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Dear Jamilah: An Open Letter

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Message Jamilah Hoffman

Dearest Jamilah,

I just wanted to take the time to write you on behalf of the family to tell you how much we all love you and care for you.  Times have been tough for you but you are strong and resolute and we know that you have a great head on your shoulders.  You make good decisions.  That is why we don’t understand the reason you would want to go to the Democratic National Convention and protest.

We have the opportunity to elect the first African-American or the first woman as president.  Aren’t you happy? You should be thrilled?  Representation at the highest!!!  I figured you would be working for the Obama or Clinton campaign, not telling your little cousins that if voting changed anything they’d make it illegal.  Who is this “they” anyway?

Please reconsider going to Denver to join and/or create any protests.  I know you think that your protest will “cause change” but you just might end up getting McCain elected and that would be bad. You don’t want that on your conscious, do you?  I don’t want to see you on national TV banging on a djembe drum, chanting and carrying on. And I also do not want to sit across the table from you at Thanksgiving and see a spoiler.

You are bright, beautiful and can do great things.  Protesting in Denver doesn’t need to be one of those things.

We love you. Please call more often.

Your family


Dear family,

We lived in fucked up times.  The last seven years have shown us just how far this government can go in its push for empire.  Torture, unjust wars and occupation are buzz words for some.  For me, they are a call to resistance.  I could go along with this and act like getting a good job will somehow enable me to erase the pictures in my head of dead Iraqi children.  I could act like buying a new pair of shoes will somehow make me forget what white phosphorus does to the human skin.  Maybe if I go to that much talked about concert, I can drown out the sounds a man makes when he is being water boarded.  It seems you want me to just go along. To be a good German.   I can’t do that.  And if you stop and take a minute, I know that you wouldn’t want to either.

What good is it to change the president but not the program?  The democrats have shown us that they will not stop this war.  They have been the majority party in congress for the last two years yet they continue to fund the war.  At any time a majority of the american people have been in favor of impeachment yet they have told us impeachment is off the table.  And what kind of leadership can they offer if they want to keep “all options on the table” including the use of nuclear weapons when dealing with Iran, a country that poses no immediate threat.

This is unacceptable. 


That’s why I’m going to Denver.  Not just for the snow capped mountains and mile high air though I promise to take pictures.  I’m going because Bush is still in office, the Democrats have been complicit and resistance is needed.


You need to come too!

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an internationalist who proudly waves the red flag, jamilah hoffman believes that if there are no poets, then it's not her revolution.
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