A Tale of Three Cities
A messgae from Google Group Via-Resistancia arrived last night:
The city of Philadelphia has filed a complaint charging the cities of Paris and Seine-Saint-Denis with "justifying a crime" (apologie de crime), as a result of the honors they have bestowed on Mumia Abu-Jamal, an African-American condemned to death in July 1982, for the December 1981 murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner.
Gilbert Collard an attorney from Marseilles, along with Martin Bozmarov of the New York Bar, are representing the interests of the city of Philadelphia, and have sent the official complaints to the courts of both Paris and Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis).
Mr. Collard stressed that this has nothing to do with fighting those opposed to the death penalty. Rather, he explained, Philadelphia deems it abnormal to accord honorary citizenship, or the name of a street, to a convicted criminal.
Mumia Abu-Jamal, born Wesley Cook on April 24, 1954, was made an honorary citizen of Paris in October 2003 in the presence of Angela Davis. Bertrand Delanoë, socialist mayor of Paris, praised the occasion as the first of its kind since 1971 when Pablo Picasso received the honor, and added his denunciation of "this barbarity called the death penalty." A street in Seine-Saint-Denis was also named after a man some consider to be a "political prisoner".
Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther, whose execution has been twice delayed, in 1995 and 1999, by the efforts of groups who rallied in support of him, has been on death row for 24 years.
In her speech at the ceremony bestowing Parisian citizenship on Mumia, Angela Davis made the following remarks:
The movement for the liberation of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been on death row for more than 20 years, has taken on new meaning in light of American unilateralism, the aggression against the Iraqi people, and the racist attacks against immigrants, all of which merely erode even further the vestiges of democracy in America.
Mumia was our guide and showed us the best possible way to mourn the victims of September 11: a mourning not stamped with nationalism, xenophobia and violence, but rather with a spirit of peace and world-wide solidarity. Mumia showed us how to denounce the war and the state-supported violence which is the complement to the epidemic of violence done to the bodies of women...
In my opinion, what has touched us the most in Mumia Abu-Jamal is his profound sense of humanity, the fact that he is conscious that his own destiny is tied to that of thousands of men and women who are in death row in the United States and around the world...
Regarding the death penalty, and assuming one is for it, is it right to execute him now that a quarter of a century has elapsed? I struggle with this, because I can see both sides, but tend to lean in favor of execution.
Photo of Mumia's citizenship and text of Angela Davis' speech from Mumianow.
Labels: Bertrand Delanoë