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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Guyana Finally Finds The Time "Ripe" To Officially Recognize People's Temple Cult Mass Murder Victims

It was over before anyone knew it. And long, long overdue.

The unannounced ceremony this past November 18th was as simple as the white stone plaque they erected at the Guyanese jungle clearing.

It's taken far too long for Guyana's government to officially recognize the Crime of the Century that took place in their impoverished nation more than three decades ago. The stigma, however, seems to have finally lifted with the passing of enough years.

"We think the time is now ripe for some sort of memorial to remember those who died as 31 years have passed and the wound is not so raw," said Indranauth Haralsingh, the director of the Guyana Tourism Authority. "There should be something to remember them as people do come."

"In memory of the victims of the Jonestown tragedy, November 18, 1978, Jonestown, Guyana"

That's the memorial's sole inscription, just as it reads on Oakland's Evergreen Cemetery tombstone (with the added words "Guyana Emergency Relief Committee") where over 400 Jonestown victims are buried.

Since the 30th anniversary of the massacre, the Evergreen site now has an emerging memorial wall of names of all the dead, save one, mass murderer Jim Jones--which has been some of the surviving relatives' vocal point for controversy.

"I hope," said U.S. Embassy charge d'affairs Karen Williams, who helped unveil the Guyana's Jonestown Memorial, "that this simple and very reverent service today and monument will serve to help heal those wounds in both of our nations."


Interesting perspective, Madam Charge D'affairs.

Far more ethical and forthright would have been to come clean with her employer's disgraceful derelection of duty in the lead-up to the clearly avoidable massacre that cost over 900 lives, including Rep. Leo Ryan, the only congressman in history to die--senselessly--in the line of duty.

Ryan had had five, count 'em, five briefings provided by that useless and duplicitious State Department prior to this extremely dangerous rescue mission, which not one single other member of Congress had the guts to accompany. With all the testimony about people in the Guyana Gulag being held prisoner, being tortured, and threatened with murder, Ryan requested that some critically needed straight answers be provided by those bumbling bureaucrats.

"Nonsense." That was what that oh-so conscientious, competent State Department told the doomed congressman regarding the peril he was about to enter.

And nothing more.

They deliberately sat on the critical information that would have saved Ryan, his delegation, and surely the rest of the Jonestown cult captives.

So as with the journalists, clergy, and American & Guyanese politicians in the Cast Of Shameless Wonders that enabled Jim Jones and his cult mafia to run amok, our U.S. Dept. of State also has plenty of blood on its hands.

And like their reprehensible cohorts, it's a sure bet that "State" will never, ever owe up to its appalling guilt. Thank you, Ms. Williams, for clarifying that for all of us.

Staboek News, an independent Guyanese newspaper, published this observation by one of the country's political parties on the day their memorial was erected:

"The Working People’s Alliance (WPA) says while the public continues to be baffled by the events that led to the Jonestown disaster, it was important to note that the tragedy could have been avoided if not for political interference in the judicial process....

....The WPA said while questions continue to arise about the purpose of the Temple, what is clear is that Jim Jones and his group were allowed to establish a settlement by the PNC [People's National Congress] government in Guyana’s interior and there was little governmental oversight of the operations of that organisations. It is also clear that the Temple 'had acquired considerable influence among certain political officials in the then government who among other things, attempted to influence the course of justice.'

The WPA said the action by then minister of home affairs Vibert Mingo to get Justice Aubrey Bishop [pictured here] to reverse his decision that Jones 'must appear and give evidence in the Baby Stoen case' that had been engaging his attention, is just one example. Jones ignored the judge’s order, the WPA said, adding that perhaps the outcome at Jonestown might have been different if Justice Bishop’s order had been heeded...."

Albert Einstein once wrote that the world is a dangerous place "not because of the people who are evil but because of the people who don't do anything about it.”

Sound social insight from a legendary scientist. It perfectly compliments the other plague: People that knowingly aid and abet evil in its most heinous forms.

