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Friday, January 4, 2008

Division And Controversy Roils Construction of Jonestown Memorial Wall

Dr. Jynona Norwood with son, the Rev. Ed Norwood, at Jonestown Memorial Service, Evergreen Cemetery, where controversial wall is planned.

Before sharing the inside story of a People's Temple child who would lose his mother to the cult in California--long before the cyanide mass murder in Guyana--I'd like to share this most recent message from Lela Howard, subject of the last posting.

She first asked me some direct questions, and then followed up with some even more pointed inquiry and outright criticism of the current status quo of the memorial wall project. First, her questions to me:

Q: "Are you concerned with the victims and how their families feel about Peoples Temple, the media's spin on the tragedy and how we (family) have been treated over the years?"

A: Quite obviously I am concerned, and that is why this blog came to be. I'm both saddened and outraged. Sad for the men, women, and children that fell victim to cult enslavement, one of those super destructive cults that resulted in mass murder. The media's "spin", as I've repeatedly said, is deceptive and deplorable. They owe you a voice, not a twisted echo.

Q: "Are you concerned about those family and survivors who are still so afraid to speak about Peoples Temple or their relatives who perished, because of the salacious, scandalous manner the media, press, etc., has made a joke out of the deaths?"

A: Any of them, from bottom feeding shock jocks like Howard Stern to glib, ignorant news reporters, who would make "fun" out of a mass murder, deserve censure. This is why it is so important to educate the public about the dynamics of how cults DESTROY independent spirit, thought, action, and defenseless children.

Q: "Are you more concerned with getting those who disassociated themselves after giving Jim Jones the power to create Jonestown, acquire the poison and allow him to rise to 'fame'? Because if so, those individuals are still around the political circuit and have not (to my knowledge) answered the tough questions. (Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they never fathomed the horrors of November 18, 1978 and probably feel loads of guilt.)"

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown reacted to the news of the mass murder of over 900 people that "he has not regrets" over his past association with Jones and the People's Temple. Brown also mentioned he would not try to dissociate himself like so many other politicians were, claiming "They all like to say, 'Forgive me, I was wrong', but that's bulls--t. It doesn't mean a thing now, it just isn't relevant."

A: Such a sizable, sleazy population of culprits, Lela. Temple Untouchables like politician Willie Brown, preacher John Moore, and Examiner editor Charles Gould played important parts in the reckless creation of the Jim Jones Frankenstein. All the cult cheer leaders still with us clearly have neither the morality or courage to publicly admit to their aiding & abetting. They refuse to apologize to you, and all the other relatives who lost their loved ones. Don't let them forget that you know they're still hiding in their vast swamp of denial.

Lela then opened up about the impending memorial wall, and some deep concerns (which today's media, surprise, surprise--has ignored.)

"A memorial wall at Oakland cemetery is great!" she wrote, "But I thought money was collected for that many years ago--what happened to those funds? It seems as if there's an unnecessary competition in regards to memorials for the victims, which takes away from the focal point of remembering them.

This makes me very sad and confused, because this separates us or leans towards a school yard 'choosing sides' type of mentality, instead of family and survivors coming together and honoring our loved ones. It's more about the living and their egos, rather than those who perished...very, very, very sad.

The latter I understand you can't answer, or maybe you can....ask around, use your platform to correct the wrong and continuous wrong doings."

The current wall project is being administered by the "Cherishing The Children/Guyana Tribute Foundation," headed by Dr. Jynona Norwood, who is CEO. Norwood, pictured at the beginning of this post, lost 27 family members in the massacre.

"Although the donations have come in slowly over the years," says Norwood on her official website, "the monies, which remain in escrow for the Cherishing the Children Healing Memorial Wall,
still continue to gain interest. Senator Dianne Feinstein appointed the late police psychologist, Dr. Chris Hatcher, to the surviving families for counseling.

Dr. Hatcher became the first signature on the memorial wall bank account, along with former Human Rights Commissioner, Rev. Eugene Lumpkin. Rev. Lumpkin was appointed by then-Mayor Frank Jordan as our liaison to San Francisco City Hall. Dr. Hatcher and Rev. Lumpkin joined me as we opened the Jonestown Memorial Wall Fund with our own money.

We have always had four signatures on our bank account. Also, it is mandatory that two signatures are required in order to remove any funds from the account. The Jonestown Memorial Wall Fund account is always available for public viewing.

We are not a part of any other groups who are collecting monies for any type of memorial in the name of the Jonestown victims.

