Incarceration Nation

Feeding the Beast:  The Media and the MOVE Wars

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

“The Beast” was the name of a short-lived TV show, starring a talented actor, Frank Langella, that perhaps lasted little more than a season.

Although Langella was the star, the show was shot before a multi screen, constantly flashing set that represents the changing subjects of the media.

The media was the beast, for it fed voraciously on the lives, tragedies and pains of others for corporate profit.

Of recent days the Philadelphia local paper has reported on the 10th anniversary of the death of John Gilbride, the ex-husband of Alberta Africa of MOVE. Most is written from the perspective of John’s father and the grandfather of Zach, the child of Alberta and John.

As such, it suggests that MOVE people may’ve had a hand in John’s killing, due to marital strife between the couple, but, while long on suspicion, it is woefully short on evidence.

“The Beast” is hungry.

Papers must be sold. Suspicion, like controversy, sells.

Years ago, back in the ’70s and ’80s, news headlines drove area politicians to mount a campaign against MOVE, which sparked conflicts that led to disaster and death.

In all these conflicts, the media played a pivotal role.

In the now declining Gulf War, the media played a central role, selling hatred, fear, suspicion and lies after the frenzy of 9/11.   Over a decade later, Iraq is a shattered nation, with millions of its people having fled the violence and chaos for refuge abroad, and Americans are more hated than ever.

But “The Beast” must be fed.

It eats bones as easily as it eats bon-bons.

It stirs the pot of suspicion, conflict, hatred and fear.

And when it boils over, it feeds, profiting off of calamity.

Zach is a happy, healthy, well-adjusted and well-loved boy.

His mom loves him and he loves her.

When the Gilbrides were engaged in reconciliation talks (court ordered), John reportedly repeatedly arrived late, or sometimes not at all.

Does that sound like a guy wanting to move heaven and earth to be with his son?

But instead of treating the situation as one capable of resolution, the media feeds conflict—again.

Never mind that there have been dozens of anniversaries of the violence—murderous violence, including bombs—of the police attacking MOVE homes.

Never once was there a media call for the investigation—not to mention the prosecution of cops who killed 11 people in front of cameras!

No, they are living the lives of Riley, on city taxpayer paid pensions, not a care in the world after bombing babies.

But, no matter.

“The Beast” must be fed.

Prison Radio, October 10, 2012