BY HONORABLE MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN | LAST UPDATED: DEC 16, 2019 – 11:52:03 PM
[Editor’s note: The following article contains the message delivered by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan during a national/international forum on “Revitalizing The Reparations Movement” held Saturday, April 19, 2014 at the Emil Jones Convocation Center on the campus of Chicago State University in Chicago, Illinois. The forum was presented by The Institute of The Black World 21st Century (Dr. Ron Daniels, President) in conjunction with Center For Inner City Studies & The Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference (Dr. Conrad Worrill, Director/Professor and Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary.)]
We give Him praise and thanks for His prophets and His messengers, and their scriptures. And as a student of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, I could never thank Allah enough for His Intervention in our affairs in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, The Great Mahdi (or “Guide”) Who came among us and raised from among us the Honorable Elijah Muhammad to lead, teach and guide us into the repair of the condition that 400 years of slavery and injustice has done to us.
I came to this forum on “Revitalizing The Reparations Movement” to listen, to learn, and to be inspired; not necessarily to talk. And, I found myself so re-invigorated by the beauty of the presentation by Sir Hilary Beckles (representing Prime Minister Ralph E. Gonsalves of St. Vincent & Grenadines).
The analogy Dr. Beckles gave us to consider: I liked the fact that “we were in the slave ship”; I liked the fact that you [in the audience] “had gone on,” and I liked the fact that we [who stood before you on stage], as your children, “stand on the shoulders of those who have paid an horrific price that we could be here today”—that we have a responsibility to our ancestors. …
When you really think about those who went before us, and the price that they paid to put us where we are, the only thing that comes into my heart right now is to ask this question: What kind of generation will we be to have ancestors that have gone through what our ancestors have gone through, and we’re sitting here today, talking about “the revitalization” of a Movement that should never have had to be revitalized!
I read Dr. Beckles’ book entitled “Britain’s Black Debt: Reparations for Caribbean Slavery and Native Genocide.” This book should be purchased by all of us to read about “reparations” and “the debt that Britain owes.” It is a marvelous scholarship. But as I listened to Dr. Beckles, the thought that came to my heart is: “See, these are the men and women that have to lay the facts down,” because we cannot proceed for “justice” on assumptions; you can proceed for “justice” on actual facts.
But “Who will do the research? Who will do the meticulous study?” It is the scholars; it is the people that have dedicated their lives to this cause! And then when they speak, we act. It’s not about “applauding” those who come before us to teach. It’s about acting, now; because “the talk” has been done—and we talk too damn much and we do too little toward our own liberation!
“Revitalization” means that some of us have lost the spirit of what “reparatory justice” really means.
‘Reparatory justice’ cannot be achieved through cowardice; ‘diplomatic discourse’ (begging).
“Reparatory justice” is not a “one day” thing; it’s not a “one week” thing. It is a lifelong struggle until the goal is achieved! But here is the problem: You know, Moses and Aaron had to go to Pharaoh, and naturally, Moses was a little terrified. (I mean, when you have to talk to “big bad White folks,” you have to have something to go with!) So when Jehovah said to Moses, “Now I want you to go and deliver this Message to Pharaoh”—(like a CARICOM Reparations Commission “10-Point Plan”), but the first part of that Plan is “Let My People Go!”
Brothers and sisters, when you talk to “power”: You can’t go to “power” just with “a cry” for justice! You have to have power backing your cry; otherwise, you’ll get nothing! You should never think that The Enemy is going to “give” you the justice that you seek. We have been crying at his foot for too damn long; we have to have the power to force justice!
Cowards will always need “revitalization”; people who get taken off course because of false promises. … “Slaves” always want to be accepted by their former slave masters. “Slaves” always want a “pat on the back” from their slave master, who warns them: “You’re doing good! But don’t go too far. Press on, but don’t go too far.”
When I read Dr. Beckles’ book—those White governments [present at the “World Conference Against Racism” in Durban, South Africa 2001]: They knew the truth that was being presented to them in Durban! But those of us who went there to present the truth, they told you to “go to hell.”
Now did they do that? Yes. Well then, what is our response: To go back and beg some more? That is what has you in the shape you’re in. You’re “litigating” yourself into poverty and want! It’s not “litigation”; it’s revolution that is needed!
