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PO Box 411074
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Dear Radio Programmers,
If you are interested in airing "Dispatches From Death Row" new recordings by Mumia Abu-Jamal, please contact prison radio. If you air his radio essays on a regular basis we will send you compact discs of his essays as he records them, you can also download mp3's of his radio commentaries from
In order to promote the times and dates that they are airing on the prison radio website, please provide me the following information:
Title of show:_____________
Date of Week aired and times:________________
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Do you want Mumia to do an ID for your radio station or your show?
If Yes, please send me some
Also do you know of other radio programers who would make a commitment to
air Mumia's radio broadcasts on a regular basis? __________________
If yes, please have them contact me.
[email protected]. Noelle Hanrahan
Here are some more Mumia commentaries recorded 1/11/03.
1) :47 Interview w/ Mumia re Gov. Ryan's Commutations rec. 1/11/03
2) 2:40 short "Gov. Ryan's Psalm" [recorded 1/11/03}
3) 6:18 long "Gov. Ryan's Psalm [recorded 1/11/03]
4) 3:16 short "Whose Wilding Who" [recorded 1/11/03]
6:42 long "Whose Wilding Who" [recorded 1/11/03]
Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award-winning journalist who chronicles the human condition. He has been a resident of Pennsylvania's death row for twenty-two years. Writing from his solitary confinement cell his essays have reached a worldwide audience.
His books "Live From Death Row", "Death Blossoms" and "All Things Censored" have sold over 150,000 copies and been translated into seven languages. His 1982-murder trial and subsequent conviction have been the subject of great debate.
This essay "_______________" was recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.
OUTRO: Mumia Abu-Jamal, is a frequent contributor to _______.
This essay titled
Democracy Now intro:
Abu Jamal has been on death row for 22 years after being convicted in 1982 of killing Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. A journalist, former Black Panther,and outspoken critic of police brutality, racism and the death penalty, Mumia Abu Jamal hasrepeatedly proclaimed his innocence.
Over the last two decades, Abu Jamal has written regular commentaries on local, national and world affairs. This commentary was recorded on Sunday by Noelle Hanrahan of the Prison Radio Project.
Interview 1/11/03 w/ Mumia Abu-Jamal by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.
MAJ: Hell of a move. I mean you know it ain't perfect, but it is close.
NMH: What does it mean for the death penalty?
MAJ: I think it is too early to really say, really. I think it is a historic move, an unprecedented move. And it is so kind of beyond the pale of what has gone before that it can have unforeseen effects, both negatively and positively, so we shall see. We don't know how it will change. You know there might be blowback, there might emulation. You know. Politicians are funny people and one thing that this rather obscure governor of Illinois has done is he has made himself an historical figure in a that few American governors have in the past. And made a hell of a move.
Governor Ryan's Psalm
Mumia Abu-Jamal recorded 1/11/03
Governor George Ryan in the last passing days of his first and only term saved the best for last.
He sent shock waves across the nation when he issued four pardons to men sitting on the condemned units of the state's prison system, opening the doors of the dungeon for four men. One who sat in the shadow of the gallows for nearly two decades. Speaking in a soft midwestern accent his words were as damning as the death sentences that his orders negated. "The system is broken," he said. With these words he ushered four men, Stanley Howard, Madison Hogley, Aaron Patterson and Leroy Orange from the darkest corners of the land into the light.
Quoting a tale of that famed Illoinian Lincoln he recalled the job of the nation's chief executive, who reviewing execution orders for those who were convicted of violating the military code during the Civil War, asked one of his generals why one young man had no letters in his file from any who wished his life spared. The general shrugging his shoulders matter of factly said, "he has got no friends." Lincoln lifting his pen remarked, "he has got one friend". And pardoned the man from the clutches of the hangman.
Ryan said those four denizens of death row each having been subjected to police torture, falsified confessions, prosecutorial misconduct and judicial blindness to these vile transgressions had one friend and decided to cut the Gordian knot by issuing full pardons to the four. And proving a friend to men who had few real friends in the dark deserted abodes of death. Before days end, three of the four walked away from the closed cell of state repression into the fresh air of a windy Chicago and freedom.
By so doing Ryan has dealt a serious crippling blow to the state system of death and the inability of the dignitaries and officials of the system to cure the serious problems of the death penalty were shown in sharp and stark relief. It is fitting that Ryan, a one term embattled politico and a non-lawyer "I am a pharmacist" he repeatedly insisted, would be the one to solve these deep and troubling problems.
