By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Read 'em and Weep
In "Mumia's Last Stand" [November 16], Peter Noel writes that Mumia Abu-Jamal's life depends on "the precarious vagary of white man's justice," and chillingly describes the manner in which the state of Pennsylvania plans to carry out Abu-Jamal's execution.
What Noel conveniently omits from his article, however, is any mention of the compelling some would say overwhelmingevidence that Abu-Jamal murdered police officer Daniel Faulkner.
I'm willing to bet that neither Angela Davis nor most of Abu-Jamal's countless other supporters have ever taken the time to actually acquire and read the transcripts of the trial they claim was so unfair. Had they done so, perhaps they would conclude that Abu-Jamal has spent the last 18 years exactly where he belongs.
Regarding Peter Noel's article on Mumia: The only real issues in the Mumia Abu-Jamal case are these: Is he guilty? And did he get a fair trial? The evidence of his guilt is genuinely ambiguous. The evidence that he did not get a fair trial is strong. For these reasons, he certainly deserves a new trial.
However, simply assuming his innocence and writing a puff piece about Mumia as folk herowhich is what Peter Noel has doneserves no purpose other than to incite the demagogues on both sides. Mumia is not on death row because he's a militant; he's there because many believe, possibly incorrectly, that he killed a man. We should care about whether in fact he did this, and that he got a fair trial, not what his politics are.
The Sound and the Fury
Reading Peter Noel's article about Mumia brought home to me how sad it is that the death penalty still exists in America. Sadder still is that Mumia's case continues to garner more attention than any other. I believe Abu-Jamal deserves a new trial; however, what is disappointing is the fact that because Abu-Jamal is such an intelligent, charismatic figure he has been able to focus attention back on his case. What about the rest of those on death row who are not equally adept at shining the light on themselves? I guess it pays to be famous in the U.S.A. once again.
Thanks to Nat Hentoff for "Time Warner and Human Rights" [November 16]. Russia, China, and half the other nations of the world are run by thugs and sociopaths. It is high time we stopped pretending these "rulers" are anything but criminals. Any company, industry, or nation that coddles them doesn't deserve to consider itself civilized.
Alisa Solomon asks a good question: Is Suha Arafat Right ["Suha's Charges," November 23]? Unfortunately, Solomon doesn't have sufficient evidence for an answer. She mentions that cases of "ecological abuse" have been "documented" by a Palestinian organizationpillars of scien?tific integrity one and all.
Buried in the Palestinian propaganda is a brief statement that in the 1993 Oslo agreement it was decided that certain ecological measures must be taken by "both sides"but only Israel is honored with the accusation that it "poisoned" the West Bank! No one denies there are pollution problems in Israel and the Palestine Authority. But blame must be apportioned fairly.
Mark Schoofs's article "AIDS: The Agony of Africa" [November 9] just about sucked the spirit out of me. Western colonial forces have intentionally pillaged Africa and funded competing armies. Today, the West either turns its back on the wreckage it caused, or plans policies for the recolonization of Africasuch as the NAFTA-like African Growth and Opportunity Act before Congress.
The United States has threatened sanctions against countries that try to manufacture and distribute generic AIDS drugs at cost, leaving poor African and Asian countries little choice but to go without since they can't afford the grossly inflated prices imposed by Western drug patent holders. When the corporate pigs look to the future, they see a bank vault that needs filling. Our struggle now is to stop the globalist policies that treat us as either slaves, sacrificial units, or consumers for profiteers.
Mark Schoofs's article "A Tale of Two Brothers" [November 16] brought back a lot of memories for me. Fela's estate was only a few minutes from my family residence in Ikeja, Nigeria, and my generation grew up listening to his music. Even after his death he is still a hero to thousands of youths back home.
Ignorance and adhering to old traditions and customs is the main problem with AIDS in the African subcontinent. The only way to combat this crisis is to break that mode of thinking. Hopefully Schoofs's article will motivate more people, myself included, to collectively use our professional and financial resources to help stop this silent killer back home.
It is frightening that Dr. Tom Coburn is letting his conservative political agenda put women's health in such profound danger [Sharon Lerner, Body Politics, "Condomnation," November 9]. Warning labels on condoms will only serve to deter their use and to fuel the spread of the very STD that Coburn, an obstetrician himself, is supposedly taking a stand against.