You lawyers (I’m talking to the legal profession now): You’re good at what you do, and there is a way through “law”… until you get to those who can draw the law up, or expand it as they please. My Teacher said, “Even a devil can do good under the gun.” But, if you don’t have any “gun,” then the good you are seeking stands afar off! And what is “the gun”?
[Observe how] so-called diplomats sit around [in these gatherings/conferences for “justice.”] … Brothers and sisters, what I want you to see is that “Justice” is not diplomatic language. You have to put your foot where it needs to be put when you’re talking about “justice.” Otherwise, you don’t want justice; you want friendship with your former enemy! If you want “justice,” you have to stand strong on The Truth.
See, all this “platitude” [“statements (usually of moral content) that express ideas that are not new”]? Let me tell you: If you really want to get something out of this, you have to bring something to the table! And “the something” that you bring to the table first is the strength of the truth of your demand. Was it Frederick Douglass who said “Power concedes nothing without a demand”? [Ref. The August 3, 1857 “West India Emancipation” speech.] I would add to my dear brother’s words by saying: Yes, and the demand won’t even be heard unless there is power backing up the demand.
So if these brilliant scholars, and the other scholars and diplomats with them, pull the criminals into a room to discuss a “10-Point Plan”—and they say (you know how they talk): “What do you have? We’re not going to do it. … What do you have to make us do it?” Well if we who are backing the scholarship, and every city and every town and every nation who had Africa’s Children, who have suffered, realized that this is The Time for Reparatory Justice: Then we stand behind them!
Now we have to be able to do something to hurt The Enemy; and be willing to hurt him! Don’t “talk” this “reconciliation” crap: How are you going to reconcile with somebody that has done you so evil? [As Dr. Beckles pointed out in his keynote address about “apology” and “regret”]: If they say, “Okay. I’m going to apologize,” then that is right [to do]; but these people don’t even want to apologize! You have to fight them to get them to say, “I’m sorry.” So look at the language, “We regret”; then they use a conditional “should have,” as in: “We should have recognized you all differently.” “Should” is conditional.
What is the condition that should have been present that would have allowed them to see us as human beings? Dear scholars: If you don’t want to go to “the root” of this thing, know that you can’t uproot “the tree.” In other words, it wasn’t just Britain—all White nations were of the same mind! All of them! So when one will come and act like they’re willing, and the next one plays a “good/bad cop,” then you go home just as confused as ever, ending up with more conferences and discussions, and nothing for your people!
This scholar, Dr. Beckles, and those with him, need backing! They don’t need “applause.” The brilliance of this man’s scholarship; the brilliance, the years of sacrifice that they’ve put in to come up with all the documentation that is necessary: They need bodies, now; men and women who don’t mind dying for Reparatory Justice.
If you are thinking, “That Farrakhan is a radical,” you’re damn right! The situation is “radical,” and it needs a radical solution! All this “soft talk” is over! Come to the table with Truth—stand up on it, like the ancestors would be proud! I’m not leaving the Earth as a squirming punk. … I speak for the dead who have no voice today! I speak for the living who are voiceless! I speak for the unborn generations who need a voice! And that’s the kind of men and women that will make “reparatory justice” real.
‘Learn from what happened in Durban, S. Africa’: Weak leaders will never fight for our cause.
I’m so inspired by Dr. Beckles, and by the beautiful people that have been talking and fighting for reparations. But Pharaoh knew the psychology of “the slave”: So he sent runners out into all the cities to promise the slave wealth and nearness to him if they would fight Moses. (Holy Qur’an, Surah 7:109-114) “Reparations” is strong—weak people can’t stand up for that! So what happened in Durban?
When I read Dr. Beckles’ book: The leaders punked straight out! Call them out: Former United Nations Secretary-General (Ghanaian) Kofi Annan didn’t do right! Former South African President Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki didn’t do right! Even current South African President (then deputy-president) Jacob Zuma didn’t do right! And the former president of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade wasn’t right. … Call them out!
Black Scholars: What is wrong with your mouth that you won’t do that, when they destroyed everything that you went there for? The Caribbean was strong; and we need to back The Caribbean, because they are “a voice”—and so are we—to stir them up over there [in Africa]. They punked out. Why? Black leaders, Black scholars: Why do we get to a moment like this and now your language gets “diplomatic”?
