(Photos by Earl Stanback)
(Editor's note: The following message is taken from words delivered by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on Jan. 20 at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago during a leadership meeting that was held as part of a National Mobilization for Haitian Relief.)
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
We thank Him for all of his Prophets, Messengers and the scriptures which they brought. We thank Him for Moses and the Torah. We thank Him for Jesus and the Gospel. We thank Him for Muhammad and the Qur'an. Peace be upon these worthy servants of Allah.
I am a student of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and I could never thank Allah enough for His intervention in our affairs raising this wonderful man up to lead, teach, guide and reform Black people in America and throughout the world.
I greet all of you, my dear brothers and sisters, with the greeting words of peace. We say it in the Arabic language, As-Salaam Alaikum.
All of us are here because of what we have seen in Haiti; all of what we have seen has touched us deeply. But Haiti is not just for today.
The Prophets have said, Jesus in particular, that there would be wars and rumors of wars, kingdom would rise against kingdom and nation against nation. There would be famine, there would be pestilence, there would be earthquakes in diverse places.
We have seen the earthquakes in Japan and China, Pakistan, the earthquake under the water that produced the tsunami that killed thousands in Indonesia. We have seen these things from afar. But the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said it's written in the Qur'an that when you see things happening afar, prepare yourself because it soon will be at your door.
God is no respecter of persons. Calamities do not pick you out because you are White or Black or rich or poor, or male or female. When these kinds of disasters happen, they take everything in their path. Haiti? We might ask, why has this disaster struck Haiti? All day long, I have been talking with my brothers and sisters from Haiti. All day long I have been listening and many times, quietly going off and weeping, because this is bigger than Haiti. God brought it right to our door.
Wyclef Jean, the Haitian entertainer and advocate for his country, was with me for four hours. Wyclef said when he went to Haiti 24 hours after the tragedy, the only thing that he was doing for several hours was picking up bodies. One of his rapper friends Wyclef sent to Haiti was in a car. The police had stopped the car and then a building started to shake. The brother in the car knew something terrible was happening so he gunned the gas but he didn't get out of there in time. The building collapsed on him. Wyclef said he went to look for his brother. When they dug him out from under the automobile, he was crushed as flat as the ground itself.
The horror that we see in Haiti is unspeakable, but why does God have to use something like that to shock us into the realization of a duty that we have not kept?
In the 1960s, there was a cry among us. We all were united. We would ask: “What Time Is It?” “It's Nation Time!” was our response. We all understood there was a common bond that brought us all together. We never talked about African American, African Cuban and such.
We all knew that we were connected to each other, whether we were light skinned, dark skinned, and medium tan, brown; whether we came from the West Indies, from Africa, from the Isles of the Pacific. We felt that we were one people and whatever pain afflicted anybody in the Pan African World, we felt it.
The enemy, however, was wise. After plotting the deaths of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King and working to destroy Black organizations, the enemy understood he had to stop a movement and reverse a trend. How do you do that? How do you stop a movement that gave us Dr. King? It sickens me to hear us belittle that man to a dreamed. King was a living, moving, breathing being, who was evolving and the enemy doesn't want to deal with what he was evolving to or toward—so they limit him and say The Dreamer.
You cannot reduce a man of that magnitude to a dream nor can you reduce Malcolm X to “By Any Means Necessary.”
When you reduce great men to little sentences, you destroy the legacy of the wisdom that made them who they are. Then you rob the present and future generations of the ability to continue the struggle because they have minimized our leadership and we have accepted it. It was so nice that we could integrate, we fought long and hard, suffered abuse and died to eat a hot dog in a restaurant or to sleep in nice hotels or motels and we were so happy. We had done something, but we did something awful too. We never taught our children about the legacy of our struggle. We never made them aware of from whence we all came so they are foolish enough today to think the struggle is over, for them the struggle does not continue.
The enemy was wise. It was interesting to hear Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) talk about a light-skinned Black man who did not speak with a Negro dialect. People were upset by that, but whole context of his comments was missing. He was talking to White reporters about the mental state of White people. He was saying this man could become president because we, meaning Whites, would accept him—a light skinned Negro who was not possessed with a Negro dialect. Sen. Reid meant Mr. Obama wasn't Al Sharpton, known for fighting for Black causes. He wasn't Reverend Jesse Jackson, who came out of and has led the civil rights movement. Sen. Reid was saying, “We couldn't tolerate any of them in the White House but this guy I think we can back him, I think that we can make him a President.”
Barack Obama is a good brother, but those who selected him chose him for a purpose that I don't think he understood. I don't mean to hurt your feelings, but it's becoming evident, more and more every day that our brother is afraid to speak to the 97 percent of Black people who voted him into office. It's becoming abundantly clear that there are other forces around him that are trying to derail him. These are the forces that we will have to deal with in order to free Haiti and free ourselves.
We are under attack brothers and sisters. This is the second episode of Reconstruction.
Blacks got into power after the Civil War but angry Whites arose and all of a sudden Blacks were run out of office; there was the rise of the KKK, the lynching and destruction of Black life. What do you see going on since Mr. Obama has been elected president of the United States? White voters are rejecting him, they are turning down Deval Patrick, the Black governor of Massachusetts, and they are rejecting different Black political leaders that have Whites as a major segment of their constituency.
After Brother Barack was elected, more guns were sold, more ammunition was sold to White people looking for weapons because his election was a signal to them that the Negroes are rising.
