WHEN: Saturday, February 27at 5:30 PM – 7 PM
WHERE: El Buen Amigo & LACA Non-Profit, 114 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, New York 14201
Come celebrate Black History Month & launch the newly revised edition of Black Panther political prisoner Jalil Muntaqim ‘s Escaping the Prism, with afterword by Ward Churchill.
Jalil Muntaqim is one of the many victims of the notorious COINTELPRO program that targeted, harassed, vilified, falsely imprisoned and outright murdered members of revolutionary groups like the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement and the Chicano Liberation movements. He has spent over 45 years behind bars on a dubious conviction of murder, and has written numerous books and articles.
There will be readings, reflections and reviews of Escaping the Prism, and opportunities to support Brother Jalil Muntaqim as his next parole date approaches in June 2016.
Co-hosted by Buffalo Save the Kids, Burning Books, El Buen Amigo & LACA Non-Profit
About Escaping the Prism: Poetry and Essays by Jalil Muntaqim
Captured in 1971 and railroaded by a COINTELPRO-type FBI operation, Jalil Muntaqim is one of the longest held political prisoners in the world today. This collection of Jalil’s poetry and essays, written from behind the bars of Attica prison, combines the personal and the political, affording readers with a rare opportunity to get to know a man who has spent most of his life — over forty years –- behind bars for his involvement in the Black Liberation Movement of the 1960s and early 1970s. With an introduction by Walidah Imarisha, and a detailed historical essay by Ward Churchill.
Escaping the Prism is also available as an ebook from Amazon.
You can download a press sheet about Escaping the Prism here: escapeprism_press-sheet
For more information about Jalil: www.freejalil.com/
To learn about other political prisoners and prisoners of war held by the United States government: www.thejerichomovement.com/
What People Are Saying
Jalil Muntaqim’s prose and poetry analyze life within “America as prison.” Decades of sacrifice and resistance allow him to critique state oppression and social acquiescence. We are reminded here of democracy’s capacity for repression and terror through police, courts, and captivity; and the mystification and near disappearance of political prisoners who resisted such as Muntaqim, who writes that his name is spoken either as taboo or in reverence. Aided by Ward Churchill’s invaluable afterword, remember the historical and ongoing wars against dissent, and the brutal punishments activists risked in order to expand freedom. In the current debates about racism, legal duplicity and lethal violence, Escaping the Prism instructs that in our love for freedom, “let the spirit guide us.”
–Joy James, Seeking the ‘Beloved Community’
When soldiers of a nation-state return home from war, they are thanked for their service. When they die in battle, they are honored posthumously. But there are no medals for an army of slaves. Escaping the Prism…Fade to Black is a stunning anthology of rare and tender love poems, unflinching struggle poems, and requiem poetry for a people whose personhood is denied. Muntaqim’s poems as well as the political vignettes and biographical sketches contained herein should be required reading for students who wonder why the world is on tilt. For forty-three years as a prisoner of war (nearly twice as long as Mandela who was released after 27 years), BLA soldier Jalil Muntaqim has nurtured us with his pedagogy and his poetry. Thank you for your service.
–Frank B. Wilderson III, author of Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid
In his powerful new book of poetry, Jalil Muntaqim writes, “my poetry is my life.” He also writes, “My poetry has a chip on its shoulder,” as well it might given the decades he has spent living in the state’s cages. Yet despite his lifelong sacrifice as a political prisoner and prisoner of war, this book is proof that Jalil’s deepest thoughts are rich and his commitment to liberation remains as strong as ever. The poems in Escaping the Prism… Fade to Black reveal Jalil’s deep determination and love, and will no doubt serve as a source of inspiration for us all.
–Claude Marks, Director of the Freedom Archives and former political prisoner
Jalil Muntaqim is known for his letters and petitions and essays. Now, for the first time, we have a collection of his poetry. The poems are analytical and tender, inspiring and angering, nostalgic and sobering. In Escaping the Prism Jalil meditates on life, love, struggle, music, and everything else that prisons contain but fail to crush.
–Dan Berger, author of Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era
Another consciousness-raising magnificently written book from New Afrikan prisoner of war Jalil Muntaqim, a man i’m proud and honored to know as a comrad and brother. The preface by sista Walidah Imarisha sets the tone with her poignant insights and clear flow, hinting at the depths to come. Then, like a building storm about to break, Jalil starts the rain of poetic words connected in combinations that put today’s so-called best rappers to shame. Bending, twisting, and redefining the colonial language in paradoxical and often mindbogglng ways that demand our total attention and a rewind of our reading in order to digest the reality of what’s written. Never have i had the pleasure of being so educated by such dynamic prose and poetry as presented here. And yet there’s more, for Jalil then infuses blogs of essays written about each contemporary malady arresting the development of our struggle for freedom, and does so as deftly as a skilled surgeon performing a total organ transplant. “Hands Up, Dont Shoot? Hell no! Fist up, fight back!” Jalil shouts from his prison cell in Attica, reminding us that an unarmed movement is a dead movement. And yet he’s not preaching, but even if he was i would listen, because he is in a position to know where the traps and landmines are buried, for he is a beloved combatant of our Black Liberation Army. As if Walidah Imarisha’s introduction to Jalil’s poetry and essays weren’t enough, Escaping the Prism is closed out by the revolutionary scholar Ward Churchill of the American Indian Movement. A cold combination of jab, overhand left, and a knockout uppercut. Ward Churchill’s footnotes alone raise consciousness, his historical knowledge of the long sixties that instruct us in ways few other comrades can. i am personally grateful to comrad brotha Jalil for his life and example. Let’s get him, and in the process ourselves, free!
—Sanyika Shakur, August 3rd Communist Organization