See, those of our people that sell us out? They’re not afraid. No. … They’re not afraid of the justice that Winnie Mandela was ready to execute. I’m sorry: We are not going to get what we want until “Uncle Toms” and “sellouts” and all these kinds of people feel the wrath of The Common Man.
What is the purpose of living in a nice house, driving a nice car, having a little money in the bank, when the dollar is falling by the second? Nothing is more important than the liberation of our people! We just have to stop “making excuses” for ourselves. What do you want? If you really want freedom, you cannot compromise with slave makers, slave masters and the collaborators.
All The Enemy has to do is offer you a little position, and you forget the suffering of your people? “Yes! You can be a mayor. Why, you can be a governor! Why, even I’ll let you be a president. …”—notice the language—“But as long as you’re there, you’ve got to be my man, doing my will!” Jesus said, “Verily, no man can serve two masters. You will love one, or you will hate the other.” You can’t serve “God” and mammon too!
Now what Dr. Beckles put before us is well thought out, and he didn’t even touch all that his brilliant research and scholarship had to give us. This man is a walking encyclopedia on what he’s talking about! And there are many more with him.
And to those of you who love to say, “Well, we need unity”: We sure do! We need unity with the people who want reparatory justice. We don’t need unity with collaborators and pacifiers, and people who want to “talk it down” when it should be talked up strong. We don’t need that! Jesus said, “Two will be laying in the bed. …”—I don’t think you can get no closer than that—“I’m gonna take one, and leave one.” “Two will be grinding at the mill”: He’s gonna take one, and leave one.
Then The Jesus speaking (he’s a real revolutionary!); he said: “Think not that I came to bring peace. Nay, a sword.” This means “division” is going to have to come over reparatory justice: “Division” before “unity.” Who among us wants unity for all over here, especially when you find out what it is and the sacrifice it is going to have to take to get it?
We must understand the
important role Caribbean
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I pray that God will have The Ancestors proud of us, that we know their struggle, we know their pain and we know what they went through to give us what we have. Now we have to be accountable for our generation, and leave our children and our grandchildren a future; and “The Future” is “Reparatory Justice.” So, let’s revitalize The Reparations Movement.
And those that don’t want to come along? “So long” to you. … Because if there are two or three “gathered together in His Name”: You are “the majority”! So let’s go after it.
Remember: Life, no matter how long it is, is short; and Life, in its nature, is a struggle. And those who do not wish to struggle are dead already. So if you want to live your life, and make your life have meaning, give your life to something bigger than your life! Do you understand? Give your life for something bigger than your life. There will be nothing bigger in this century than The Cry for, The Struggle for, and The Reception of “Reparatory Justice.”
Don’t you wait for others [to give it to you]; and I say this, because we sometimes don’t put God in “the equation.” God is very real. … He’s very, very real in this fight! Right now, as we speak, He is taking America down! Now, you don’t control any weather—but God is whipping the hell out of America! This dollar that you’ve been fighting each other over? Just falling! So there’s another Force here, that’s bigger than him (The Enemy).
What happened to Flight 370? You mean a big plane just disappeared? See, God is on the scene today; all the scientists of the world come together and can’t figure this one out! The Book of Psalm, Chapter 2, verse 4, teaches: “God sits in heaven and laughs at you”—because your science is weak in comparison to The Knowledge God is exploding on the weak and the poor.
So come on, man: Don’t you let this conference be a “feel good session.” Let’s go get Dr. Beckles’ book! We need to understand it, read it, because The Caribbean, where my parents are from … The Caribbean, again, “comes to the fore.”
The Caribbean gave us Marcus Garvey (Jamaica)! They gave us George Padmore; they gave us C.L.R. James (Trinidad)! They gave us Edward Wilmot Blyden (St. Thomas/U.S. Virgin Islands)! A whole bunch of strong folk came up out of The Caribbean! Malcolm X’s mother, Louise Little, was from down there (Grenada/British West Indies); Kwame Ture (Trinidad). … We owe a debt to The Caribbean.
So come on, brothers and sisters, understand that we are “a Family”! Whether it’s Mississippi or Jamaica; Alabama or St. Kitts; St. Vincent or The Grenadines, or Massachusetts: Wherever we are on the Earth, we need to fight for that kind of “justice” that will repair the damage that The Enemy has inflicted on us that we suffer at this very moment.