Pete O’Neal, a former Kansas City leader of the Black Panther Party now living in Tanzania, comments on the recent death of Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa, formerly David Rice. O’Neal is living in a self-imposed exile to avoid a four-year federal prison sentence for transporting a shotgun across a state line. O’Neal fled the country after being targeted by the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Division which arrested him and rival Federal Bureau of Investigation which targeted O’Neal for clandestine counterintelligence action.
Mondo died on March 11 of respiratory failure at the Nebraska State Penitentiary where he had served forty-five years of a life sentence. Mondo and Edward Poindexter were convicted of the 1970 bombing murder of an Omaha policeman following a controversial April 1971 trial marred by a withheld FBI Laboratory report, tampered dynamite evidence by ATF, and false testimony by Omaha police and Duane Peak, the confessed bomber. The pair, later called the Omaha Two, had been targeted because they were leaders of Omaha’s chapter of the National Committee to Combat Fascism, a Black Panther affiliate group.
O’ Neal states “the passing of brother Mondo we Langa was shocking and disturbing, I think most of us imagined and looked forward to the day when he and Poindexter would walk out of the prison in which they have been unjustly held for more than four decades.”
“When I recall the many visits both brothers made to Kansas City an image comes to mind of two strong young men, totally committed to our struggle, I recall their participating in our community programs and never flinching from the heavy workload that all the members of the Kansas City chapter were required to perform, they were involved in our political education classes and never hesitated to criticize where criticism was needed. Mondo and Poindexter were an inspiration to us all and most importantly they continue to inspire by the manner in which they held fast to their principles and convictions.”
“I recently saw current photos of these political prisoners and it was obvious the toll these many years of inhuman imprisonment had taken on their physical bodies, but at the same time I noticed with admiration that the fire of righteous conviction was still in their eyes,” noted O’Neal.
“I stated that receiving the news of Mondo’s passing was a shock, and it was, my first feeling was of sadness and grief and then I checked myself. For me, personally, I believe this is not a time for sadness but instead a time for happiness and joy, indeed a time for celebration! Mondo is free. He has slipped his bonds and embraced a well deserved freedom, and in doing so I like to believe he left us with a challenge, a challenge to redouble our efforts to free Poindexter and all political prisoners,” explains O’Neal. “What a great testament to his life and struggle it would be if brother Poindexter were to walk free from the gates of confinement into the welcoming arms of his family and comrades.”
“Mondo we Langa lives! Free all political prisoners. Free them all!”