The staff remains vigilant in their efforts to erect the wall, which will have a three-fold purpose: To honor the sanctity of the innocent lives that were lost; to raise public awareness that you never give up your ability to think for yourself; and to question everyone and everything!"


Rose said...

Don't forget Tim Stoen, still around in political circles, runs for office. persecutes his opponents as Assistant DA of Humboldt County - he's more guilty than Willie Brown. (not that Brown should be off the hook)

Tom Kinsolving said...

No, there's never forgetting DA ("Destructive Attorney") Timmy. I will still give Stoen credit for his belated apology to my father, for having sabotaged him as he tried to stop Jim Jones in California when there was still time--while everyone else either sat passively or applauded the cult that would die. (Stanley Nelson really ought to explain just why he covered this up in his "documentary".) Nevertheless, Stoen's apology was painfully truncated. Sure, I suppose he could have saved making the amends for election & welfare fraud for another letter. But he still needs to come clean about his murder plots against my father. Which is why I continue to wonder if just maybe our aspiring office holder Stoen's "mea culpa" evolved from the parti pris of political expediency rather than his trumpeted spiritual salvation. His continued practice in gutter law, like his former boss Humboldt County D.A. Paul Gallegos, would seem to comfirm this.

Rose said...

Yep - I maintain that he found a new Jim Jones in Paul Gallegos, and a new "cause" and some of the same kinds of dirty tricks started showing up - I don't think the man has changed. So your Lela is right on.

Anonymous said...

Tom, while I fully agree with you on most what you write, it would add to your credibility, if you would not leave statements by Scientology uncommented, as you have done in your Monday, January 1, 2007 comment section.

Tom Kinsolving said...

I appreciate the imput, "Anonymous". However, if you take a close look at the context of the statement, you'll see it was the Scientologists' glowing review of ex-Temple fruitcake Laurie Kahalas's book, "Snake Dance", which is being promoted on Rebecca Moore's website. It's no surprise, either, because these cult bunko artists cling together like laundry lint. And when a book like Kahalas's spreads the word that the Guyana Gulag was in fact "a credit to humanity," well, hey, Becky and Big Mac could hardly refuse it a spotlight.

Anonymous said...

At the time of the massacre, Jones and his lieutenants were raking in over $60,000 per month from social security and ADC payments from California and Indiana.

Panning a camera across all the compliant faces of all those old people and playing children in Guyana, and calling the scene "paradise" is akin to panning a camera across a bunch of bank patrons clutching their heads and trying to crawl under the counters while masked men steal their money, and calling it an "impromptu nap." What a peaceful scene indeed.

Tom Kinsolving said...

One wouldn't expect anything less than peace & harmony in just about all those scenes in Stanley Nelson's apologist film. Becky Moore's website, which served as gospel to Stan's docuganda, is unabashed about trying to more than sanitize the cesspool of Temple mafia enterprises.
She and her crony "Mac" ask and answer their own questions regarding the social security and welfare fraud that was a critical factor in building Jones's criminal empire.
"The short answer is no," goes their reply to both issues, followed by the same colossal servings of obfuscation manure you'll get throughout their Temple Lullaby.
Sadly, too many people are still being deluded by her, Nelson, and others in the cult apologist sideshow. But sometimes the struggle to liberate the truth takes time.
Keep on speaking out.

Anonymous said...

There are so many layers of bullshit in this story. First, the unmitigated nonsense of getting people to believe in a socialist utopia where everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others. That pack of lies is always about enslaving people. Always. Witness the $5 per week Chinese slaves working 20 hour days making cheap stuff for fat Americans to buy at Wal-Mart.

Yeah, that turned out great.

Then there are all the apologists. They are a mystery to me. Maybe they are in on the take. Maybe they are actually very anti-religious, and want religion and savage conartistry, child abuse and felonious thievery to sort of meld together, in the hope that it the only hope they have of killing religion. That is a very real possibility. Maybe they are just so well sold on the utopian bullshit that they can't let go.

One thing is absolutely true. They claim you are dishonor the memory of all those old people and children, and that they alone honor them. But the exact opposite is the truth. Les Kinsolving really cared about Jonestown and the folks who got ensnared into it. The apologists who claim to honor those poor people never cared about them then, and they don't give a damn about them now.

Anonymous said...

I live in Guyana and not only have People's Temple members been the butt of Kool-Aid jokes so has my country.

Anyone who feels Jones alone was responsible this tragedy is delusional, Rebecca Moore's sisters, Maria Katsaris, Sharon Amos and all of his inner circle were enablers and are equally responsible, they fed his delusions and it is my opinion that instead of stopping the madness that ensued, they actively encouraged it