Monday, June 05, 2006

Struggle Continues Over Naming Street in Saint-Denis, France After Mumia Abu Jamal

Mumia Abu Jamal
Originally uploaded by RadioActive!.
Struggle Continues Over Naming of Street in
Saint-Denis After Mumia Abu-Jamal

Friends and comrades of Mumia and the Free Mumia

This ongoing struggle with the Fraternal Order of
Police and its allies, particularly in Philadelphia
of course, has escalated considerably.

Last week Congressman Fitzpatrick and Congresswoman
Schwartz co-sponsored House Resolution 407, calling
on the US Congress to denounce the honoring of Mumia
by the city of Saint Denis in naming a street after
him. The resolution demands that Saint-Denis unname
rue Mumia Abu-Jamal and, alternatively, if it
refuses to do so that the French Government force
Saint Denis to withdraw that name. Interestingly,
and note the former Mayor of Saint-Denis' response
to this issue, the resolution also calls for
commending "all police officers in the United States
and throughout the world" (!). Surely that includes
those cops who sodomized and tortured Abner Louima,
the cops who shot 41 shots and killed Amadou
Diallou, and the cop who killed Anthony Baez because
his football hit the police car --just to mention a
few police officers who would be included in this
blanket honor.

On May 25th, while a group of us called a press
conference at the Fraternal Order of Police in
Philadelphia, the City Council of Philadelphia, in
response to City Councilman Ryan's initiative
unnanimously passed a resolution supporting
Fitzpatrick's and Schwartz's congressional
resolution. The media, other than noted,
meticulously detailed, and researching journalist
Linn Washington, studiously avoided our press
conference so as to be able to continue to present
their totally one-sided picture of "Cop killer gets
street named after him in France".

The press conference quickly turned into a confrontation
with the FOP, who came out with their "Fry Mumia" raggedy
banner (which they could not keep up despite
repreated attempts to do so!), and tried to silence
our attempt to get out information about why the
Congressional resolution was one-sided, inaccurate,
and was not in the service of truth or justice. A
video of that confrontation will be up on our
website some time next week.

Yesterday, June 1st, we were at Philadelphia's City
Hall to confront that council with the one-sided
picture they had been given, to the resolution they
had passed with no presentation of the "other side"
-- the statement by the Mayor of Saint-Denis about
why they were naming the street in honor of Mumia,
and the endless statements from around the globe
about the total lack of fairness of Mumia's, trial,
conviction, sentence, and appeals process.

212-330-8029 and leave a message stating that you
are available with your phone number, and we will
call you back within 24 hours to make travel

In this context, the response of Patrick Brauouezec
to the FOP vitriolic and fascistic campaign, aimed
at intimidating and silencing the legitimate and
just worldwide demands for a new and fair trial for
Mumia, are extremely significant. Please give his
analysis and his proposals for action your serious

Ona Move! Free Mumia and All Political Prisoners!
Long live the people's struggle for justice!

Suzanne Ross,
Co-chair, Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC)

Saint Denis June 1, 2006

Interview of Mr. Patrick Braouezec
Former Mayor of Saint Denis
President of the community of a dozen suburban
cities including Saint Denis
Elected representative to the National Assembly of

Concerning Resolution 407 introduced by persons
close to the FOP, I will make a first comment: I
condemn the murder of the police officer.

I believe that nobody can avoid condemning this act.
That is clear. Then the draft resolution reaffirms
that this act was undoubtedly committed by Mumia.

But everybody knows that one of the goals in naming
a street in Saint Denis in honour of Mumia Abu
Jamal, is to underline the fact that Mumia has
always claimed his innocence and has always called
for a fair trial and so we are speaking about two
completely different things here: condemning the
murder of a police officer is one thing, but the
absence of a fair trial as far as Mumia Abu Jamal is
concerned is an entirely different matter. Finally,
to ask the French government to impose on the city
of Saint Denis a change of decision, seems
outrageous to me.

Cities in France have the right to give names to
streets honouring the individuals of their choice.
We have experienced, in our recent history, many
un-namings linked to political change. It is true
that in choosing the name of Mumia Abu Jamal we made
a choice, a political choice, a choice aimed to show
that we stand at his side in the struggle he is
waging to obtain legal recognition of his innocence
–and we proclaim our choice for all to hear. In
the same manner, a few years ago we named a street
for Bobby Sands who had resisted the British
occupation of Ireland.

Just as we named other streets in honour of other
resisters, other individuals who fought
unconditionally against the established order, in
fact the bullying by an established order which
refuses to admit it might be wrong.

One last thing concerning the concurrent resolution:
its 3rd paragraph which commends all American police
officers and all police officers in the world. I must
tell you that whereas I am effectively ready to recognize
the role that the police can play today, in certain circumstances, I am not willing to consider all police officers of equal valour whether those officers are American or hail from other parts of this planet.

