Friday, June 18, 2010
JONESTOWN, Guyana — Carlton Daniels was sweating as he sliced through the jungle with his cutlass. He pointed at some bushes and said a chimpanzee named Mr. Muggs had once lived there in a cage. Then he emerged in a clearing, proclaiming, “Welcome to the People’s Temple Agricultural Project.”
Better known as Jonestown, where more than 900 Americans committed suicide or were murdered one night in 1978 at the behest of the cult leader Jim Jones, the site yields few signs of remembrance. Rains, termites and scavengers have laid waste to its buildings. Vines camouflage its rusting vehicles, including an old flatbed truck and a tractor.
But while nature seems intent on erasing the utopian experiment that went tragically awry here, some enterprising souls in Guyana, South America’s only English-speaking nation, have another idea. They want Jonestown reborn as a tourist destination and are even getting some tepid help from the government, which spent more than 30 years largely trying to live it down. CONTINUE READING
Posted by m. at 2:36 PM