BY THE HONORABLE MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN | LAST UPDATED: APR 6, 2011 – 10:24:53 AM
[Editor’s note: The following article contains edited excerpts of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s live telephone interview on Columbus, Mississippi’s WTWG 1050AM Karriem & Co. radio show with co-hosts Kabir Karriem, Kamal Karriem, Ahmad Karriem and Abdullah Yasin Muhammad on February 9, 2011.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
KARRIEM & CO.: Brother Minister, with your influences in founding the Million Man March, when news broke of the protest in Egypt, media outlets referred to the protest as the “Million Man March.” Then, later on, they referred to it as the “Million Persons March.” Explain to us what’s going on in Egypt. And secondly, explain your influence, as well as the impact of the Million Man March, on the Arab world.
HMLF: Well, as you may know, the Million Man March was seen by hundreds of millions of people across the Earth, because never in our history, or in the history of the United States of America, had nearly two million Black men gathered on the Mall in Washington, D.C. And if you remember, the government closed down that day: City government closed; the House of Representatives and the Senate closed; the Supreme Court closed down, and even President Clinton left town. And it was thought that the anger and volatility of members of the Black community, particularly our Black youth, that we would break into violence, and so the world press was gathered, thinking that that might be the result. But instead, they witnessed the most peaceful engagement of men in the history of this country. Not one incident took place; and then the Brothers themselves helped to clean up the Mall at the end of this. And so this impacted greatly in the world.
And as you know when this was over, some months later I embarked on a World Friendship Tour, which took me into Africa, into the Middle East, into Asia. And everywhere we went, people treated us as a Head of State. They treated us with great honor and respect for in those nearly two million Black men, many of our people saw a budding Force; that if turned into a political reality, could help to change some of the horrendous foreign policies of our government. That our government would be more friendly to the needs and rights of the people of Africa, Central America, South America, the Isles of the Pacific, and Asia. So, we were well received everywhere.
And naturally, we were received well in Egypt. I was at Al-Azhar University, and gave a lecture; I visited with the Grand Mufti of Egypt, and met with many different groups in Egypt, and so, they were very familiar with the Million Man March. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that the people were calling for another Million Man March to express their dissatisfaction with their government and its practices.
KARRIEM & CO: Brother Minister, over 47 years ago, Dr. King gave the world-renowned “I Have a Dream” speech. And, he stated in that speech: “America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked ‘Insufficient.’” Could you talk to us a little bit about where we were then 47 years ago, and where we are today?
HMLF: Dr. King was a great advocate for the Civil and Human Rights of our people. In August 1963, when he made that now-familiar speech to all, he closed it by saying he had a “dream.” And, you know in 1963 we were a long, long way from the passage of the passage of the Civil Rights, Voting Rights and Public Accommodations Bill—but he pleaded our case. But what the world is not familiar with is the body of knowledge that Dr. King left as his legacy.
He didn’t only have a “dream” speech, but when Ghana had its independence, Dr. King was there; Dr. King spoke. And the speech that angered J. Edgar Hoover, angered the Federal Bureau of Investigation, angered those Forces that brought about the Counter-Intelligence Program of the United States government to “prevent a Black Messiah from rising up among Black people.” And in 1968 when Dr. King was in New York City at this great church in Manhattan, he spoke against the war in Vietnam, and how he said that he could not in good conscious fight against poverty in America among Black and Hispanic and poor Whites, and at the same time encourage a war in Vietnam against poor people of that country.
After that, he was persona non grata; and after that, the aim was to destroy him. He got letters from the government, some of the dirty tricks of the U.S. government’s Counter-Intelligence Program. They sent tapes to his wife of, what they felt, and, what was seen as “indiscretion” on his part. They sent him letters to ask him to kill himself, because they were gonna make known these things to the public. They were against his receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. And ultimately, I heard from Mr. Harry Belafonte, that near the end of his time among us, he was in a room with some of his close associates; and, Mr. Belafonte said he was in a very “melancholy mood,” while the others were very cheered up, and, gay. So, Mr. Belafonte went to Dr. King, and said, “Dr. King, why are you so sad, and so melancholy?” And according to Harry Belafonte, Dr. King said, “I fear that I’m trying to integrate my people into a burning house.”
Shortly thereafter, in February of 1968, an historic meeting took place in Chicago between one of the greatest orators of our history—Dr. King, and one of the wisest, pragmatic Black men in our history, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. That meeting took place in the month of February, and three months later, our brother was assassinated.
Now, where are we 47 years later? In the state of Mississippi where we’re broadcasting from, there are some Black people living in virtual slavery, on plantations in Mississippi, in Louisiana, in Texas, and in other parts of the South. Things are not better; we are not living in a post-racial America. Fifty-seven (57) million Americans voted against Barack Obama; while 63 million Americans voted for him! But the racist attitude in many of that 57 million that voted against him hated the fact that a Black man, a Black woman and Black children were occupying the White House. And so a vicious campaign has been leveled against him, that’s he’s a “socialist.”
And when he disagreed with certain members of the Jewish community about how to effect peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, he was called an “anti-Semite.” Then, the “Birthers” came up saying that he was not born in America; he was not an American citizen. Then with the hatred of Muslims that was intensifying in America, in spite of the fact that Pres. Obama said he was a Christian they began to say that he was a “Muslim,” and that he was an “anti-American under the guise of a Christian.” Then they began attacking his wife, and whatnot, in a very ugly way. So, that man today has more death threats against him than any president in U.S. history. And that is why he rides around in “The Beast,” which is the most-armored vehicle that any president has ever had. And this is why we must pray much that God will keep our brother safe in a climate that is building of hatred.