It is equally fitting that the problems of the Illinois death system, came to light not through the members of the Bar but through the meanderings of students of journalism, whose investigations led to the ultimate conclusion voiced by Ryan some years later. " The system is broken".[end of short version]
From Death Row this is Mumia Abu-Jamal. T
hese commentaries are produced by Noelle Hanrahan for Prison Radio.
Hours after his unprecedented announcement of the pardon package Ryan's office would announce another earth shattering event, the full commutation of every man on death row in the prairie state. By the end of the week one hundred and sixty seven people would no longer be on death row.
Elected as a conservative Republican who never gave a moment's thought to the rightness or morality of the death penalty, Ryan would be the last politician one would expect would strike down the nation's seventh largest death row with a harsh voice, his nervousness evident by his fidgety presentation the one term governor struck a mighty blow against the death system in America.
Exercising a breadth of vision that is truly remarkable in an American sitting albeit departing politician Ryan spoke of the problems facing not just those condemned to death but in the processes, prosecutions, and judgements effecting those condemned to life. His words were a rare Govenitorial recognition of the deficits in the system entire. He said 'the system has proven itself to be wildly inaccurate, unjust, unable to separate the innocent from the guilty, and racist." His commutations of over one hundred and sixty death sentences unquestionably stays the cold hand of death. But it does not address the injustices that led many too death row, nor keeps them confined life row.
For those problems those deep cracks in the system remain. It is tragically true that as Ryan charges "the system is broken" the bitter truth is his efforts while undeniably noble and unquestionable historic does not fix the mess. To his credit Ryan assembled a blue ribbon panel to examine the states death system and the commission after three years came to a political yet systematic conclusion: the system is broken.
The commission composed prosecutors, judges, defense lawyers, and scholars joined in the report and issued some 85 recommendations to fix the system, including the recording of confessions from beginning to end, the end of jailhouse snitching confessions which are notorious unreliable yet influential to unknowing jurors and a host of other recommendations. The legislature opted to ignore those recommendations just as the states highest judiciary chose to ignore many of the most blatant injustices.
And Ryan the non-lawyer felt compelled to act. If the system is broken, how can the system fix the system? Ryan's very extraordinary acts seems to suggest that it can not. For while those four men are free of unjust convictions, are they the only four innocents on the state's large death row, or larger life row? That seems unlikely. In another sense as the underlying system remains tightly imbedded in place, what of those to come?
How many years will other innocents suffer in the suffocating holds of
steel and brick slave ships- prisons? Before another scandal threatens the stability of the system. Like the notorious cycle of police corruption cases that plagues US cities like New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and yes Chicago, the problem isn't fixed but passed on to later administrations. It seems an abolitionist movement must take this, not as a final victory, but as a first step of a systematic battle for real change. We may all agree that the system is broken, but that mere agreement does not insure that that which is broken will indeed be fixed.
From Death Row this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
These commentaries are produced by Noelle Hanrahan for Prison Radio.
Whose Wilding Who
For over a decade, five black and brown boys caught in the cross hairs of the cops and the press suffered in virtual silence in the prisons and hellholes of New York. Although they have recently been exonerated it is useful to review what happened to them, and by so doing to learn how it
happened, if we are to learn if it may have happened to others and maybe happening today still. Integral to this process is the role of the press, a role that is often underestimated or at least understated in any real recounting of the now infamous Central Park joggers case in midtown New York.
How did the local media fuel the furor that captured the dark imaginations of the city in the spring of 1989? When one recalls the covers of the New York Dailies, and recaptures the visceral spirit of the times, the official media sanctioned rage and hatred directed at the five and by extension their families and their communities is palpable. Quote Central Park jogger Wolf packs prey" unquote blared from the cover of the New York Daily News. In a subtitle "female jogger near death after savage attack by roving gang". Quote "a savage disease called New York" unquote, was the message streaming across the wide expanse of two pages of the New Post.
There two of their prominent columnist wrote separate pieces under the same thicken banner headline. The Post's celebrated Pete Hamil would pen a piece of opinion that seemed to be a declaration of war against the poor of the city, and served to reduce the five boys from youngsters theoretically armed with the heralded presumption of innocence, to the dark mob who were living exemplars of pathology.
