Who is Mumia Abu-Jamal?

Yesterday the Guardian published the first UK mainstream media interview with somebody who has been well known in radical circles – Mumia Abu-Jamal.  Mumia is a former Black Panther activist, a former radical journalist who covered the MOVE story and a victim of the system who has been wrongly convicted of shooting a cop – and so for the last 26 years he has been on death-row fighting both for his life and against a brutal system of injustice:

Abu-Jamal spends 22 hours a day alone in his cell – except at weekends, when it’s 24. For two hours between 7am and 9am every weekday he has the option of going out into the yard – or “cage”, as he prefers to call it. It is 60ft square and fenced on all sides, including overhead. Because “air is precious”, he rarely refuses, but not everyone takes up the offer. “People have different ways,” he says. “I know some guys who play chess for hours and hours, shouting the moves between cells. Some guys argue with other guys. Some guys used to enjoy smut books, but they’ve stopped those now. A lot of guys don’t come out. I think it’s depression. You get tired of seeing the same old faces. The role of television is the illusion of company, noise. I call it the fifth wall and the second window: the window of illusion.”

For more on him and his struggle see: http://www.mumia.org/

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