Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
millions for Mumia Mumia, the voice of the voiceless


ムミア支援集会へのメッセージ  2004年4月24日


First of all I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the organizers of this rally for giving me the opportunity to greet you all present here, who have come from all walks of life, from all parts of the United States, and from all over the world.

My name is Imai Kyohei. I'm a journalist, a husband, not a father, not a grandfather. I live in a country where the most creeping adulators to the US government are in power. I mean Japan.

In 1995 while I was making a business trip to America I encountered a book with a sleek, dark, shiny jacket, titled "Live from Death Row". The author's name, Mumia Abu-Jamal, was not familiar to me then. I don't know why the book attracted me so strongly. Though I don’t believe in fate, in this case I do feel the temptation to use the term "fate". Or I would rather say ‘mission’.

As you know, 1995 was a critical year for Mumia. Tom Ridge, then governor of Pennsylvania, issued a death warrant and set the date for execution as August 17th. I determined to join the people who were raising their voices to stop the legal lynching of the outstanding African-American journalist. Some Japanese lawyers experienced shock as they observed the kangaroo court in July 1995, presided over by Judge Sabo. They held a press conference immediately after coming back to Japan and made a statement: Mumia is very likely innocent and the court, presided over by the same judge who originally sentenced him to death, is nothing but a mockery. Forty-four Japanese Diet members (both the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors) signed a statement demanding a fair trial for Mumia in August.  We started activities then in support of Mumia's tireless struggle against injustice and oppression.

It was my privilege to visit Mumia in person at SCI Greene in May of 1999. I was deeply impressed by his attentive manner; his voice was so deep and his tongue was so persuasive. Several weeks after I visited him, I heard that he was suffering from a pain in his leg. And recently we are informed he is suffering again. We are terribly anxious about Mumia's condition and are now collecting a petition demanding that the PA governor and the superintendent of SCI Greene allow him see a doctor of his own choice. We are also anxious about the US Supreme Court's attempt to review the Banks v. Horn case. We must keep pressure on the system in order to prevent the death penalty and win the new decent trial that Mumia deserves and has not once enjoyed.

Mumia allowed me to translate "Live from Death Row" into Japanese. I am happy to tell you that the Japanese version of his masterpiece, published in April of 2001, is encouraging Japanese people to contemplate the truth and fight injustice and the oppressive system.

After the Bush regime started attacking Afghanistan and Iraq using the pretext of a "war against terror", Mumia's voice and his writings are playing an increasingly important role.  His voice, END THE OCCUPATION, is now our common demand wherever we are. We can unite under the same slogans: "End the Occupation", "End the War", "End the death penalty", in spite of the repressive and arrogant politics of the Bush regime and Bush's followers in the Koizumi administration.

When I had to leave Mumia after a two-hour visit in May of 1999, I told him "Today is the second biggest day in my life because I have seen you in person. I do believe that the actual biggest day will come in the future when I see you again without the walls surrounding us." I do believe we can see him free. We must make this happen. He must not be killed. We must not allow this to happen.

Let the world hear our common demand:
Free Mumia! End the Occupation! End the violence against the people!

Thank you very much again to you all.

April 24th, 2004

Imai Kyohei