And so, many in the Tea Party are saying, “We must take back our country!” I agree that the American people must take back their country—but not take it back from Obama, because he doesn’t own it. He’s only been elected to do the will of those who selected him. So he hasn’t taken over the country, but there is a Force that has taken it over, that absolutely governs and guides Congress and the policies of America. Those are the ones that the American people need to take their country back from.
We’re not in a good place, Brother Kamal, Brother Ahmed, Brother Kabir, Brother Abdullah. In fact, we are worse off now than the Poor People’s March organized by Dr. King, carried out by Rev. Abernathy. We’re in a worse condition right now as we speak.
KARRIEM & CO.: Brother Minister, for the benefit of so many of us who are looking forward to knowing what we should do in Mississippi, what is the importance of Mississippi as it relates to our people and Black people across the country and even the world?
HMLF: Well, it is Mississippi, and the great Mississippi Delta and the cotton picked by the hands of Black men, women and children owned by the owners of plantations in the Delta. The Delta was the largest area producing cotton in the world. And in the 17th, 18th Century, cotton was to America what oil is to the world today. And because of the cotton that was picked in the Delta, an agrarian economy developed in the South that fueled the Industrial Revolution of the North. It also sent the cotton by way of the Atlantic Ocean to Britain; and members of the Jewish community in Britain—in Manchester and Leeds and other places—turned the cotton into lint and cloth, and sold it all over the world. And members of the Jewish community in New York took the cotton from their brethren in the South, and they were masters of the needle trades. Lehman Brothers started in Alabama as a owner of cotton plantations. Then they moved to New York, and went into banking.
I am telling you, dear beloved people of Mississippi: All the wealth of America, most of it, was produced by you! And much of it even today is being produced by you under “starvation wages” on these plantations throughout Mississippi and the South.
What is the future of Mississippi, and the Blacks in Mississippi? Well, I can tell you that the greater the suffering and the greater the oppression, the greater the Leadership that God will produce for you out of that suffering. Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas: Oh, you all are the bedrock of Black suffering. Therefore, you will produce the leaders—and you have!—that will lead us up out of this condition. And I pray that the people of Mississippi will lose their fear of man, and fear God, because God is Present, and He is working for the Deliverance not only of our people in Mississippi, but it is written in the Book of Isaiah: “Shall the lawful captive be delivered, and the prey be taken from the mighty.”
You are a lawful captive, meaning that by law you have been made “citizens,” but you’re still captives, and God is fighting for your freedom! And that’s why Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,” because you are yet fully free! There’s knowledge that you must have! So the scripture teaches, “My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge.” What “knowledge” is it that you need to become a free, industrious and independent people? You need the Knowledge of God, the Knowledge of Your Self, the Knowledge of your History, the Knowledge of the Time and What Must Be Done, the Knowledge of the True Religion of God!
And when you have this knowledge, you will jump up out of your condition, and unite and make a future for your self and your people.
KARRIEM & CO: As you were talking, I was thinking about the book “Message To The Blackman in America” by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. On pages 172 and 173 he talks about Muslims being put in Congress. What are your thoughts on that?
HMLF: Well, we do have some Muslim brothers that are now in Congress. But the Honorable Elijah Muhammad wanted The Program that God had guided him to give to us that appeared, since 1962, on the back page of the Muhammad Speaks newspaper, and now, on the back page of The Final Call newspaper. He wanted that Program to be put before Congress.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad warned us over 30 years ago, that the government of America would not be able to supply enough jobs for their millions of unemployed, and ours as well. He warned us of a time when the factories would be closed and locked; and we would be in lines looking for a job. And he was encouraging us: “Unite! Pool your resources! Go back to the earth!” Look at all the farmland that we owned in Mississippi and Alabama, and in other parts of the South! And we let that farmland go! We were tricked by smart, crooked deceivers through tax schemes to take the land from us!
But land, dear brothers and sisters, is the basis of all economic development. And so putting a Program before Congress that would not give us our “right to vote,” but give us land to help us become an independent people. “Separate us onto a land of our own”—that still is the solution to the problem between Black and White. And as you are watching, the hatred between Black and White is increasing on the lower level. It looks “good” on the level of those of us with learning; that we can fit in their society. But the little man in the ghettos of the large and small cities of America that are being beaten by police, shot down in the streets, hung sometimes from trees by Whites who just hate our presence: This is going to get worse and worse as economic conditions worsen.
You will not find jobs! And if we don’t unite to make jobs for ourselves, then it increases the rise of rebellion and anarchy, and people fighting for the few little crumbs that exist. So the National Guard will be called out, and blood will be in the streets! This is not a time for us to be running around begging somebody to do something for us! This is a time for us to unite and pool our resources, and do something for ourselves!
Look at the Black farmers: If we in the cities engaged our Black farmers to produce the things that we need to consume, then we can set up channels between the cities and the farms in the South, and bring produce up to the North. We have to begin to go back to the earth! We need to take our learned people, our rich Black professionals, our rich entertainers [and] our rich musicians, and pool those resources and buy millions of acres of land to begin to free ourselves from the kitchen of our Enemy!
And as long as The Enemy produces the food that feeds us, and poisons the earth with these vicious pesticides, and gives us genetically-modified food that is increasing the rate of cancer and debilitating diseases among our people, then we are at the mercy of these Merchants of Death. So we must begin to provide food, clothing and shelter, and education, for ourselves!
Don’t you dare think that it can’t be done! There is nothing that we can’t do if we put our minds to it and unite, and pool our resources intellectually and financially, we can make a way out of no way, with the Help of Almighty God and His Christ!