He wrote "they were coming down town from a world of crack, welfare, guns, knives, indifference, and ignorance. They were coming from a land of no fathers. They were coming from the anarchic province of the poor. And driven by a collective fury, brimming with the rippling energies of youth, their minds teaming with the violent images of the streets and the movies. They had only one goal, to smash, hurt, rob, stomp, rape. The enemies were rich, the enemies were white" he wrote. Almost everything he wrote was untrue. They were presumed to be guilty and it is interesting that all of the problems with the so-called confessions that have emerged were present before they were formally indicted 13 years ago.
And no Supreme Court or trial court in New York, no appellate court, no justice of the court of Appeals, found any of it problematic. These were not citizens or even juveniles, they were monsters and the law is no protector of monsters. They had every institution of white corporate power arrayed against them, a savage venial press, the cynical police, and a complacent judiciary, who were to quote Hamill "driven by a collective fury". These boys and too many boys like them never had, nor have a chance. [end short piece]
From death row this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
These commentaries are produced by Noelle Hanrahan for Prison Radio.
The incendiary Post would give its readers a lesson in interpreting this new urban underground, by tossing the word wilding into the lexicon, meaning and they write "packs of blood thirsty teens from the tenements, bursting with boredom and rage, who roam the streets getting kicks from an evening of ultra violence.
Gotham's mayor Edward I Koch would pronounce the young suspects "Monsters". In this maddening maelstrom of rank fear, printed verbal via radio and TV violence the youths were blown into dark threatening icons of perpetual menace and removed from the realm of boys.
They were animalized, monsterized, demonized into non-humans, and as such every official, semi official and worthy hand of influence was turned against them. They were in the deadening universe of legalism in the province of the law utterly, terrifyingly alone. Indeed those who one would think, would be the most responsive to their humanity, and most resistant to the swelling chorus of chaos, coming from the media Black journalists for career reasons or for fear of alienation from the herd, offered little different from the majority narrative.
One journalist for the now defunct Newsday Cheryl MaCarthy recently recounted her surprise at a salient fact that she did not notice when covering the case quote " I was really surprised in reading recent accounts to learn that the defendants were only 14, 15, and 16 at the time." An African-American journalist who covered the story for her paper never really noticed the actual ages of the accused. She never noticed, and neither did anyone else.
Hamill's phobic rant on the poor of the city did not reflect the backgrounds of the boys or their families. Most had hard working mothers and fathers and when to good or decent city schools. Yusef Salam went to Catholic School and was well regarded by his classmates who called him very easy going. But stereotypes made them vulnerable. More alien and more distant than the writers who were crafting their treks to the gulags.
They were presumed to be guilty and it is interesting that all of the problems with the so-called confessions that have emerged were present before they were formally indicted 13 years ago. And no Supreme Court or trial court in New York, no appellate court, no justice of the court of
Appeals, found any of it problematic. These were not citizens or even juveniles, they were monsters and the law is no protector of monsters. They had every institution of white corporate power arrayed against them, a savage venial press, the cynical police, and a complacent judiciary, who were to quote Hamill "driven by a collective fury". These boys and too many boys like them never had, nor have a chance. They were but the forerunners of a war against the poor, and the young that have come to typify the American prison industrial complex.
Over forty years before their legal lynching in New York Supreme Court, the US supreme Court wrote quote "a fifteen year old lad" questioned through the dead of night, by relays of police, is a ready victim of the inquisition. We can not believe that a lad of tender years is a match for the police in such a contest. He needs counsel and support if he is not to become the victim first of fear, then of panic. He needs someone on whom to lean lest the overpowering presence of the law as he knows it, crushes him."
That is from the case Haley vs. Ohio 1948. Amazingly that case dealt with a 15year old black boy who falsely confessed to murder. We now know the power of the press, the fury unleashed on those dark boys was occasioned by the toxin of race, the race accused, the race of the victim, and the bone knowledge what a barrier had been breached. They were wilding in the eyes of the white press, not because they were allegedly rapists, but because they were black and brown rapists of a white woman. Who was wilding who
From Death Row this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
These commentaries are produced by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.
You can write to Mumia directly at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal AM 8335
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370
Mumia Abu-Jamal is the author of three books:
'Live from Death Row',
'Death Blossoms', and
'All Things Censored'.