Monday, July 16, 2007

Strange Fruit Still Hangs From Southern Trees

A Poem by Abel Meeropol (as sung by Billie Holiday)
Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Abel Meeropol, 1937

Big Lynchin' Down in Gawjah (read: Georgia) Tuesday Night! Bring the Family!
Yep, folks, wherever y'all are from all over the world, "Way down in Savannah, Georgia...," tomorrow night at 7 pm, the great democratic State of Georgia (read: Gawjah), home of great statesmen like Lester "Axhandle" Maddox (the good, hard-workin', honest folks of Gawjah elected him governor for standin' up to N-worders; the Ole Peanut Farmer Jimm-eh Cah-ter; Newtie "Family Man" Gingrich; and The Big Boss Man, is going to "lynch" a black man by injecting a salt solution full of bubbles into his bloodstream and thereby send him off to glory, Praise the Christian Lawdy Lard. Wait a minute, that man who looks like Ted Turner, also a Gawjah role model, wants to ask a question, Yes, Pops, what's up? "I'd jest like to say that seven pee-em, that's supper time, a damn good time to lynch a cullard boy--you know, good for your old appetite--what'd this heah boy do, rape a innocent white girl?" "No sir, he was convicted of killing a Burger King security guard after trying to save a homeless dude from being beaten to death." "Was the security guard, that's a poe-leese-man to me, ain't it to you, son? Was he white?" "Yes, he was white. He'd come over to help save the homeless man and then he was shot and killed and this man was arrested by the police who then closed the case, took him to trial and in spite of his maintaining his innocence, they still convicted him based on the testimony of 9 witnesses, one of whom was also implicated in the shooting, and the other a man who could not read or write who signed a statement that yes he had witnessed this black man shoot the cop. This man was then convicted of killing the cop and sentenced to death row--this was in 1991 when he was 22 and now he's 38 and he's still saying he's innocent and now seven of the original witnesses have recanted their testimony saying they were coerced by the police to sign them--some of these witnesses were 16 years old at the time, frightened, some of them with juvenile records were threatened that if they didn't sign these statements they would be sent to jail--and the only two who haven't recanted are the one who couldn't read or write yet signed what the police told him to sign and the witness who was the other suspect, the man who probably did shoot the cop."

This guy's name is Troy Davis--and here's a site that will tell you all about his case and then give you a chance to send a message directly to the Georgia State Parole Board that is meeting as I'm typing this down in Savannah, Davis's only hope--for a commuted sentence, which this parole board can grant--John Lewis the old Civil Rights activist and now Gawjah Congressman, I think, is going to be in the board room arguing for clemency for this man---

One reason "innocence" doesn't matter in this case is due to a section in Slick Willie Clinton's ominous 1996 Patriot Act--yep, folks, the Clintons and Newtie Gingrich gave us the Patriot Act--after the Okie City bombing--before they found out it was a white man who did it--at first they were rounding up Muslim-looking dudes and accusing them of it--but then they found out it was an ex-Army crackpot who somehow saw the burning to death of the David Koresh Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, as an abomination of white rights and deserving of payback--he'd learned that in the US Army. So, old Timothy McVeigh and his buddies bought hundreds of pounds of chemical fertilizer (better than animal shit, folks) and packed them in a rented truck, parked it by the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and then blew it up--it blew a giant gaping hole in that huge building--and it killed a couple'a hundred innocent we assume folks, including a bunch of kids on the first floor. And now old Timothy is up in Heaven with old David Koresh I would assume having intellectual discussions over the matter--while sipping some firmament with De Lawd and Baby Jesus.

Here's an article by excellent writer Ellen Cassell explaining this extraordinary section of that '96 Patriot Act dealing with the Federal view of death penalties--at the time there was a concensus among white lawyers that folks on death rows across the country were flooding the court system with appeals, jailhouse-constructed appeals, all of them claiming their innocence and how they were appealing for a new trial--these tons of death-row appeals appalled our Supreme Court bastions of justice and fairness and alert progressive legal thinking--I mean, you remember how old Clarence "Cunt Hair on a Coke Can" Thomas claimed he was being lynched on television--and how he beat the "death" penalty and got his damn good job--for life, folks; saved his F-ing life--thanks to the good and righteous Pappy Bush! Pappy liked old Clarence--said he took orders well; knew his place; always had his hat in his hand; why he deserved to be on our land's highest court! Good for ole Pappy.

Anyway, here's the article about the "Antiterrorist and Effective Death Penalty Act":

Oh, how grateful we all are for Slick Willie taking so many of our rights away from us, more than any president before him--and that includes Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon and Ronnie "Mr. Alzheimer's" Raygun and G.W.H. "Pappy" Bush--once head of the CIA, folks; how quickly we've forgotten.

for The Daily Growler

1 comment:

Language said...

Billie sang it, but the poem was by Abel Meeropol.