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Nov 2001 • Vol 1, No. 6 •

From Death Row:
The New Colonialism

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

“Colonies do not cease to be colonies because they are independent.”

—Benjamin Disraeli, British statesman

With the news that American political leaders are involved in intense meetings with the deposed King of Afghanistan is the revelation that the United States is trying to install a king over another people.

What’s wrong with this, people?

How does it make sense for a nation that calls for democracy to impose, with its guns and military might, a royal house upon a foreign people?

Muhammad Zahir Shah, an octogenarian who was overthrown from the Afghani throne back in 1973, is now living in Rome and is being groomed to be reinstalled in Kabul by the U.S. government.

Gone from his homeland for almost thirty years now (28, to be precise), why does the U.S. want to seat him, when the Afghani people have expressed no significant interest in his return for almost three decades?

It is hard for one to resist the temptation that the U.S. wants to put in a puppet that it can manipulate, control and rule through.

What seems clear is that the U.S. is doing, this time through military means, what it has done before in the region through spycraft.

In the 1950s, the CIA brought about the removal of Iranian premier Muhammad Mossadegh, to return the Shah to power, which in turn led the nation down the road that turned Iran into a repressive state, to keep oil under Western control.

Are the Afghanis somehow too primitive (in U.S. eyes) to appreciate the principle of democracy?

What emerges from this U.S. attempt to install a potentate is the reality that the Americans don’t really give a damn about democracy.

Almost all of the states in the region that the U.S. calls allies are as far from democracies as the earth is from the moon. If the U.S. cared about democracies, why has U.S. foreign policy for the last half-century been the protection, sustaining and arming of anti-democratic dictators? From Marcos in the Philippines, Suharto in Indonesia, the Duvaliers in Haiti, to Mobutu in Zaire, and on and on.

Indeed, we need not go that far.

The recent elections in Florida, which featured racial and ethnic profiling of Black, Haitian and Jewish voters there, and thereby denying them the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the U.S. democracy by voting, proves that Americans need not go abroad to protect or promote democracy.

There is something unseemly about a nation that came into being by declaring independence from a king to urge a king upon a foreign people. Democracy begins at home.





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