Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Report Back - the MOVE Talk

Ramona Africa and her colleague visited Bristol on the 2nd July as part of a European speaking tour. She introduced herself as the minister for information of the group MOVE (note, MOVE is not an acronym, but a greeting to fellow members as in, 'on a MOVE' ) The evening began with a showing of a documentary about the group and its struggles narrated by Howard Zinn. The documentary is a shocking account of the brutality of the police – one stark example is when the police, after denials of brutality, are caught on camera surrounding and beating an unarmed MOVE member. Following the pubic revelation of the film footage, the head of the police union asserts (on camera) that if the cops had simply killed, rather then beaten him, then they would not be in this mess at all.

Ramona takes up this theme following the video, “You call the police when you are under attack, but who do you call when its the police that are attacking?” She asked the audience, “They say that police brutality is just a few bad apples, when when things like this happen time after time you find yourself asking, where are all the good apples?” She then talked about the ideas of MOVE – that move believes in life and freedom. She talked about life; that move protested wherever life was 'caged' from zoos to care homes with unsafe conditions. Another example she gave was how MOVE used to compost their vegetable waste – back in the early 70s they were derided as 'nasty' for this, now widespread practice. She talked about freedom; about MOVE's belief that when you give responsibility to officials, you give away your purpose. She talked about self-defense and differentiated it from violence. She said all living things had the instinct for self- defense in one form or another and MOVE refused to give this instinct away. She talked about then when MOVE refused to back down to the police violence they had often won concessions such as the freeing of MOVE members from jail. In regard freedom she talked about the difference between 'legal' and 'right' – that the system confused us into thinking that legal = right when in MOVE's view it did not always match. She reminded the audience that slavery was once 'legal', but that it was never 'right'. She talked about the system as a whole – that in MOVE's view the system is sick – that is is any surprise the rocketing rate of respiratory disorders and cancer when we poison the food and the air? She ended in a call for global solidarity from Chiapas to Bristol to Iraq everywhere in defense of life and freedom.

PS. The Kebele cafe on the 1st July raised £120 to assist the MOVE tour and the film night added a further £65 to this – thanks to all who supported the event!

PPS. You can help the 9 MOVE people still in jail by going here; to find out more!

No comments: