The real story behind Mumia abu Jamal’s death row saga, and the Move 9.
Mumia and the Move 9, conjures up two images, Victims of racism, who heroically are resisting their victimization, or crafty, guilty prisoners who are skillfully using the media to weasel out of their justly deserved punishment. I think both Mumia and Move could better be described as eco-prisoners even though they never torched any homes being constructed in the wilderness. Move thought that by proving one could live in the middle of a city without relying on civilization, the people driving by gapping would eventually wake of to the fact that civilization was enslaving them and would join them. At one point when a man with dreadlocks would walk past a mostly black elementary school, the kids would run to the fence shouting “on the Move” so Move’s challenge to civilization wasn’t total delusion.
It is claimed that Philadelphians want Mumia and Move punished, vs overwhelming local oppression is silencing Mumia supporters. Actually most Philadelphia’s think it’s best to avoid talking about the above so as not to create any more racial tension, this gets spun by capital punishment advocates into locals want them punished.
I find something extremely ironic in the argument over whether Mumia and Move is fighting racism or spreading it. Vincent Leaphart was part of an interracial couple, and fighting or spreading racism was the last thing on his mind either before or after he thought he conversed with an ancient spirit he refereed to as John Africa. Before he met or thought he met John Africa, Vincent spent a lot of time listening to classical music and wearing sharp clean clothing which interfered with his employment as an on-call handyman. One day with or without the help of John Africa he decided he was a total slave to civilization, which had somehow convinced him that in order to be important he had to prove he was better than those around him. He then set out to free the rest of us slaves from our bondage. He opposed all isms communism, capitalism, racism etc as delusions civilization uses to divide us from our fellow creatures, both people and animals.
At this point I guess I should say who I am. I lived on Winter Street near where Move used to have their first house and car wash. I met Mumia at Community underground newspaper where us volunteers were flabbergasted that a real reporter and commentator actually joined our staff. I am a recovering Luddite, at first very scared of such things as computers. As a child dreamed of being a forest ranger, and spent most of my life doing janitorial work, and am now amazed that I am actually enslaved by a d—- computer screen. At one point tried to be an eco-pacifist but was scared that if I didn’t let the exterminator in I would be evicted. But on later visits by the exterminator actively betrayed my fellow creatures by telling the exterminator to spray under the refrigerator. So I actually wishfully honor Move’s original desire not to betray the neighborhood rats.
Back to the subject when Move was evicted a police officer was shot by friendly fire. Nine Move residents were convicted of third degree murder in the same spirit that an arsonist is convicted of murder if a firefighter accidentally gets killed by a fellow firefighter. Two residents who refuteated Move were freed without charges, and one was given a lesser sentence for inconsistent statements. Is this the opposite or similar to Afghanistan where one is punished for becoming a Christian? Anyway 30 to 100 years is the longest sentence ever for third degree murder.
Twelve years later Mumia abu Jamal was under intense pressure to stop reporting the Move story. Officially Move members were serving in solitary confinement for refusing to get a haircut, unofficially a lot more was going on. Several weeks or perhaps over a month after police stormed his mother’s high rise public housing apartment, and in front of her neighbors urged that her son stop reporting the Move story, a badly wounded Mumia allegedly ran up to Officer Faulkner and point blank shot the officer again, than staggered back to where he was first shot to collapse into unconsciousness on the curb. The police witnesses claim a man up close fired repeatedly into the officer. (Though only one, up close, bullet reached its target.) Mumia’s brother said that his friend Poppy or Ken Freeman shot the officer than ran away, not noting the up close shot. Ken was some weeks later arrived the emergency room dead, nude, and in handcuffs. Whatever did, or did not happen, this was the vaguest definition of premeditated murder ever affirmed by the Supreme Court.
That’s all except for a few tidbits. Move believes we should all live as Mother nature intended. To Move haters this means they must be anti-gay. If so, jail for life for inadvertent homophobia isn’t that different then punishment for being a Christian in Afghanistan. It is accused, that Move is a totally secret organization, where one member doesn’t know what the other member is doing. Without the hype this may boil down to the possibility that a drug addict after claiming to be cured by John Africa’s vision might have continued to do and deal drugs for a while. After a bitter custody fight John Gilbride who left Move was killed on his way to a custody visit. Conceivably his ex wife who was still in Move paid a police informer to keep her husband away from her child. Why don’t Move haters also demand the arrest of the police officials involved? If you search the web carefully enough you will find those who think the Dalai Lama is the head of a weird cult and that Falun Gong which is being executed by the Chinese is getting what they deserve. Others claim the US got what it deserved on 9/11 for telling the whole world how to behave. I think we should stop all this nonsense and learn how to get along with each other. Keeping Mumia and the Move 9 in jail is not part of the process of getting along.