On the 25th anniversary of the massacre, Guyanese pilot Capt. Gerry Gouveia made a crude but very reality show-like series of videos of his and a small group's journey into what remains of Jonestown. He might very well be the Guyanese reality show star, considering what he personally witnessed in 1978 and later found in this intriguing look at a notorious killing field that today is devoured by merciless jungle.

The Guyana Tourism Authority, despite the government's new memorial, continues to refuse the proposal to develop the place as a tourism attraction. Perhaps it might come in future years, if the country gets cash-strapped enough.

Let's just pray that they make very, very sure that the cult apologists don't get their paws on the plans should the project ever come to fruition.

Think of the possibilities, and then help yourself to a nice long shudder.

Stanley Nelson's stomach-churning apologist film would look positively honest by comparison.

It would bring new meaning to historic fiction and revisionism. Think of the fantasy & fairy tales that would make up a visitor's center sponsored by the Jonestown Institute.

And instead of a watching it on DVD or reading about it in one of Becky Moore's Temple Tall Tales books--the latest which I'm going to review very soon--you could pay homage to all the "good works" of the cult "pioneers" that blazed a path shimmering with fraud, extortion, slave labor, and child torture.

Better scenario: Let it be administered by genuine historians. And by authentic survivor testimony.

Allow bona fide facts, not embellishments and half-truths, to tell the real story.

Jonestown, like any of the world's other resurrected gulags, should be revealed to tourists in all its true horrifying colors.

"Conditions at Jonestown were even worse than I had feared they would be. The settlement was swarming with armed guards. No one was permitted to leave unless on a special assignment and these assignments were given only to the most trusted. We were allowed to associate with Guyanese people only while on a "mission".

The vast majority of the Temple members were required to work in the fields from 7 A.M. to 6 P.M. six days per week and on Sunday from 7 A.M. to 2 P.M. We were allowed one hour for lunch. Most of this hour was spent walking back to lunch and standing in line for our food. Taking any other breaks during the workday was severely frowned upon.

The food was woefully inadequate. There was rice for breakfast, rice water soup for lunch, and rice and beans for dinner. On Sunday, we each received an egg and a cookie. Two or three times a week we had vegetables. Some very weak and elderly members received one egg per day. However, the food did improve markedly on the few occasions when there were outside visitors.

In contrast, Rev. Jones, claiming problems with his blood sugar, dined separately and ate meat regularly. He had his own refrigerator which was stocked with food. The two women with whom he resided, Maria Katsaris and Carolyn Layton, and the two small boys who lived with him, Kimo Prokes and John Stoen, dined with the membership. However, they were in much better physical shape than everyone else since they were also allowed to eat the food in Rev. Jones' refrigerator...."
--Debra Layton Blakely

No doubt that our Alternative Considerations of Jonestown apologists can put a mind-controlling spin on this "utopian community," as they've proven repeatedly in the popular media.

Let's just say no to them this time.


Hei Hu Quan said...

Thanks Tom for being one of the very, very few people dedicated to setting this record straight. You are absolutely correct as well, with each passing year assaults are made on the truth of this crime. The main stream media are all too accommodating to even dare have the accomplices speak for the victims who are otherwise voiceless.

Tom Kinsolving said...

Appreciate the feedback, Quan. And it continues to still amaze me how complicit our mass media is in The Grand Coverup, embellishing or outright concealing the misdeeds of all the power brokers that elevated Jim Jones and his organized crime cult. Everyone (the latest is a senate jackass named Barbour) loves to toss around the "Drinkin' The Koolaid" quip but couldn't give a damn about the scandalous origins of this Crime of the Century.
One day, we hope, the public at large will finally be disabused of the manure they've been fed.
Then the cult apologists will crawl back under their rock, taking with them all their twisted revisionism.

Anonymous said...

I congratulate, this magnificent idea is necessary just by the way

Ken Banks said...

Very much appreciated aspects of your blog and the contribution to the history of the event. In watching the recent MSNBC it was also another whitwash of the events.

Through my own reasearch I found your site.

I am also amazed how another apologist hue fortson continues to profit from his involvement and always describes the services in a positive manner never talking about the beatings and the other events that had to have been occuring from the beginning.