Fidel Castro, the former president of Cuba, said the first thing that is done in a catastrophe is to save human life. Ezili wrote me an email and said the government of the United States is not interested in saving human life, Haitian human life. The proof of it is they could have done more, but they waited and at last a ship called USS Comfort was dispatched to give medical attention. Children were dying with no one to give them medication. One doctor said we are back to civil war medicine; taking off limbs without adequate anesthetics.
Think about this. They could have airlifted in what they needed. Ezili is right, they didn't want to. You have to see this is part of what Eddie Benoit said, is a conspiracy. Yes Viola Plummer, of the December 12th Movement, it is a conspiracy. The land of Haiti and the people of Haiti must be dealt with; the land must be taken and the people must be destroyed.
“Minister you shouldn't talk like that." Our people are dying; I can't find peaceful or polite language. They are doing horrible things to our brothers and sisters in Haiti and they think that they can hide their wicked hands under a rock. Farrakhan is going to call them all out. All I am asking of you when I do this, stand up like men and women and if we are going to die, let's die fighting for the liberation of our people.
I've been so passionate today. This hurts me deeply because God is giving us a wake-up call and we have to listen to his call. I am determined now to do what is necessary to make our people aware that this is our chance to redeem ourselves through Haiti and what we do for Haiti.
Wyclef Jean said today the people need an exodus out of Port-au-Prince and they need to set-up tents temporarily, and as Brother Benoit says with infrastructure. But we have to be careful that when the evacuation takes place we are not playing into the hands of those who want us evacuated so we can never come back. We have to be vigilant.
The oppressor is so skillful, he might make you think he's changed. I'm not talking about common White people, they are victims too. They may not even know it. I'm talking about the pyramid and what's at the top that is directing this. I intend to expose it all. The Apostle Paul said we war not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places. But there are people who are fulfilling that role and we are going to call them out.
Satan can hide as long as nobody knows him. The devil was hanging out with the children of God and they came to present themselves before God. Now imagine the children of God hanging out with the devil and don't even know it. When they came before God, He asked, “Whence comest thou Satan?" I'm sure the children of God were shocked to find Satan in their midst. Satan is a mindset that has inhabited bodies, real live bodies.
All of us that have churches, organizations, we have to go home now. Go back to your congregants and let's start telling them whatever they can sacrifice, find a place in the church, bring it, but you have to secure it. We have to be ready now for the National Mobilization so that we can bring whatever we have and make sure that it gets where it needs to go.
Money is a terrible thing when people see a lot of it and they have very little of it, some would like to find a way to get some of it though we are talking about relief for Haiti. I'm not interested in fattening frogs for snakes. Before I ask people to donate to any charity, I want to vette the organization, not just its leaders, but those behind the leadership. I cannot use the love that people have for me and ask people to put their money anywhere until we are sure it will go where it must go in Haiti.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad told us we are too trusting of people and Paul said prove all things and hold fast to that which is true.
Will you go home to your church, your organization and begin getting food, clothing, medical supplies and money? Money should be put in an account for Haitian relief, with signers who cannot be bought and held in the account until the proper time.
You know Brother Malcolm X was my teacher when I first started in the Nation of Islam. Brother Malcolm told me, you die before you let anything happen to the poor people's money. When they tried to kill my whole family in Boston by firebombing my house; I grabbed up my children and took them out. They firebombed the back door, the side, the front but it was a drizzle and the fire didn't catch at the back door. My wife was out there counting my children and one was missing, and slipped out of my hands. I ran back up in the fire, got my daughter brought her down. I was ready to go back up in the fire and the smoke to get the little Believers' money. It was only $1,800 but that was Malcolm's teaching to me and I protected the money that was entrusted to me.
If we draw the money from everywhere and position it with charities, we must make sure that the money is managed so that Haiti is not just relieved with food and medicine and water but that Haiti is rebuilt. Men like Eddie Benoit, and Eddie Reid, of Chicago Black United Communities, who fights for Black workers, are needed. Haitians built those houses in their country and must do the rebuilding. Haitians are natural builders. We have Eddie Benoit, who has a construction company, and I am sure there are others. We will vette them and see which one would do the job best.
There is a conspiracy to destroy Haiti and all of us have a chance. I think we should mount a cry like the one we did in the sixties to marshal the forces of our people. They are ready now. They are more ready now then they have ever been and I am not talking about vitriol, I am not talking about hatred. I am talking about government that is wicked doing evil things in the name of the people. As this thing moves along it is going to pick up momentum. That's how the Million Man March got started. It wasn't Farrakhan; it was so many, but they responded.
Conrad Worrill, of the National Black United Front, was there. Haki Madhubuti, of Third World Press, was there. Maulana Karenga of Us was there, the Black Nationalist community was there. Preachers in Chicago and all over the country heard the cry and we all joined together. We didn't ask are you a Muslim; are you a Christian, what is your organization? We saw that Black men were in trouble and when we looked up there were nearly two million men on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
I am ready to mount a national tour, calling people in city after city; marshaling tens of thousands with your help. We will shake this country up.
We have to let Haitians lead us. They know the country better than those of us who don't. We lend assistance to our brothers and sisters; we don't try to lead where we don't know what we are doing or where we are going. If the blind lead the blind, you know the story because we all in the ditch now—so the blind have been leading the blind. These brothers and sisters from Haiti, they know Haiti and they know what is needed in Haiti. People like Ron Daniels, of the Institute for the Black World 21st Century and Haiti Support Project, Wyclef Jean and others that go in and out of Haiti, these are our resource people. Let's get the U.S. government out, and put ourselves in Haiti.
May Allah bless each and every one of you and us.
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