[col. writ. 4/26/09] (c) '09 Mumia Abu-Jamal
As the temperature of war increases in Iraq, and the U.S. increases troops in Afghanistan, an unanswered question looms.
Not, 'what is a nation', so much as why is this a nation, and when?
When we speak of Iraq, Afghanistan or even Pakistan as nation-states, we are really speaking of political elites in their capitals, and of relatively new political identities that are not truly agreed upon even in those states.
Many of these nations had their borders drawn, not by themselves, but by diplomats in Europe, more for their interests than the inhabitants thereof.
Let me give but one example: remember the former Pakistani president-general Pervez Musharraf? In the year he was born, there was no Pakistan. He was born a citizen of northwest India.
In many of these countries there are millions of people who see themselves, first and foremost, as members of ancient tribes, to whom loyalties lie. They are Pashtun, Punjabi, or Tajik.
In Ayaan Hirsi Ali's autobiographical work, Infidel, she recounts the childhood memory of her and her sister standing in their back yard in Somalia, reciting the lineage of their clan. Standing over them was the daunting figure of grandmother, a switch in hand, and woe to the child who would forget or overlook an ancestor.
Her grandmother didn't demand that they recount the rulers of Somalia. What was important was tribe, clan and sub-clan histories and lineages.
For millions and millions of people, in Africa and South Asia, one's clan is crucial; nation is ephemeral. For before nation, there was clan. When one is in distress, there is clan. When one is endangered, there is clan.
Nation is a collection of strangers. Nation is the faraway capital. Nation is the oppressive force that imposes taxation, or unwanted military presence.
As the U.S., under Obama, plans to downsize in Iraq, and beef up in Afghanistan, it faces a force that Americans have not had to consider for several centuries; the power of tribes (here, I speak of the so-called 'Indians', a European name imposed on a host of tribes, clans, and sub-clans).
This is the true social and political power that lies beneath the ossified and often corrupt national governments in which the U.S. has invested billions.
There is the formal nation-state, with all the structure that Americans like, but unseen is the true movers and shakers of society -- identity formers -- tribes.
This may be the rock upon which all U.S. efforts, all of its billions, all of its military might -- shatters.
--(c) '09 maj
The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!
Audio of most of Mumia's essays are at: http://www.prisonradio.org
Mumia Abu-Jamal's new book -- JAILHOUSE LAWYERS: PRISONERS DEFENDING PRISONERS V. THE USA, featuring an introduction by Angela Y. Davis -- will be released soon!
It will be available from City Lights Books at a 30% discount weeks before you can get it at any other bookstore, or from Amazon.
Sign up for an email alert and when the book becomes available for sale you'll receive an email letting you know: http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100448090
In support of Mumia and the publication of JAILHOUSE LAWYERS, organizations around the country will be holding "More Than a Book Party" events on or around Mumia's birthday, April 24, 2009.
If you are planning to organize an event or would like to order in bulk, you can also receive a 45% discount on any bulk orders of 20 copies or more. The book retails for $16.95, for orders of 20 copies or more the discounted price would be $9.32 per book, plus shipping and handling. Prepayment would be required and books are nonreturnable. If you or your organization would like to place a bulk order, please contact Stacey Lewis at 415.362.1901 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's use the opportunity of the publication of this brilliant, moving, vintage Mumia book to build the momentum for his case, to raise the money we desperately need in these challenging economic times, to get the word out – to produce literature, flyers, posters, videos, DVD's; to send organizers out to help build new chapters and strengthen old ones, TO GET THE PEOPLE OUT IN THE STREETS … all the work that we must do in order to FREE MUMIA as he faces LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE OR EXECUTION!
Please make a contribution to help free Mumia. Donations to the grassroots work will go to both INTERNATIONAL CONCERNED FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL and the FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL COALITION (NYC).
Please mail donations/ checks to:
FREE MUMIA ABU JAMAL COALITION
PO BOX 16, NEW YORK,
(CHECKS FOR BOTH ORGANIZATIONS PAYABLE TO: FMAJC/IFCO)
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WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!
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