I just can’t get over so many people in Philadelphia avoiding talking about Mumia and Move in order to avoid stirring up racism. I dream of some Tibetans, Southern Mexican peasants, American Indians, and some British Animal Right’s activists coming to Philadelphia to help Move out, but a lass I might as well dream that the rats residing in the first Move house would have kept out of sight of Move’s neighbors to allow this to be a better world. So that the kids that used to run to the school yard fence and shout “on the Move” would have actually grew up to not just being another rat in the rat race we are all part of.
Eddie Africa’s parole hearing is in the news because his 13 year-old grandson is circulating a partition to get his grandfather released.
Chuck or Charles Sims Africa’s, Vincent Leaphart’s nephew’s parole hearing got delayed six months. People all over the world can write the parole board especially starting in August 2008 in his behalf. Chuck’s, or Charles Sims Africa’s plea on behalf of dying prisons could get translated into other languages. His plea may eventually aid dying prisoners as far away as Tibet.
Parole contact info as of 05/16/08 at www.onamove.com but the web sight keeps changing so if it’s not their google or click
This is Charles Sims Africa’s plea to the world as I received it October 2007. Video at http://youtube.com/watch?v=0OfB0fjwbx0&feature=related
I write this letter to communicate a grave concern of mine and maybe yours once reading this.
A sea of apathy floods the cell blocks and corridors of Graterford State Prison as scores of elderly/terminally ill inmates are dying at a rapid and alarming pace. The mere fact of anybody dying is not remarkable by itself; but cold indifference can border on the inhumane when people capable of easing needless suffering fail to act. It is not my intent to suggest that there is a quick fix to a complex situation involving many individuals. However, I do know that there are certain men here who you have observed closely over the years that deserve to be released from this institution.
Counselors, Staffers, Administrators, Psychologists, Guards and Religious Authorities: You have all at various times interrelated with and gotten to know the character of many men here and you can make common sense evaluations and intelligent recommendations regarding this dire situation. Where there is clearly no valid reason pursuant to humanity to continue holding terminally ill men there should be alternatives. I realize that there are more priorities in the world that over shadow that of prisoners and this is not a call to lift the needs and concerns of prisoners above others; it is simply an attempt by me to shed light on a crisis here that requires special attention. Me expressing it with such urgency comes from the real fact that I watch Mr. Edward Williams (Abdullah Shah) AF-4687 wither away before me on A-Block. He is clearly ailing. And I’ve recently observed the late Jerry Mims’ last days as a walking dead man. Helpless and harmless. (1) The bulletin boards continue to announce more memorials as dead faces line the walls on an almost daily basis. Surely some of these men could’ve/can have a positive impact on the communities outside. There can never be enough wisdom out there that people can benefit from. Especially in the wake of the vicious streak of violence plaguing the inner cities.
Finally, while death is inevitable to us all, in here and out there; terminally ill men should at least get to spend their last days of breathing with family and friends. Along with this letter to prison officials I’m calling on all Ministers, Guards, Rabbis, Chaplains, Priests, and Imams to have the courage as men; the moral imperative as spiritual guides; and the willingness to adhere to your conscience as human beings and do what’s right: Put forth an intense effort to gain the release of some fathers and grandfathers who continue to languish in here unjustly (in every sense of the word) and without any more clear penological and rehabilitative purpose.
The months of April and May of this year alone have had more than twelve deaths.
Charles Sims Africa, AM-4975
(1) One of many who’ve succumbed to a terminal illness and is now deceased. And I have witnessed many other stricken men die in similar fashion between 2002-2007.
Cc: Philadelphia Tribune Newspaper;
Cc: Senator Shirley Kitchen, 1701 West Lehigh Ave., Phila, PA 19132
The Power of Truth is Final — Free Mumia!
International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone – 215-476-8812/ Fax – 215-476-6180
E-mail – email@example.com
Web – www.freemumia.com
AND OFFER YOUR SERVICES!
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