Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Bomani Shakur, Power to the People"

Denis O'Hearn created a doc "Bomani Shakur, Power to the People".

via facebook

Power to the People

Although on a very small scale (which by no means
diminishes the deed), we, the people, have
wrought a revolution?"a sudden and momentous
change in a situation"?and accomplished in twelve
days what the powers that be have repeatedly told
us would never happen. Indeed, for the first
time in sixteen years, I will be able to hug and
kiss my family again! There are no words to
express the profound gratitude I feel. The late,
great, revolutionary leader, Che Guevara, once
said: "A true revolutionary is guided by great
feelings of love!" Well, while I cannot claim to
be a revolutionary in the strict sense of the
word, it is a great feeling of love (for you, the
people) that is guiding me right now: even as I
write this, tears of hope and determination are streaming down my face.

When one has been forced to live in a space no
larger than a closet for sixteen years, 23 hours
a day, not only does one begin to feel extremely
insignificant, but the very world begins to
shrink; and everything, even the smallest thing,
seems impossible. Hence, never in my wildest
dreams could I have imagined the overwhelming
outpouring of love and support that came flooding
into my cell after I cried out for help. People
from all over the country and the world?England,
Ireland, Serbia, Amsterdam?reached out and joined
together with us to right an injustice; and
surprisingly, miraculously, we
succeeded! Everything we demanded was properly handed over (see attachment).

It would be great if I could say that the worst
is over now, and that, with victory in hand, I
can live happily ever after. Unfortunately, I
don't have the luxury of living in a fairy tale;
the people who are trying to take my life are
real, not a figment of my imagination. In fact,
not even a week after my piece?If We Must Die?was
posted and we embarked on the hunger strike, a
federal district judge turned down my appeal,
which placed me even further in the balance. It
would be naïve of me to believe that this was
just a coincidence, an unrelated incident that
just so happened to coincide with our peaceful,
nonviolent demonstration. As you may recall, I
said some very harsh things (all of them true)
against the system; and I say them again: this
system is bogus and sold to those with money. In
other words, if you don't have the capital you
get the punishment, and justice, like everything
else in this capitalist nightmare, is nothing
more than a commodity that is reserved for the
highest bidder. Need I say more?

Friends, I beg you not to abandon me to this
mockery; inasmuch as my life is not for them to
take, I intend to fight them, and I (we) need
your help. What they did to us can not stand up
under the bright light of scrutiny. Because of
who we are, they felt that doing a thorough job
wasn't necessary. After all, who's going to give
a damn about a bunch of criminals? With this as
their attitude, they utilized a
"first-come-first-served" strategy and ended up
charging several different people with the same
crimes, using different theories; and, in some
cases, allowed the actual perpetrators to point
the finger elsewhere if they were willing to
assist the prosecution in cleaning up its
books. Simply put, what they did to us is a
travesty of justice; and yet, our convictions
have remained intact through the lower courts of
appeal and are quickly making their way through
the federal courts. In other words, if we don't
do something to get out in front of this thing,
they are going to kill us soon. And it may be
that, no matter what we do, they are going to
kill us anyway. Well, okay. But if that be the
case, let us at least make sure that they not be
able to call it justice. If they kill us, let us
at least be able to call it what it really is: murder.

Friends, we don't have to accept this; we don't
have to continue down the path of least
resistance, allowing them to do with us whatever
they please. If we stand together and speak
truth to power, they will have no choice but to
right this wrong. They did it in the current
confrontation, and they will do it again, not
because they want to but because they have
to. Whenever hypocrisy is confronted by the
truth, it must capitulate. Therefore, the key to
fighting these people is to expose the truth and
then hold it up next to what they claim to
represent. If we can do this well enough, they
will either have to practice what they preach or,
as Malcolm X suggests, preach what they
practice. Our job is to make sure they don't have it both ways.

Our friend, Staughton Lynd, has written a book
about the uprising (Lucasville: The Untold Story
of a Prison Uprising), and we need to encourage
people to read it. In the coming days, weeks,
and months, we need to formulate plans to
reintroduce the play and launch the documentary,
Dirty Little Secrets, all with the intended
purpose of making as many people as possible
aware of what actually happened during the
uprising and its aftermath. Ultimately, the goal
is to compose a petition, similar in scope to the
ones that were recently circulated, which will
then be presented to the governor with the demand
that he either issue a general amnesty with
respect to all of the Lucasville cases or, in the
alternative, convene a panel of qualified experts
to determine whether or not a general amnesty is warranted.

In closing, I want to thank each and every one of
you for coming forward as you did. I am both
humbled and uplifted by the support. When I
phoned my eight-year-old niece, Kayla, afterwards
and informed her that "uncle Keith will be able
to touch her little hand soon," she, with
excitement brimming in her voice, said, "that's
awesome!" And I couldn"t agree with her
more: what we did was awesome! We came together
and spoke truth to power and won! Imagine that!

Power to the People!
Bomani Shakur a.k.a. Keith LaMar

January 2011

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