Monday, November 9, 2009
Jonestown Massacre Memorial Wall: "Something is Wrong!"
Another anniversary of that senseless, horrific day of slaughter is crawling towards us again.
Last year's 30th Remembrance at Oakland's Evergreen Cemetery saw the unveiling of two black granite panels of what was promised to eventually be a 36 foot-long stone wall with the names of all the victims. A year has passed and the question remains:
Where are rest of the panels?
What's more, will they show all the names?
Can you just imagine having those Jonestown assassins carved in granite right next to the men, women, children, and babies they brutally murdered??
Would you like to see names like Sharon Amos, the bestial Temple executioner that slit the throats of her two young children? Or any of the monstrous guards and Temple inner circle, such as Carolyn and Annie Moore, who personally orchestrated the cyanide mass murder of their "suicide" targets?
There are still some voices of furious discord amongst the relatives of the Jonestown victims, who continue to question the management of the memorial wall construction, currently overseen by Jynona Norwood, a Los Angeles evangelist who lost 27 family members in the Guyana bloodbath.
Less than a month after last year's memorial, an anonymous reader "Confused and Getting Upset" wrote to the Apologists Alert:
"How are the marble panels going to be secured at the Oakland cemetery? It was brought out on a tracker, so the weight must be over a ton. It was beautiful, but left me thinking: How the ground is going to handle the weight? Also, I have donated money to that fund and after 27 years of collecting money, why is $70,000 more still needed to complete the wall?
There is a website called 'The Miracle Wall.' On the site, Jynona Norwood claims to be a "prophet" and predicted Jonestown (if so, why didn't she do something about it?), the Iraqi war and Princess Diana's death....
I am starting to feel uncomfortable about this.
The original focus is being lost and celebrity is sought. Jones said he was a 'healer' and 'prophet.' Now Norwood is claiming to be the same charlatan, who passes around a collection bucket after the ceremony at the cemetery? I was literally sickened and walked away.
The wall in Oakland is designed to include the names of known killers?
They killed! They killed! They killed! Their names should not be on the wall!
I am outraged! It is not right! Their names next to they those killed?!
How can this be stopped? I don't want my money used for this.
I think you or your dad need to really look into this!
Something is wrong!"
Last November, this blog reported the brewing controversy. Norwood demanded that only the most notorious name should be left off the wall, while some of her other detractors insisted that all, killers and victims alike, be featured. The excerpt:
"Jones was not a victim," said Norwood, "To me, that's like putting Hitler's name on a memorial to the Holocaust."
It's clear, however, that her sentiment is not shared by all the relatives and survivors, including Lela Howard, who lost an aunt in Jonestown and had contacted the Apologist Alert late last year. She has publicly questioned Norwood's accounting of memorial funds (See "Division and Controversy Roils Construction of Jonestown Memorial," January 4, 2008 post.)
But that's not all. Howard's rival group of survivors unveiled their own memorial plaque at the ceremony, bearing all the names of the dead, including a vicious sociopath named James Warren Jones. They've arranged to have the plaque displayed at San Francisco's African American Historical and Cultural Society.
Norwood said she intends to inscribe the names of the Temple assassins that murdered Congressman Leo Ryan, three journalists, a defector, and shot 11 others (including Ryan's aide, Jackie Speier, who now holds his Congressional seat) at the Port Kaituma Airstrip.
But not Jones. Not ever. "To put Jim Jones's name on that wall is an insult ... to all the dead," she said. "He was the most evil man who walked on this earth."
Not so, says the man that carries his name, who survived the bloodbath with his bothers, thanks to a basketball tournament in Guyana's capital city, Georgetown. Jim Jones, Jr. sides with the Howard faction. "The tragedy is we're villainizing Jim Jones," said the cult leader's adopted son. "Jim Jones was also a victim, of his own madness. We need to memorialize all the bodies, as a great loss."
Other victims of their own hyper pathology include a pair of notables that Father Jones in his early years studied voraciously to learn the finer techniques of sadism, power, and mind control.
His cult of personality ended up fitting like an iron glove and crushing like a charm.