May 13th, 1985 is more than a day of infamy, when a city waged war on its own alleged citizens, but also when the city committed massacre and did so with perfect impunity, when babies were shot and burned alive with their mothers and fathers, and the killers rewarded with honors and pensions, while politicians talked and the media mediated mass murder. On that day, the city, armed and assisted by the US government, dropped a bomb on a house and called it law. The fire department watched buildings ignite like matches in the desert and cut off water. The courts of the land turned a blind eye, daubed mud in their socket, and prosecuted Ramona Africa for having the nerve to survive an urban holocaust, jailing her for the crime of not burning to death. Eleven men, women and children died, and not one killer was even charged with a misdemeanor.
But on that day, more than MOVE members died. The city died, too. Its politicians died, its media died, its courts died, and its churches and houses of worship died, for they ceased to function, and they served power and money. In a very real sense, the city massacred itself, for one’s faith in such institutions died. They became empty, hollow and dead, but for the shell. May 13th, 1985 is a day that shall live in infamy, but for far more reasons than the obvious. It was the death knell of a system committing suicide. It proved that a man called John Africa spoke powerful truths when he spoke about the nature of the system as corrupt, as flawed, as poisoned. Every day past that date has only proved it even more.
— Mumia Abu-Jamal, political prisoner and revolutionary journalist, on the 25th anniversary of the May 13, 1985, Philadelphia police bombing of the MOVE family house.