In the early hours of Sunday, a devastating fire has engulfed a house party in South London. Friends and family had gathered at 439 New Cross Road, to celebrate the 16th Birthdays of Yvonne Ruddock and Angela Jackson, when the blaze occurred. Thirteen black children and young people, aged 14-22, including Ruddock have died in the fire. It has become known as the New Cross Massacre.
The event comes amid a rise in local arson activity by the National Front. On the night, witnesses claimed to see a man driving a white Austin Princess launch a petrol bomb at the house. Despite these sightings, police have ruled the fire accidental.
13 Dead! Nothing Said!
Despite the huge loss of life; the TV news, the newspapers and the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, have all said nothing. No one has been charged.
Police in Brixton have launched ‘Operation Swamp’. Through extensive use of 150 year-old ‘sus’ laws, police have stopped and searched anyone who they believe to be suspicious, whether or not a crime has been committed. In five days, 943 people have been searched and 82 people detained, most of them black.
Riots have broken out in Brixton. Several buildings have been set alight.
An effigy of a mulatta, the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, has been discovered floating in the sea off the coast of the Bay of Nipe, Cuba. It was found by three slaves, all named Juan: two indigenous men and one black creole child. Seventy-five years later, the now 85-year-old black creole, Juan Moreno, has given his sworn eye-witness account of the event, as the only surviving Juan. He is still enslaved, illiterate, and now also a militant activist. His testimony comes after increased pressure from the Spanish authorities to look into the growing cult around the effigy. Church cleric, Onofre de Fonseca reports:
It was morning and the sea was calm when they left Key Franses before sunrise on board a canoe bound for the salt mine. In the distance beyond Key Franses they saw something white on the foam of the water... As they approached, it appeared to be a bird, and as they got closer, the Indians said that it looked like a girl. Upon consideration, they recognized and saw the Image of Our Lady of the Most Holy Virgin
with a Baby Jesus in her arms upon a small platform with large letters that [Juan Diego] read and which said,
“I am the Virgin of Charity.”
Juan Moreno went on to describe how the effigy of the Virgin was soon taken by Spanish officials from the home of one of the Indians, to a Spanish church in the nearby copper mining village of El Cobre. However, Juan Moreno says, the Virgin soon let it be known by the illumination of three heavenly lights, on three consecutive nights, that she preferred to be placed on impoverished Mine Hill, next to the homes of the black enslaved families who mined the copper. Accordingly, the black community have built her a shrine. Both black and white believers, practice their devotion: praying to the Virgin, applying oil from her lamp to cure afflicted body parts, and wearing ribbons touched by her effigy. The Virgin is said to be an infinite reservoir of maternal generosity, compassion, and patience.
The indigenous Mesoamerican deity Coatlalopeuh has appeared on the spot where Aztec goddess Tonantsi has historically been worshipped, ten years after the Spanish first conquered the region. First to receive the visitation was Juan Diego, an indigenous man in what is now called Mexico. Coatlalopeuh’s image has been miraculously reproduced on Juan Diego’s cloak, as proof of the apparition. According to Juan Diego, at the shrine she announced:
“I am María Coatlalopeuh”
‘Coatlalopeuh’, in the Aztec language Nahuat, translates to: “I am the one who is at one with the beasts”
However, a dispute has arisen as to the identity of the apparition. As the Nahuat ‘Coatlalopeuh’ is homophonous to the Spanish ‘Guadalupe,’ the colonising Spanish have called this a case of mistaken identity, identifying her as their own olive-skinned Catholic, Guadalupe, patroness of West Central Spain and Mother of God. They have removed Coatlalopeuh’s sexuality, her allegiance with serpents, and further darkened the skin of Guadalupe. Coatlalopeuh has become a virgin and Guadalupe has become a mestiza. Through appealing partially to both indigenous and Spanish, the reincarnate Virgin Guadalupe has eclipsed all other religious deities in Mexico. Rome has since made her Empress of Latin America.
Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie has visited his Rastafarian devotees for the first time. Known by Rastas as the Messiah and the reincarnation of Christ, he came down to land in Palisadoes Airport, Kingston, Jamaica. Around 100 000 believers
surrounded his plane at this historic and affirmative event for Rastas, who are generally considered outcasts in Jamaican society. It is being dubbed, ‘Grounation Day’.
