ratm » wiki

rage » Bandgeschichte » Bandmitglieder » Presse » Kritik
musik » Ver�ffentlichungen » Songs » Sound-Equipment
propaganda »  Aktionen » Politik » Ansprachen » Literatur
solo » Zdlr » Nightwatchman » Audioslave » Axis Of Justice

January 29, 1999
Crowd Gathers for Concert to Benefit Abu-Jamal

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Speaking out against what they consider was an unfair trial, members of several music groups took the stage at Continental Airlines Arena to raise funds for the legal defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal, on death row after being convicted of killing a police officer.

The concert Thursday night took place over protests from public officials and police organizations, including Gov. Christie Whitman.

The Beastie Boys, Rage Against The Machine, Bad Religion, and Black Star headlined the $30-a-ticket concert. A portion of the $480,000 in proceeds will be donated to the defense fund of Abu-Jamal, a black former radio reporter on Pennsylvania's death row for the 1981 killing of Officer Daniel Faulkner.

"One of the main points about this is Mumia did not receive a fair trial and that's something everyone should be concerned about," said Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys. "If that goes away we're basically living in a police state."

Beastie member Adam Yauch said, "If murder is wrong, then killing someone else is wrong. The death penalty is something that needs to be erased from the planet."

Abu-Jamal and his supporters have long held that he was unfairly convicted, saying evidence and witnesses had been withheld and claiming the prosecution had acted wrongly.

A member of the band Chumbawamba thanked the crowd for attending the concert and introduced the first act, Black Star, at 7 p.m.

With an upside-down American flag spraypainted with "Free Mumia" as a backdrop, Rage Against The Machine was the last to take the stage. The group's heavy sound sent the arena into a frenzy, with audience members moshing and crowd-surfing.

Before the encore, Chuck D of the rap group Public Enemy made an appearance on stage, saying, "Right is right, wrong is wrong. Give the man a fair chance."

The concert had outRage Against The Machined police groups and Attorney General Peter Verniero, who said the state couldn't stop the show because the arena is a public venue. Whitman had urged fans of the bands to stay home.

"I'd like to thank all of you for not being intimidated by the police and all the threats and coming here and standing up in support of Mumia," said Zack De La Rocha of Rage Against The Machine.

About two hours before the concert was to begin, some supporters of Abu-Jamal displayed a sign in the arena parking lot that read: "Free Mumia. Refuse, resist." There were no visible concert protests.

Later, inside the arena, some entrepreneurs sold "Free Mumia" T-shirts.

At an afternoon news conference, members of Rage Against The Machine said Whitman and Verniero were overreacting and creating an "atmosphere of fear."

"Tonight's benefit is not to support cop killers or any kind of killers," De La Rocha said. "If there was no question of the guilt of Mumia Abu-Jamal, we would not be holding this benefit."

Jana Astraea, of Refuse and Resist, a political group that supports Abu-Jamal, said she is not surprised by the controversy surrounding the concert.

"They really don't want all these people to hear the story of Mumia," said Astraea, 22. "They don't want to connect a radical youth culture with radical politics."

Abu-Jamal contended that authorities coerced an eyewitness to testify against him, unfairly stacked a jury with white people and railroaded him to a guilty verdict in the 1981 shooting of Faulkner, 26, who had stopped Abu-Jamal's brother for a traffic violation.

His jailhouse writings, including the 1995 book "Live from Death Row," have made him a celebrity around the world, attracting the support of actors Edward Asner and Mike Farrell, death penalty opponents and politicians.

"The bottom line is, Mumia Abu-Jamal did not receive a fair trial," said Tom Morello, another Rage Against The Machine band member. "You certainly cannot convict a man until an unbiased judge and an unbiased jury have heard all the evidence, and you certainly can't execute him."

Police and prosecutors say he was fairly convicted on physical evidence and testimony. Police found the dying officer and a wounded Abu-Jamal lying near his own gun.

Abu-Jamal's lawyers are preparing a U.S. Supreme Court appeal for a new trial.

A spokesman for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates the arena, said Thursday that about 2,000 people returned their tickets. The arena holds 16,000 for concerts.

Bob Scully, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, said he was outRage Against The Machined that funds were being raised for Jamal and that people thought he had been treated unfairly.

"If people would sit down and read, and look at the evidence, I don't think there's any question," he said. "The bottom line is this guy has been tried and convicted, and has been allowed numerous appeals. Where we're coming from is enough is enough."

Greg Graffin, lead singer of Bad Religion, said on Monday the groups organized the concert to raise awareness about the "evils" of the death penalty. He also said Abu-Jamal deserves another trial and wants to call attention to the racial inequities of capital punishment.

Lawrence Marshall, a law professor at Northwestern University who has helped win three death penalty reversals, said those on either side of the death penalty debate had trouble finding common ground because they were coming from completely different viewpoints.

"Each side makes up its mind," he said. "Both sides are honestly doing what they think is just."

While most concertgoers said they strongly support Abu Jamal, some said they just wanted to hear their favorite groups.

"We are not here to start a riot. I just wanted to see the bands," said Eryn Costello, 20, of Fairhaven, Mass.

Kirk Hourdajian, 19, of Ridgewood, said he was there for both the music and to help Abu Jamal.

"I think it's for a good cause. It's definitely an issue that more people need to know about," said Hourdajian

� 1996 - 2008 ratm.de is powered by Wordpress.