Jonestown, Guyana might ring a few bells from the distant past. Or if you are part of the more recent generation you might not even know why Jonestown is significant.
One night in 1978, 900 Americans and temple members committed suicide or were murdered under the influence of Jim Jones. Since that fateful night, not much has been done with the land that was coined the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project. In fact the location of this horrible tragedy has been taken over by vines, rust, and overall decay virtually erasing the land’s past.
However, according to the NY Times, some locals from Guyana are intent on restoring Jamestown and creating a monument paying tribute to the events that took place there over thirty years ago. Locals believe that instead of brushing over the tragedy at Jonestown, Guyana should create a new perception for the better and move forward.
Last year, Indranauth Haralsingh, director of the Guyana Tourism Authority, put up a plaque that reads “In memory of the victims of the Jonestown tragedy, November 18, 1978, Jonestown, Guyana.” This action is the first attempt by the Guyana people to commemorate the tragedy of Jonestown and remind people what transpired there.
Another Guyana native, Mr. Daniels believes that Jonestown should have been turned into a monument years ago. Additionally, he thinks that it would be the best spot to have a center that studies cults in an effort to learn how to avoid tragedies like this one.
Before Jim Jones’ cult took over Guyana’s reputation, Jonestown was an idyllic place that promoted a nuclear-free and peaceful way of life. But then Jim Jones sunk his teeth into this environment full of idealists and convoluted Jonestown’s message. The locals’ hope of creating a monument would not only honor the victims but also remind people of the original intention of Jonestown.
Would you want to travel to Jonestown, learn about the community, and see what remains of Jim Jones’ destruction?