Jonestown Quotes

Quotes tagged as "jonestown" (showing 1-7 of 7)
Christopher Hitchens
“Sooner or later, all talk among foreigners in Pyongyang turns to one imponderable subject. Do the locals really believe what they are told, and do they truly revere Fat Man and Little Boy? I have been a visiting writer in several authoritarian and totalitarian states, and usually the question answers itself. Someone in a café makes an offhand remark. A piece of ironic graffiti is scrawled in the men's room. Some group at the university issues some improvised leaflet. The glacier begins to melt; a joke makes the rounds and the apparently immovable regime suddenly looks vulnerable and absurd. But it's almost impossible to convey the extent to which North Korea just isn't like that. South Koreans who met with long-lost family members after the June rapprochement were thunderstruck at the way their shabby and thin northern relatives extolled Fat Man and Little Boy. Of course, they had been handpicked, but they stuck to their line.

There's a possible reason for the existence of this level of denial, which is backed up by an indescribable degree of surveillance and indoctrination. A North Korean citizen who decided that it was all a lie and a waste would have to face the fact that his life had been a lie and a waste also. The scenes of hysterical grief when Fat Man died were not all feigned; there might be a collective nervous breakdown if it was suddenly announced that the Great Leader had been a verbose and arrogant fraud. Picture, if you will, the abrupt deprogramming of more than 20 million Moonies or Jonestowners, who are suddenly informed that it was all a cruel joke and there's no longer anybody to tell them what to do. There wouldn't be enough Kool-Aid to go round. I often wondered how my guides kept straight faces. The streetlights are turned out all over Pyongyang—which is the most favored city in the country—every night. And the most prominent building on the skyline, in a town committed to hysterical architectural excess, is the Ryugyong Hotel. It's 105 floors high, and from a distance looks like a grotesquely enlarged version of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco (or like a vast and cumbersome missile on a launchpad). The crane at its summit hasn't moved in years; it's a grandiose and incomplete ruin in the making. 'Under construction,' say the guides without a trace of irony. I suppose they just keep two sets of mental books and live with the contradiction for now.”
Christopher Hitchens, Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays

Rebecca McNutt
“I’ve seen a lot of stuff… maybe I’ve seen too much. I see most humans in a bad light because I’ve seen what they can do, how evil they can be… I’ve seen the Holocaust and I’ve seen Jonestown, I’ve seen the Vietnam War and I’ve seen Hiroshima… I’ve seen the Chernobyl disaster… I’ve seen the World Trade Center attack… I’ve been alive too long, over a hundred years is a long time to be alive,” Alecto sighed, staring at the cigarette he was holding.”
Rebecca McNutt, Smog City

James Morcan
“Why such a massacre had occurred, the Omegans could only speculate. Some thought it may have been to stop a large-scale emigration out of America to a fabled Utopian society; others wondered if it was intended to create fear in the populace – fear of cults, fear of Communism, fear of anything foreign; and still others believed it was to create a precedence whereby any groups labelled a cult would be vilified without due diligence by the public.”
James Morcan, The Orphan Factory

James Morcan
“The Trojan Horse Sterling had referred to reflected his belief that the truth about Jonestown had never been revealed to the American people. A belief shared by his fellow co-founders. They were certain that while there were undoubtedly suicides at Jonestown, the event could more accurately be described as a mass murder that resulted from an experiment of sorts carried out by various US agencies.”
James Morcan, The Orphan Factory

Jeff Guinn
“No one listening [to Jones' sermons], even those who were the most devoted to him, could take it all in. But at some point each follower heard something that reaffirmed his or her personal reason for belonging to Peoples Temple, and for believing in Jim Jones. As Jonestown historian Fielding McGehee observes, "What you thought Jim said depended on who you were.”
Jeff Guinn, The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

“Just as demagogues lead their well-intentioned followers into tragedy, so the jungle inevitably reclaims it's own.”
Jeff Gunn

“Just as demagogues lead their well-intentioned followers into tragedy, so the jungle inevitable reclaims it's own.”
Jeff Gunn