In Impromptus today, I mention the newest resident of Bezons, France — he is an honorary resident. His actual residence is in an Israeli jail. The honoree is a Palestinian terrorist, of course, the most glorious of whose deeds was the murder of an Israeli cabinet minister, Rehavam Ze’evi.
I also say that our own Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Philadelphia cop-killer, is an honorary citizen of Paris. He doesn’t get some crappy little municipality like Bezons (no offense). He belongs to la capitale itself.
It has now come to my attention that Abu-Jamal is an honorary citizen of some 25 cities. Paris, I can understand. Also Montreal, which drinks from the same cultural waters. I can also understand Copenhagen. But Palermo? That one is a bit of a puzzler to me. Perhaps the palermitani see in their fellow citizen some kind of noble mafioso.
The man Abu-Jamal killed, Daniel Faulkner, is not an honorary citizen of any city, so far as I know. Can you confer posthumous honorary citizenship? That would be bizarre, but no less bizarre, in my opinion, than conferring honorary citizenship on Faulkner’s remorseless killer.
Remember that it is not only foreigners who honor and celebrate Abu-Jamal: We Americans are the worst offenders. Evergreen State College asked Abu-Jamal to be their commencement speaker. He spoke to the kids via video hookup. Faulkner’s widow, Maureen, was there to protest, none too welcome by the college. She is a gutty lady.
In a way, I appreciate these honorary citizenships and whatnot. They show true colors. They let us know where people stand. And they confirm that there are barbarians in democratic and nondemocratic countries alike.