A devout Christian, Haile Selassie is believed by Rastas to be the black God and King to deliver black peoples to the promised land, Ethiopia. This is as prophesised by activist, journalist and shipping entrepreneur, Marcus Garvey in his newspaper, just three years before Selassie’s coronation. Many Jamaican Rastas, who are the descendants of slaves converted to Christianity, practice their belief in the black Messiah by smoking ganja and rejecting Western and white culture.
Upon Haile Selassie’s emergence from the plane, the torrential rain suddenly stopped. Rastas have counted this as further proof of his holiness.
A voice recognised as that of journalist, poet and activist, Una Marson, has been heard across the Caribbean, in places where she is not. Marson, who spent time interceding for the black Messiah as his secretary, and spent a stint academically enthralled by the cult-drums of Pocomania, was compelled to travel to Brixton, some years ago. Now, the voice of an impossible subject: Jamaican and British, black and feminist, middle-class and unmarried, have carried across the airwaves of The BBC Empire Service delivering messages of long-lost loved ones back to their Caribbean mothers. The first black producer to be employed by the BBC:
“This is Una Marson calling the West Indies. Hello.”
20 000 people have marched through London in a Black People’s Day of Action. The procession from Fordham Park to Hyde Park, was organised by The New Cross Massacre Action Committee; a group made up of local community and family members of victims of the New Cross Massacre. They have held up images of the deceased, unfurling banners reading:
13 Dead! Nothing Said!
Many of the protesters were arrested under suspicion of rioting, but later released without charge. Protesters aimed to highlight police inaction, media apathy and lack of response from the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, which they say amounts to a cover up. They are demanding to be believed, and the dead, respected, with a full investigation into the fire and deaths.
Four months after riots first broke out in Brixton, at six o’clock on 27th August, an impossible vision has been seen. An image of a young, unmarried, black woman of Caribbean descent, “a true mongrel”, has appeared on television screens in living rooms across the United Kingdom, declaring:
Moira Stuart has read the National News; the first black woman to do so. This is thought to be the first time many people in the United Kingdom have believed a black woman.
In a dramatic turn of events, credited to the Virgin of Charity, the King of Spain has granted the slaves of impoverished Mine Hill their freedom. This comes 90 years before general abolition in the rest of Cuba. The declaration came after slaves rioted during an annual state-organised procession for white patron saint, St James. Slaves had been allowed to carry arms for ceremonial purposes for the procession, but they unexpectedly turned on their Spanish masters. In a planned attack, the slaves rebelled to the mountains, demanding to take the Virgin of Charity with them.
The black community of Mine Hill has become increasingly militant in past years, interceding on behalf of their Virgin for better infrastructure surrounding the rural shrine where her effigy is located. In her abundant maternal generosity, compassion, and patience, the Virgin has now seen fit to abolish slavery. This local mulatta Virgin will now go on to become the patron saint of the entire nation. Her effigy will be paraded through the streets on special occasions.
In a momentous occasion the camera has panned outwards, loosening Moira Stuart from her tight frame, to reveal her legs and to allow her to ask questions. Amid nationwide celebrations of the 200th anniversary of British politician William Wilberforce’s so-called ‘abolition of slavery’, Moira has travelled Africa, Britain and the Caribbean. She has made visitation to Wilberforce’s various effigies, deftly debunking his deification by the British as the white man who single-handedly abolished slavery.
Standing at slave dungeons near the Door of No Return, Ghana, Stuart said, “You would have had to be supernatural not to have, I would have thought, died in here.” For the first time in 29 years she has broken down, sobbing into the shoulder of a Ghanaian professor. “I have always had a ridiculous fear of the ocean and now I know it is a burial place of so many of my ancestors.” One month after airing, Moira Stuart has been made redundant by the BBC.
After a brief disappearance the effigy of the Virgin of Charity has re-appeared at her shrine. Previously, it was suspected that she had been stolen by black locals. However, upon her return, though her expression remains unchanged, her clothes are soaked. Believers say this indicates that she had, in fact, briefly returned to the sea from where she came.