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Fatimah Ali | Necessary for the triumph of evil? Good men do nothing

An evil story has been brewing in Jena, La., where the lives of six young black teenagers hang in the balance. The youth are being victimized by racism that is so thick, it's hard to believe that it's happening in 2007.

An evil story has been brewing in Jena, La., where the lives of six young black teenagers hang in the balance. The youth are being victimized by racism that is so thick, it's hard to believe that it's happening in 2007.

But what bothers me the most is the fact that I am just now finding out about the Jena Six, a year after it all began.

Here's a summary: A black student at Jena High School asked if it was all right to sit under a shade tree normally used by white students. Soon after, three nooses were found hanging from the tree branches.

Fights and tensions between white and black students escalated over the next few weeks. One black student was beaten at a party by white students. Then, a white student was injured in a fight with black students. Following that fight, the student was treated at the hospital and released a few hours later, and six black teens were charged with attempted murder.

In July, one of them, Mychal Bell, a star athlete, was convicted on reduced charges by an all-white jury and faces up to 22 years in prison.

As the facts unfold, I see why the mainstream media has been letting this news slip by. It reeks of the bigoted abuse of judicial power, which continues to run rampant all over America. For some white folks, it's a lot easier to pretend that this brutal force of racism doesn't exist rather than to face its putrid stench.

If it weren't for black people in the media, we probably wouldn't know about the Jena Six at all. Here in Philadelphia, I was tipped off about the situation in Jena by Bob Law, the recently deposed national program director for WURD (900-AM). After several conversations with him and listening intently to his discussions on the air, I surfed the Internet for details, where I found most of the coverage of the Jena Six on several black broadcaster's Web sites, including Tom Joyner's Black America Web, The Final Call, Michael Baiseden and a few legal watchdog groups.

(The Washington Post did carry a few stories, the first one dated June 29, when Bell was sentenced.)

Most of the accused are in jail, unable to post bail, and Bell awaits sentencing after being swiftly convicted. The "weapon" in question that escalated a schoolyard brawl to attempted-murder charges ? A sneaker!

Jena's racist district attorney, Reed Walters, is abusing his power by keeping his promise that with "one stroke of his pen he could ruin the black teens' lives." In each incident, the D.A. has acted unreasonably against the black kids, while allowing the white suspects to walk away unscathed. Finally, this ugly story is gathering up enough steam to be noticed in the national media, following coverage in newspapers as far away as China, London and Russia.

Recently, the Rev. Al Sharpton went to Jena to launch his battle cry of "no justice, no peace," and now thousands of people are adding their voices to the ground swell of outrage.

The tiny town of Jena, La., has a population of 3,000, and less than 12 percent is African-American. The tree where the nooses swung has been chopped down, as the scales of justice continue to swing, grossly unbalanced in favor of the district attorney and a public defender who he seems to be in cahoots with.

In coming weeks, you will see more more news coverage and demonstrators who will descend on Louisiana to call for economic sanctions against the town and to raise money for the Jena Six's legal fees. There's also a call for an investigation into Jena's corrupt judicial system. The black media have sounded the drum as an instrument for change where the sheet-wearing mentality needs to be shut down for good.

To join the outrage you can sign the petition @ www.Petition-Online.com. *

Fatimah Ali is a regular contributor to the Daily News. E-mail her at Fameworks- media@yahoo.com

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