(Pic Of Child Bride Pixie Africa)
"What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages."
"What To The Slave Is The Fourth of July"
I will give credit where it is due.
Had it not been for my reading of Mumia I wouldn’t have taken seriously the eloquence and beauty of abolitionist Frederick Douglas. Douglas, a former slave, wrote the above speech nearly a decade before the American Civil War, long before it became fashionable to advocate the abolition of chattel slavery.
For in saying what he did, Douglas exhibited a degree of intellectual and physical courage that transcends time and speaks to the heart of hearts.
The words of Douglas, their excoriation of the institution of slavery, and the corresponding prevailing attitude of acceptance amongst white America, was a part of a long overdue wake-up call that would become one of the many prefaces to the end of that most wicked of human conditions, that of human bondage.
The sad irony of course, with regards to Mumia and Frederick Douglas is the fact that Jamal has made himself a spokesperson and apologist for an Organization that employees some of the very same mechanisms of control that slave-masters did for some 400 years. These machinations of manipulation and absolutist mind-control that don’t even exclude sexual exploitation are not relics of a cruel and brutish past, but are alive and well in modern day Philadelphia.
Now, at this point, if you are getting the impression that I am yet again writing on behalf of the children of MOVE, you are right. If ever, I was to be considered to be redundant, than I stand willfully guilty of it with regards to this issue.
More than any other, the murder of Officer Faulkner, Officer Ramp, even the death of John Gilbride, it is this issue that is, for lack of a better word, ignored.
While, the MOVE supporters have occasionally attempted some very squalid and un-convincing defenses of the treatment of children in the cult, those who are aware of the group’s vile abuse of children are largely mum on the issue.
But it is not just individuals who sit idly by and remain silent as this barbarity continues, it is the very institutions that are purportedly tasked with ensuring that these and all children are free from abuse and are guaranteed a basic education.
I personally contacted the District Attorney’s Office with regards to the practice of child-rape within MOVE, not to speak of the fact that the children of the cult are deprived of an education. And after a rather meaningless bit of back and forth I was informed that there was nothing that the DA’s office could do and that the issue was being referred to the Philadelphia Department of Human Services. I was told that due to the seriousness of this situation that I would certainly be contacted. Needless to say, it has been months and no phone call or email from DHS.
As best I can tell, it is business as usual down at the MOVE plantation.
It is worth pointing out that one of the primary critiques of the city government during the 1985 confrontation was the fact that the city followed a policy of appeasement with regards to MOVE’s criminality on Osage Avenue, an act of willful negligence that I argue served to not only allow for MOVE to do whatever they wanted, but also encouraged the group’s lawless behavior. I would further argue that this policy of purposeful appeasement of MOVE is one that exists to this day and could serve as yet another component of another bloody confrontation.
Another aspect of the MOVE commission report that is worthy of discussion has to do with the very real fact that a "MOVE" crisis could not have ever gotten any traction had it been in a predominantly white neighborhood. It is a finding that as a former MOVE devotee I must agree with.
Yet another group that has been negligent with regards to the treatment of children in the MOVE sect is the media on all fronts. I should say that I have been interviewed by reporters and done radio shows and I unfailingly bring up the issue of the MOVE children. And for whatever reason, people are more interested in the fact that children in the cult now have birthday parties than they are the fact that these very same kids cannot spell the word birthday.
I should also point out that the "alternative" media has been no better on this matter, in fact I would argue that they have been more negligent. I have had email correspondence with members of the Philadelphia Independent Media Center
about these issues and to my knowledge none of the "brave" reporters from the IMC can muster the courage to go down the street to see just what is going on with these young, black, children in the name of "revolution". This further makes the point for me that it is far easier to rail against the "system" from afar, than it is to call out those around you in the name of short-term political expediency.
Meanwhile, the abuses continues and the kids whose last name is Africa are the ones who pay the price of people’s indifference.
The African-American media outlets has mostly given MOVE a complete pass when it comes to their children. "Journalist", Linn Washington in particular, seems capable of only touting the MOVE party line as he regales the current crop of MOVE apologists with his regurgitation the cult’s stories of martyrdom that are so transparently one-sided that one has to seriously question his dedication to his profession.
The black-owned Philadelphia Tribune, of which for a time MOVE had a column in the 1970's, has apparently not had time within their thirty years or so of coverage to do much in the way of investigation into the treatment of MOVE children. Instead they go for the predictable, formulaic, tales of MOVE "oppression" by the authorities, while ignoring the "oppression" that goes on right in front of their face.
Black radio stations are no better in this regard. I remember going to the now former WHAT 1340 AM, with Ramona Africa as she did two shows in a row, on one of the anniversary’s of May 13th 1985, as the hosts lobbed soft-ball questions that likely left anyone listening with the impression that Mrs. Africa was one in a long line of persecuted freedom-fighters in the lineage of women like Sorjuner Truth. And while I was only in personal attendance for this particular appearance, I did listen when I could to the station and found that the soft-ball format with regards to MOVE was the norm.
As best as I can tell, the same invertebrate formula is being employed at the sole remaining African-American radio-station with a talk-radio oriented format. I recall, back in May, when Jamal’s appeal was being heard before the Third Circuit one of the morning hosts on WURD commenting that if he were in some kind of struggle that he would want "Pam Africa on his side".
On has to wonder whether or not MOVE’s former neighbors on Osage Avenue, or the family of John Gilbride, Daniel Faulkner, or James Ramp would concur with that sentiment.
It is that kind of moral blindness and historical ignorance that is enabling MOVE to go on with the abuse of children.
But, more than those peripherally involved with MOVE, it is those close to the group that are the worst in this situation. One can expect members and leaders of an authoritarian cult to behave accordingly, but those who are not in the "inner circle" and who remain silent in the face of this abuse are the most repugnant.
I, myself, was once in this latter category, and I still feel a sense of residual guilt as I recall the vile secrets of MOVE that I kept to myself, or even worse, made excuses for.
While I am not in the habit of presuming what historical figures might think of a modern situation, but it is probably not a tremendous leap of faith to think that the black freedom-fighters like Frederick Douglas might have a problem with what MOVE does with it’s mostly African-American children. After all, we all know that many people gave their lives so that black people could have the freedom to read and write, not to speak of the right to vote and speak freely. To have a cult in modern day America not only take these freedoms for granted, but actively work to deprive the children in their midst the most basic of human rights is a tragedy, and one that all people, regardless of their political proclivities, should unequivocally denounce.