Saturday, November 03, 2007

The British Love Affair With Mumia

First the French. Now the British.

With the recent publicity surrounding the new "documentary" about Mumia in Europe, it is not a surprise to see that the subject of the film is again back in the spotlight where he so loves to be.

Over a week ago, a very slanted, one-sided, veritable love letter to Mumia was published in the British newspaper, The Guardian. It is a paper that has always catered to the left, but this article about Mumia abandons even the pretense of objectivity.

And while I don’t pretend to know the motivations of the reporter or the Guardian with regards to Mumia, I do know the reportage was awful and at the very least deserved a response.

I also know that if Europeans are receiving their information about Jamal’s case from media outlets as biased as the Guardian, than I find it no surprise at all that many Europeans are convinced that Mumia was a victim of American racism and injustice.

For what it is worth, and apparently to the Guardian, it is not worth much, I sent a letter to the editor regarding the pro-Mumia article. Being that several days have gone by without a response I think it safe to say that they will not be running my letter and so therefore I will publish it here.

Dear Guardian Editor,

As a someone who spent nearly a decade in the "movement" to "Free Mumia", I was thoroughly disappointed by the hagiography presented in the place of honest and intellectually curious reportage.

Although I can understand being enamored by the Jamal mystique and the desire of those with a nascent, anti-American agenda, to place the murderer upon a pedestal, the disingenuous presentation of the "facts" of the case is in-excusable.

Having taken the time to undertake an investigation of the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal that began with the premise of his innocence, but concluded in the awful realization that he is without a doubt guilty, I would be remiss not to point out the clear mistakes in your article.

It is disingenuous to claim that the scene of the crime was "unsecured". This is an idea conjured up by pro-Jamal fanatics scrounging for another conspiracy theory to hang their hat upon. This, because their quarter century quest to free their hero has met with failure after failure, mitigated only be the removal of the death sentence in 2001, due to faulty instructions to the jury by the original trial judge.

It is clear today as it was to Jamal's jurors in 1982 that his weapon had been fired. Your article failed to mention that the weapon found next to him, a weapon he owned, and was wearing a shoulder holster for, had all of it's rounds fired.

Theoretically, millions of weapons of that variety could have fired that particular bullet, but as the jurors and subsequent judges who have reviewed the case have clearly noted, only one such weapon was at the scene of the crime.

Furthermore, it would have made no sense to "test" Jamal's hand to ascertain whether or not he had recently fired a weapon. This, because Jamal was discovered at the scene next to the weapon and was himself wounded from a gunshot that could have ended his life. One could hear the outrage now if instead of bringing Jamal to the hospital for treatment, police waited for crime scene investigators to get to the scene as he lay bleeding on the ground. It is an absurd argument made for the benefit of those not fully familiar with the case or police investigations.

The comments pertaining to "the witnesses in Jamal's case may as well be cut and pasted from the worst of the pro-Jamal propaganda sources as they are not reflective of the trial transcripts available at, nor are they backed up by anything more than speculation and heresy.

As for the "confession", numerous people claimed to have heard it. Police Officers as well as civilians and a reporter heard Jamal's horrid confession. The idea that he could not have "shouted" the purported confession is again something that is incorrect given the fact that Jamal reportedly confessed on more than one occasion and even prior to his arrival at the hospital. He spoke to the attending physician as well as to family members at the time of their arrival. Are we to believe that all of these people, police officers and non-police officers alike, would all conspire to concoct a confession, and to what end?

These are just some of the many errors, whether purposeful or accidental, in your article about Jamal.

And while I am myself critical of the American system of justice and the death penalty, the facts are that Jamal is not, or rather should not, be the poster boy for it's reform. If anything, by placing a clearly guilty man upon this ideological pedestal, there is much more to be lost if the goal is progress, than to be gained.

-Tony Allen
United States


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