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The REAL Eddie Africa
[col. writ. 1/28/17] ©'17 Mumia Abu-Jamal
For most people, if you mention the words, "MOVE Organization", it elicits profoundly negative connotations, driven principally by negative coverage by the corporate media. In fact, most people have never met a MOVE person, and whatever opinion they possess is based on media projections, not real knowledge.
Today, you will hear a MOVE member, Eddie Africa, a survivor of the MOVE Confrontation of August 8, 1978, when police attacked the MOVE House at 33rd and Powelton West Philadelphia. Eddie was one of 9 MOVE members arrested there and sentenced to an unjust 30-to-100 year sentence in connection with the death of a cop, who was part of the invasion force that attacked the house.
For over the last decade Eddie has counseled young prisoners both formally and informally in how to avoid the trap of prison: especially children in prison.
[Eddie Africa]: ".Ah that's that's good, because that's one of the points I was trying to make--children his age are just starting to step out on their own or think for themselves, but a lot of em are doing it without any kind of advice or guidance from their father. Because their father is in here. Too many of them, their fathers are in here."
Eddie looks at some of the young prisoners who adopt bad ideas:
[Eddie Africa]: "And a lot of these guys, when they come in here, they put the idea of their children to the side, and they tell themselves 'I'm gonna wait until I get out.' But we're trying to stop that.
Eddie is a warm, funny compassionate man, who, at nearly 70 years of age, is a magnet for young men who need guidance along the right path. Eddie explains to young fathers how to be with their kids:
[Eddie Africa]: "Use this time to be with them, you know talking to them, writing to them. Hopefully it will help and teach so of these young guys so they don't go the path their parents went.
"I'll be watching the news and my last 4 or 5 cell partners were all people who were in gangs. So I'm getting plenty of opportunity to speak with em and hopefully to discourage them from that so that they'll think about doing something A little more positive than being in a gang and running around acting crazy. But it's just a matter of you give them respect and then you can demand it. You know what I mean? A lot of older guys, they don't want to talk to the younger guys, and that's a mistake."
For 38 years Eddie Africa has been in prison, and such time could've made him a bitter, nasty man.
In this, it has failed.
He has been a resource to help young men center themselves on their families, on their children, on the future, not the past.
That's the Real Eddie Africa-of the MOVE Organization. From in prison nation this is Mumia Abu-Jamal. These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.