Because I know for a fact that many of them do not
act in the constitutional way we would expect of
them in all circunstances especially as far as
minorities are concerned – whether we are speaking
about the United States or a certain number of other
countries where the police abuses its power and does
not play the role we expect of them as custodians of
the equal treatment of all citizens. So let us not
put the entire police force in the same basket.

Statements such as those made in the concurrent
resolution regarding police forces as a whole
constitute a false generalization – since it holds
these police forces as immune from any suspicion
that they are capable of breaking rules or abusing

Concerning the current situation Pam Africa and the
movement are confronted with in Philadelphia, I have
two reactions. First, when one is reduced to resort
to fear, to impose the law of silence, it means that
somehow there is a degree of uneasiness, somehow
there is a lack of confidence, somehow there are
those who are afraid of the final verdict of truth.

So my first reaction is that when a group of
individuals tries to impose the law of silence in
this way, it means that the final truth is not what
we are led to think nor is it what is made to appear
as such. And my second reaction is to say that one
should definitely not allow oneself to be
intimidated because beyond the struggle Mumia is
waging to gain recognition of his innocence, he is
also waging another struggle to abolish the death
penalty and this struggle should be waged by all
democrats throughout our planet.

Also it is obvious that by exerting this type of
pressure, very strong almost physical pressure, a
certain number of police unions not to mention
rightwing or extreme rightwing unions are
intimidating all those who are waging a struggle
today against the death penalty, whether it be in
the United States or in other countries.

This struggle against the death penalty is a vital
one: in my opinion it is not permissible to play
games with the lives of people and there are too
many examples in the world, and first and foremost
in the United States, of people who were sentenced
unjustly, sometimes condemned to death or to very
heavy prison sentences whereas the proof of their
innocence is established either after their
execution or even before they die but in any case
after they have spent a great many years in prison.
So we must not allow ourselves to be intimidated by
these types of actions but rather recognize that the
show of pressure is more a form of weakness than a
demonstration of force.

As far as raising the FOP’s concurrent resolution
in the French National Assembly is concerned, I
believe that we must work on some type of
intervention at that level. I do not know at this
stage whether it can be a current events’ issue
like the ones we raise every week which take the
form of a written question to the governement. It is
necessary that we, elected representatives, initiate
action at the national level but also at other
levels – against the death penalty. I am speaking
also of those who as elected representatives,
support Mumia in his struggle, for example by
adopting him as honorary citizen or conferring other
tokens of support.

I believe that all these people should raise the
issue with the French government in a very direct
manner including a request that our government
should react explicitly even if at the end of the
road the American government does not challenge the
French government in response to the concurrent
draft resolution that some are attempting to
introduce today. But this would be an opportunity
for the French government to take a clearcut positon
concerning this affair and cut through any ambiguity
there might be.

So I am completely in favour of raising the issue in one
form or another through the voices of a certain number
of elected representatives –députés, mayors or municipal
councillors, because there is also within political
opposition cities a great deal of political mobilisation
for the defence of Mumia. I think raising the issue at
government level today would be useful.

Concerning the question of a member of the youth, as
to whether we should take orders from American
capitalism, I say no, I take orders from no
capitalist even if we are compelled to take
capitalism as part of our lives, even if we have to
find accommodation at this juncture with the
situation it creates. We know perfectly well that we
are living in a capitalist system but the issue is
much larger than the order of American capitalism.

I believe that there are American democrats as well as
democrats throughout the planet who fail to question
capitalism but who nonetheless are attached to a
certain number of human rights and that even in the
absence of challenging the question of capitalism
there are still many citizens in the world who are
probably against the death penalty and consider that
Mumia Abu Jamal has the right to an honest trial.

As far as our media notoriety in the US is
concerned, as mayors who named a street in honour of
Mumia Abu Jamal, our only objective as far as any
media solicitations are concerned (whether the
media be American or not) is to enhance the fairness
of our claim. What is our claim today? We hail from
the large numbers of people who are simply asking
that Mumia be granted a new trial so that the
evidence of his innocence can be upheld. That is all
we ask and I think that all the exposure we can
obtain in the media should establish the claim
concerning this issue. So let us make efficient use
of the mikes or cameras that seek us out, to
validate our claim.

My thoughts are very much today with Mumia Abu Jamal
and the situation that entraps him. I am currently
reading the most recent book by Michael Connelly
called "The Lincoln Trial"--a book which
demonstrates all the blemishes, to say the least,
all the abuse at the core of America’s legal
procedures, including the way a trial can be
manipulated or not.

And we are made to see that it is money that fuels
the neurological system of American justice – and
that is a fact we can only condemn. If our
statements, my statements are known throughout a
number of radio stations and their networks – so
much the better. I think it is useful, useful for
Mumia, useful concerning the issue of abolition,
useful for the totality of democracy whether it be
in the United States or other countries that call
themselves democracies today but are really

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