Sunday, 18 November 2012

For Those Who Were There, Jonestown's Is A Part Of Each Day

On this day November 18th,by Jim Reiterman, Los Angeles Times 1998.

N THE '70s, Jim Jones moved his Peoples Temple from San Francisco to Guyana to escape what he saw as persecution. In the U.S., the temple had run a free clinic and a drug-rehab program, but reports from Guyana began detailing brutality. Tim Reiterman was there when 913 people died in what we now call "Jonestown."
OAKLAND, Calif. - For 20 years now, they have come to a grassy hillside overlooking San Francisco Bay to share tears, hugs and their private pain - and to remember the unfathomable events of another Nov. 18.

They gather around a small stone monument in Evergreen Cemetery, link hands and pray. Later, in small clutches, they reminisce and trade news about their lives after that day in Jonestown.
These people and others are living strands of the Peoples Temple saga - and their stories may hold meaning for the millions who cannot comprehend the horrifying murders and suicides orchestrated by the Rev. Jim Jones.

The survivors and relatives are reminders of the decency of most of those who died in Guyana, the magnitude of the loss.

Somehow they have the strength to stand here at the unmarked graves of 409 children and others whose bodies were unidentified or unclaimed. Most years I have stood beside them to pay respect to Jonestown's 913 victims - and to mourn Rep. Leo Ryan and my own comrades gunned down at Port Kaituma.

For those of us who were there, the cataclysm does not seem such a distant memory. It remains a part of each day. Those who assemble at this graveside - and many who cannot bear to do so - share that bond.

Letter from Leo J Ryan to Ida Camburn: 

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