Mumia Helps To Make My Point
(Pic of Frank Africa)
As a MOVE supporter, I recall the late Frank Africa (MOVE's Naturalist Minister) telling me about seeing guys fighting pit bulls in West Philly's Cobbs Creek Park. Frank would challenge them to fight him instead of the dogs. (He didn't find a lot of takers)
-The Vick Kick, by Mumia Abu-Jamal
Sign The Petition To Keep The MOVE 9 In Prison!
The above quote comes from one of Jamal’s recent commentaries from death-row. This particular piece by Mumia purportedly tackles the controversy surrounding Michael Vick and the scourge of dogfighting. However, in doing so, Jamal inadvertently ends up underscoring one of the essential points about MOVE that I have been attempting to make for the last couple of years.
It should be known by now that MOVE, is not, in the eloquent words of Pam Africa, "motherfucking pacifists"
However, it should be noted that there is a fine line between self-defense and aggression. And while MOVE’s rhetoric throughout the years has often been rife with references to the sect’s beliefs concerning self-defense, the distinction between these beliefs and the reality of MOVE can not be overstated.
Frank Africa, whose life ended when he joined his Uncle, John Africa, in his suicide-by-cop scheme that resulted in the deaths of 11 people had a particularly violent role within the group.
Having been partially raised by John Africa, Frank was as devoted as anyone could possibly be to MOVE’s leader. There are plenty of stories about Frank like the one that Mumia mentioned in his article that reference violence. In MOVE, Frank played the part of a physical antagonist who would not only take on dog fighters, but also his own mother.
Prior to May 13th 1985 when Frank’s mother, Louise James, left the group, she ended up abandoning her home on Osage Avenue. It would be this home that would end up the fortified fortress constructed by John Africa and his minions. Desperate to try and get her son away from MOVE because she knew that a violent confrontation was in the works, she reached out to the police for help.
According to media reports and the book "Burning Down The House", Louise James was subjected to vicious emotional and physical abuse at the hands of MOVE members, including her own son.
She reportedly told authorities that during one of MOVE’s corrective "meetings" that John Africa had her own son beat her to the point that she vomited and than he covered her face with a pillow. According to Louise, Frank asked John Africa if he wanted his mother "cycled" (MOVE-speak for killed). "No, not now," was the response. In yet another violent incident with his mother, Frank was seen chasing his mom down the street with a hatchet.
Yet despite these acts, other physical altercations with neighbors on Osage Avenue, as well as a warrant issued for his arrest, Frank was never able to be taken into custody. This because, he kept himself in MOVE’s secretive web until his own violent tendencies morphed into suicidal ones and he ended up dead along with the living god he worshiped.
Within MOVE, Frank is a legend. The stories of his physical prowess and courage against the "system" are held up as the standard to be emulated, although for obvious reasons his more domestic conflicts are kept as more of MOVE’s macabre secrets. In MOVE, if you are compared to Frank Africa you are recieving the highest of compliments.
And it is not just adults who are encouraged to be a part of the Frank Africa legacy. You cannot talk about MOVE without talking about what they do to the children in their midst.
I can recall quite vividly while still technically "in" MOVE being at a park directly across the street with some MOVE members and their children. One of the "seeds of wisdom" as John Africa called the youth of the cult approached us excitedly on his bike recounting an incident he had with another child on the playground.
It seems that one of the kids playing at the park made the mistake of killing some ants in the presence of this particular child of MOVE, and because he wouldn’t stop doing it, was shoved to the ground. Instead of chastising the child, who was not more than 5 or 6 years old for pushing another child to the ground, possibly hurting him, he was rewarded. His "parents" told him how good it was that he had stood up and protected "life" from the "perverts". It is worth mentioning that the term "pervert" is MOVE-speak for any and everybody not committed to the group.
So in addition to teaching their children that violence is the proper way to stop people from doing something they don’t want them to, they are also teaching these kids them that they are superior to other children and even adults outside of the cult. Quite a departure from their supposed egalitarian ideals don’t you think?
I would contend that MOVE’s assertion that all life is "equal" does not lead towards increased sensitivity towards the sentient beings of the world, but instead negates the value of human life.
After all, if the life of a cockroach is no more important than a person, than how hard is it to convince somebody that it is ok to crush a human being like you would a bug?
This is just another way in which MOVE abuses the children in their care. They teach them violence as a way to settle disputes at the park while telling them they are better than everybody else in the world. And while this is much more subtle than the brutality of the forced impregnation of barely teenage girls, it is still corrosive and detrimental.
With MOVE members extolling these "virtues" so fervently to their young, it will not at all come as a shock to me to find that the group’s three decade reign of terror will be continued.