan views of an ideologue with an agenda that he hopes will be covered up by slick production and the spectacle of celebrities gathered together for the latest example of "radical chic" gone bad.