“In Memory of May 13th.”
In a matter of hours, the calendar will ring in May 13th, and it will mark the 35th year since the massacre on Mother’s Day, 1985, when police armed with military weapons bombed a house in Southwest Philadelphia known by neighbors as the MOVE house. In the smoldering embers of the aftermath, 11 men, women, and children would be dead, martyrs of the MOVE organization.
The only person to be criminally prosecuted for this catastrophe would be Ramona Africa, who barely escaped dying in the house, her arms permanently scarred by the red [inaudible] of fire that bit her as she left the building, only to enter prison for the next 7 years. The bombers, the cops? They got pay raises, promotions, and pensions for bombing a home and the burning of over 60 houses.
In a matter of hours, the city’s first Black mayor, Wilson Goode, now a preacher, will apologize and ask his city to do the same. The city’s once-DA, Eddie Rendell, now protests the long draconian sentences that MOVE members were given, despite the fact that, as governor, he was fully empowered to reduce their sentences during his 8 year stint, and did nothing.
The carnage of May 13th, 1985 wasn’t just another Philadelphia story. It flashed across the nation, and leaped literally around the world to tell the story of carnage everywhere in the world.
Right-wing repressive forces and figures like former LAPD Chief Daryl Gates, hailed the action, calling Goode his hero, and it ushered in an era of repression that was enshrined in the phenomenon of mass incarceration. With today millions under lock and key, that era, that energy, need to be repudiated once and for all.
From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
[Sound of prison door clanking open.]
These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.
[Sound of prison door slamming shut.]