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Trump Is the Symptom, Not the Disease

Posted on May 14, 2017

By Chris Hedges

(Page 4)

“The fire department, who was out there from the very beginning, was immediately aware that there was a fire on our roof,” she said. “A conscious decision was made to not fight the fire. To let it burn. When we realized our home was on fire, we immediately tried to get our children, our animals, and ourselves out of that blazing inferno. The instant we were visible to cops we were met with a barrage of police gunfire aimed at us so that we couldn’t escape that fire. After several attempts to get out, I got out first. I was able to get one of our children, a little boy named Birdie, out. We were immediately snatched into custody. I’m looking for the rest of my family. Trying to see if I could see anyone else. It was a little later after they had taken us into custody that I found out nobody else [in the MOVE group] survived.”

Eleven members of MOVE, including the founder of the group, John Africa, and five children, were killed in the police assault.

“The people who killed my family were never charged, never prosecuted, never imprisoned for anything,” she said. “Meanwhile, my nine MOVE sisters and brothers [convicted in the 1978 shootout], Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier [a Native American activist imprisoned in a South Dakota murder case], all the way down to line, are in prison with the accusation of murder.”

Abu-Jamal wrote, “May 13th, 1985, is more than a day of infamy, when a city waged war on its own alleged citizens, but also when the city committed massacre and did so with perfect impunity, when babies were shot and burned alive with their mothers and fathers, and the killers rewarded with honors and pensions, while politicians talked and the media mediated mass murder. On that day, the city, armed and assisted by the US government, dropped a bomb on a house and called it law. The fire department watched buildings ignite like matches in the desert and cut off water. The courts of the land turned a blind eye, daubed mud in their socket, and prosecuted Ramona Africa for having the nerve to survive an urban holocaust, jailing her for the crime of not burning to death. Eleven men, women and children died, and not one killer was even charged with a misdemeanor.”


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Ramona Africa, charged with “rioting,” spent seven years in prison.

[For a 69-second video showing the bomb exploding on the Philadelphia compound roof in 1985, click here. For a 56-minute documentary about the assault on the compound and the circumstances surrounding it, click here.]

Our failure to defend those who are demonized and persecuted leaves us all demonized and persecuted. Our failure to demand justice for everyone leaves us all without justice. Our failure to halt the crushing of popular movements that stand unequivocally with the oppressed leaves us all oppressed. Our failure to protect our democracy leaves us without a democracy. The persecution of Mumia Abu-Jamal, MOVE members and all the radicals of four decades ago is not ancient history. It is the genesis of the present. It spawned the corporate coup and the machinery of state terror. We will pay for our complacency.

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