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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/21/11

Philadelphia is Franz Fanon's "Black Skin, White Masks" in Real Time

By Sundiata Sadiq, NY Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition  Posted by Hans Bennett (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   No comments
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(PHOTO: This mid 1990s photo by Prison Radio is one of the last ever taken before it became illegal to take a camera while visiting.)

The white ruling class strategy since the end of the ruthless reign of Frank Rizzo, as former chief of police and then mayor of Philadelphia, is to replace white faces with black faces and to support and prop up such black faces to carry out the bidding of that power elite without regard to the continued oppression of the black working class of the city of Philadelphia. This phenomenon in Africa politics is called 'Neo- Colonialism,' that is replacing white faces with black faces to keep the masses of blacks in their place and to maximize profits for the multi national business community.

In Philadelphia, enter its first black Mayor, first black Police Chief and now the first black District Attorney.

Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell describes District Attorney Seth Williams, as lawyer of courage, intelligence and likeability. In other words, Governor Rendell sees DA Seth Williams as a 'good boy.'

As a backdrop, we must remember the 26th anniversary of tragic events in the City of Brotherly Love. At that time, the power elite attempted to destroy the MOVE organization with Wilson Goode, Philadelphia's first black mayor in office. In similar terms to Rendell's description of Seth Williams, Goode was described as a likeable, intelligent black man. Nevertheless, Goode did the unthinkable for his "masters". On May 13, 1985, he gave the order to the police to drop a bomb on the MOVE house on Osage Avenue that killed eleven people: men women and children and destroyed an entire Black neighborhood...

In an article in New York Times Magazine, Lynne Abraham, Williams's predecessor was called "tough on crime" and "America's deadliest DA" for her pursuit of the death penalty in capital cases. That article never mentioned the innocent people who were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death during her tenure, who later had their convictions overturned after spending years on death row. One example is Harold Wilson, a black man convicted of a triple homicide. Harold Wilson spent 16 years on death row, until he was exonerated.

Even under the police state conditions imposed by Frank Rizzo, DA Abraham was unable to affect the legal lynching of Mumia Abu-Jamal, prize winning journalist, called the "Voice of the Voiceless". During the reign of terror in Philadelphia under Frank Rizzo, Mumia was framed for killing police officer Daniel Faulkner on a Philadelphia street in December 1981. Mumia was ultimately convicted and sentenced to die in 1995. Since 1982 Mumia has languished in a cell on death row and fortunately, as a result of a series of appeals, Lynn Abraham was unable to see the legal lynching carried out.

The credit for preventing this miscarriage of justice goes to the people of Philadelphia, other cities, towns, villages and folk in the United States and around the world who rose up in protest.

Enter stage right: Seth Williams who runs for DA of Philadelphia on a platform where he promised to seek the death penalty for Mumia Abu-Jamal and prosecute his execution. Of course, that stand gained Williams the immediate support of the Fraternal Order of Police and big business. Stunningly, civil rights organizations, such as Philadelphia chapter NAACP jumped aboard. Adding to the circus, Tigre Hill, a local black filmmaker, produced a documentary film entitled "Barrel of a Gun" whose ridiculous premise was that ever since he was a fifteen year old youth Mumia harbored a desire to kill a police officer.

Last month when the Third Circuit Court of Appeals rendered its decision setting aside Mumia's death sentence, District Attorney Williams stated on local television that he received a call from Maureen Faulkner, widow of slain officer Daniel Faulkner. A willing tool of Philadelphia's Fraternal Order of Police, she asked DA Williams to appeal the Third Circuit's unanimous decision to reduce Mumia's sentence to life in prison without parole stating that she can only have closure when she knows Mumia is dead.

We watched as "Uncle" Seth Williams half choked saying "I will try Ms Faulkner because most people don't know the facts like we do."

Neither Seth Williams nor Maureen Faulkner "knows" the facts of this case. Investigations show that in order to frame Mumia, who had been a thorn in their side for reporting about police corruption and their persecution of MOVE, the police began their manipulation of the evidence in order to frame Mumia as soon as they arrived on the scene. Amnesty International and other legal experts have issue reports that show that Mumia's trial was a kangaroo court.

Since Mumia's conviction and imprisonment in the death house of SCI Green for three decades up to the election of Philadelphia's first black District Attorney, we still hear the cries throughout the world the battle cry of 'Brick by brick, wall by wall, We gonna free Mumia Abu-Jamal!"

SUNDIATA SADIQ co chair of the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC) 914 672 5807 May 8, 2011
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Hans Bennett is a multi-media journalist mostly focusing on the movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners. An archive of his work is available at and he is also co-founder of "Journalists for Mumia," (more...)
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