Is there a balm in Gilead?

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Protesters marched to the governor’s office in Philadelphia on April 22, demanding he fund the Hep C cure for all Pennsylvanians who need it. – Photo: Joe Piette
Protesters marched to the governor’s office in Philadelphia on April 22, demanding he fund the Hep C cure for all Pennsylvanians who need it. – Photo: Joe Piette

The great Black activist and artist Paul Robeson in 1958, in Carnegie Hall, sang the gospel song, “Balm in Gilead”: “♪There is a balm in Gilead, ♪To make the wounded whooole♪ ….”

His full, magnificent baritone filled the hall with wonder.

Hepatitis C is a liver infection (inflammation), which can, if untreated, lead to immense suffering and death.

Sofosbuvir, sold under the names Harvoni and Sovaldi, is more than a treatment: It is a cure, with healing rates of over 95 percent. And it now goes for $1,000 – a pill. A full course of treatment? Over $100,000.

Is there a balm in Gilead? Yup. There is. But only a few can afford it.

To quote Paul Robeson, in the words of this cherished Negro spiritual, “♪There is a balm in Gilead, ♪To make the wounded whooole ….♪♪”

But if you can’t afford it, you die.

© Copyright 2016 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Keep updated at www.freemumia.com. His new book is “Writing on the Wall,” edited by Joanna Hernandez. For Mumia’s commentaries, visit www.prisonradio.org. Encourage the media to publish and broadcast Mumia’s commentaries and interviews. Send our brotha some love and light: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCI-Mahanoy, 301 Morea Road, Frackville, PA 17932.