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Open Letter from a friend of Troy Davis'

America's Problem is Us

Words seem to have such sharp edges today. Each letter too violent to use when all I want is softness. They are also too cold to warm me--backing away as I reach out my arms for comfort.
We lost a friend and a good man last night. On September 21st, 2011 at 11:08 p.m. Troy Anthony Davis was killed by the state of Georgia. But that statement seems too impersonal.

There was a jury who authorized his death. There was the Georgia Supreme Court who refused to commute his sentence. There was the parole board, the district attorney and the governor Nathan Deal who failed to issue a pardon. There was the US Supreme Court and President Obama. There were prison guards who walked him down to the execution chamber. There was a "doctor" who administered the lethal drugs which have been known to cause outward paralysis yet inwardly the victim experiences extreme pain. There were journalists watching, there were other victims there hoping for some sort of relief from the pain of losing a loved one long ago, and there was Troy's family-whose strength and courage is immeasurable.

In this time of course maybe we are all wondering if there was something else we could have done. One more letter, getting one more celebrity to support him, calling him more, maybe another visit, some more effective direct action, a time machine or teleportation device perhaps. But in the face of such finality--a breath extinguished--our work will never feel like enough and peace can never be achieved through such violence.

I don't think Troy would have been executed if he were a white man. Our country which speaks of freedom, of innovation, of "First Worldliness" and respect for human rights-- we still suffer a from the diseases of crime, of poverty, of malnutrition. We have one in six people without any health care, we are dismantling unions, and we have a growing house-less population. Our jails are over-crowded and filled disproportionately with African Americans and Latino people.

'America has a very serious problem...America's problem is us,' said the late Malcolm X. We refuse to be bought and sold. We refuse to contribute to the ongoing expansion of the US Military Empire across the world. We refuse to continue to solve our problems through continued military intervention, through a broken and racist court system, corporate privatization, through higher border walls and gated communities. Until these problems are justly dealt with, America's problem will continue to be us.

One bright flame was extinguished last night in Georgia but in each of us Troy Davis sparked a fire that refuses to die. His struggle is now our struggle. Our memories of Troy will live on in the work that we do. He will live on as we work for justice, peace and equality for all our brothers and sisters across the world.

I always ended my letters to Troy, "Stay Strong" and for you, who continue the work that needs to be done, I offer the same ending.

In solidarity,

Sarah Farahat

Thank you. 22.Sep.2011 09:11

Den Mark, Vancouver WA

This is too sad to even cry about. I feel incredible despair. This is a sick sick sick country. I thank you for your words. There is much to do. I will help. You stay strong, too.

Sad Things 22.Sep.2011 10:11

James Byrd

It is sad that this man was found guilty for killing a police officer assisting an African American homeless man. It is sad that the jury was mainly minorities. It is sad that the parole board is also mainly minorities. It is sad that Mr. Davis was in fact attacking the homeless man (never disputed) the police officer stopped to assist. It is sad that the very gun used to kill the police officer was also used to shoot at (though not killing) other police officers and was in fact a gun Mr. Davis had used in the previous shootings. It is sad that people refuse to get along with one-another. It is also sad that Mr. James Byrd was put to death yesterday. It is sad that Mr. Byrd thought it was a good idea to drag an African American man behind his pick-up truck. It is sad that there are no masses grieving the loss of Mr. Byrd. It is sad that if Mr. Byrd was an African American man like Mr. Davis was that there may in fact be mourners. It is sad that crime is so persistent in this country. It is sad that people no longer respect other people or their property. Finally, it is sad that I am sad today.

Just to be clear 22.Sep.2011 10:57


James Byrd was Lawrence Russell Brewer's victim.

Brewer was Executed yesterday (9/21) in texas.

Brewer was white, James Byrd was black.

Troy Davis was executed in Georgia yesterday (9/21)

Davis was Black, the Policeman he was convicted of killing was White. The man the off-duty policeman was trying to save was Black when he was killed.

Irony as understatement 22.Sep.2011 12:27


Irony as understatement;

*Before Davis was killed, he had to undergo a physical examination to show that he was fit for execution.

*Under cause of death, his death certificate lists "homicide."

Many who are misinformed attempt to create a parallel narrative between the Davis and Brewer executions. They seem immune to the fact that in Davis' case, there was overwhelming evidence pointing to his innocence. This was the cause of global outcry regarding the case of Troy Davis. The same was not true in the James Byrd murder.

Many who are lazy simply refuse to research the Davis case will continue to drop red herrings right and left. They will not examine the racial history of the death penalty in this country. Nor will they acknowledge racial profiling. Two stark realities ignored.

And so it is SAD! Sad that the ignorant rant on in racist rabble. Sad that they will be so negligent as to misidentify the driver of the truck as well as the man executed in Texas yesterday (get your shit correct before you go spittin'!)! It is sad that those who will continue to insist on the guilt of Troy Davis will choose to ignore the fact that 7 of the nine supposed 9 witnesses to the crime have recanted their testimony. It is sad that the lazy will not look to the fact that no physical evidence - no DNA, no forensics - points to Davis as the shooter. It is sad that they refuse to take into consideration that the torture death of James Byrd was not only a capital crime but hate crime as well (Brewer was a member of the Texas Confederate Knights of America). It is sad that some will try to use Davis' alleged prior use of a gun to try to downplay Brewer's criminal past (evidence showed Brewer, who had done prison time, had violated parole and was involved in a number of burglaries and thefts in the Jasper area).

It is just all so sad.



Amnesty 22.Sep.2011 13:14

Den Mark, Vancouver WA

Another sad fact is that Amnesty International, amazing & totally unique action group, hugely careful about its campaigns, because it must be careful, jumped into this one, full on. Such was the obviously flawed nature of Troy Davis' trial.

Everything 22.Sep.2011 14:35


Every thing is sad about today because of the state-sanctioned murder last night. If they had done the right thing, they would have pardoned Troy Davis and he would be alive today. But no, they had to go ahead knowing America has judged him to have sufficient grounds for possible innocence. It is a sad day, a very sad day. I had thought America's morality was gone, but now its even worse. We kill indiscriminately, that is what we are known for. We are #1 in killing at war and at home.