Letter from Abdullah Majid regarding Amsterdam News article on Assata Shakur
I am writing you in regards to an article which your name is appended to concerning a very dear and close comrade of mine (Assata Shakur). It appears from the content and tenor of the article that you obtained your information from the “usual official sources,” or perhaps something regurgitated off the wire services? It is apparent that there was no in-depth, investigative reporting done in order to provide your readers with an objective account of the events surrounding the sister’s forced exile. So I have taken the liberty to clarify a few facts in addition to making a few comments of my own for the record.
In the early morning hours of May 2, 1973, while traveling on the New Jersey Turnpike, Assata Shakur, Zayd Malik Shakur, and Sundiata Acoli were ambushed (driving while Black) by trooper Werner Foerster (and another trooper whose name escapes me at the moment). With guns drawn, the troopers ambushed their car, ordering them out. While attempting to comply with hands raised, for no apparent reason one of the troopers opened fire on the three occupants, hitting Assata and Zayd who were seated in the rear seat of the car (killing Zayd instantly and wounding Assata) while their hands were still raised in the air.
Sundiata (who was driving) managed to exit the car without being hit by the fusillade of bullets entering the car. In the process of Sundiata exiting the car he encountered Foerster, who attempted to shoot him.
In the ensuing struggle over the gun, Foerster was shot in the face with his service revolver by his own hand. Sundiata was able to escape on foot but was apprehended a few days later. After emptying his gun into the vehicle, the second trooper fled the scene a short distance to the nearby barracks, leaving his partner behind and not immediately reporting what had just transpired to his superiors.
In fact, it was a civilian who first reported to the Turnpike Authorities what had taken place. Sister Assata was arrested and viciously beaten by the cowardly gestapos who converged on the scene while she lay bleeding from her gunshot wounds. And mortally wounded brother Zayd’s body was desecrated by the “lynch mob” on the scene. Assata’s treatment at the hands of the racist, fascist judiciary and law enforcement agencies of the “Garden State” should have come as no surprise to anyone living in amerikkka. Her legal lynching was a foregone conclusion in a state ranking third in the nation as being saturated with racist, right-wing hate groups, in particular its law enforcement agencies.
Sister Assata, like any captured freedom fighter, continued to struggle “by any means necessary” to liberate herself from enemy hands. Assata was eventually liberated from enemy hands with the help of her comrades and is now on liberated soil in Cuba (where she resides to this day, teaching and educating others about the true conditions in amerikkka (Al Hamidullah). This criminal regime in New Jersey that has placed the bounty on this sister’s life needs to be exposed for who and what they are and represent–the continued domination and exploitation of peoples of color and the poor and oppressed of the world. And what about the Black politicians in New Jersey who are supposed to represent our interests? Why have they been so silent? The Black / New Afrikan Community should be appalled and outraged by the new developments in New Jersey. The fact that hard-earned tax dollars are being squandered to pay for such a macabre act in their name! The assassination of a Black woman, mother, grandmother whose only crime was dedicating her life to the liberation of her people. How many hungry Black babies in New Jersey could be fed with that money?
At the very least, the Black and progressive members of the state legislature should introduce legislation to rescind this travesty of justice! And community organizers and activists should be in the streets educating and mobilizing the Black / New Afrikan community in ways to counter this act of terror perpetrated by the state. We must keep in mind the head negro down at the justice department has recently sanctioned these “mob hits” on amerikkkan citizens deemed to be “an enemy of the imperial empire”. In fact Leonard Pitts, a Black / New Afrikan commentator, made some instructive comments in his nationally syndicated column (3/15/12) on the behavior of these negroes running amok down in Wash. D.C. of late.
It seems as though our community has fallen into a comatose and lethargic state in response to some recent political events of the last decade i.e. 9/11 and the first so-called Black president in “the big house.” First we were sidetracked by the events of 9/11 with the “war on terror,” and secondly, we were hoodwinked by the u.s.a. white power structures installing a Black face in “the big house” to guard the master’s plantation in his temporary absence. Remember we were at a very critical stage of our struggle for true genuine self-determination i.e., reparations for the Black / New Afrikan people in amerikkka for the past exploitation (slavery) and other human rights violations committed by this criminal govt. against Black / New Afrikans. We must purge ourselves of this stupor and regain our focus on the big picture (self-determination).
We can no longer stand by silently and allow these racist thugs and negro collaborators in New Jersey to get away with this kind of cowardly act. Any more than we can allow for them to choose our Afrikan heroines: Harriet Tubman, Queen Azinga, Sojourner Truth, Sandra Ji Jaga-Pratt, Winnie Mandela, Rosa Parks, Fannie Mae Lou Hamer (to name a few) that have put themselves on the front line in the service of Black / New Afrikan people’s freedom.
Remember, freedom ain’t cheap and it don’t come easy!
Abdullah Majid P.O.W.
Elmira, New York, 3/17/12