Solidarity was forged as former political prisoners in Palestine and former US-held political prisoners in our delegation discussed parallel experiences. Palestinian audiences at both conferences were moved by the messages brought by delegates in a collection of letters from currently incarcerated US political prisoners some of whom have already served 40 years and more to their Palestinian sisters and brothers. (downloadable at this link) and the voice of US political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal. Mumia was calling from Pennsylvania to express solidarity with and love for the people of Palestine.
Samidoun expresses its salutes and solidarity to all prisoners struggling for freedom, and joins the call for the freedom of all political prisoners, from the U.S. to Palestine.
To the Palestinian Independence Movement
From Jalil Abdul Muntaqim – BPP/BLA Political Prisoner
Solidarity in the Face of Adversity
As Salaam Alaikum
It gives me great pleasure to be able to share a few words of solidarity based on our mutual struggle opposing racism and colonial oppression.
I have been in U.S. prisons for 44 years, one of the longest held political prisoners in the world, for activities and involvement in the former Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army. Since my imprisonment in 1971, I continue to be active in terms of educating prisoners, writing books, essays and articles, and finding innovative ways to contribute in exposing U.S. imperialism and its insidious support of Zionism. Naturally, I support the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions challenging Israel’s occupation of Palestine that should be equated as Apartheid.
I was captured at the age of 19 years old, an expectant father, and am now a 64 year old great grandfather. I have been before the parole board 8 times, and each time denied release because of “the nature of the crime” – the death of two police officers, a situation that time will never alter. While I was sentenced to 25 years to Life in 1975, the continued denials are tantamount to life without parole. Obviously, the prison and parole system operates with impunity, and in violation of its own mandates. Hence, it is the political nature of the conviction that is the principle reason for these denials. I share these insights in my case in order to let you know my life struggle in many ways parallels the struggles of your own political prisoners.
Furthermore, as a revolutionary Muslim (note: I oppose the indiscriminate killing by ISIS and Al-Qaeda, et al.), the foundation of our solidarity bridges ideological and national boundaries of our struggles. We are mutual allies. Therefore, it is only natural for me to express solidarity, as we forge our common humanity to oppose racist and colonial oppression wherever it may be found.
May Allah (SWT) grant you mercy and success from your tormentors, strengthening your resolve to build a future of peace and love for the next generations.
Mas Salaam – Revolutionary Love and Unity,
Jalil Abdul Muntaqim