[Opinion] @LouisFarrakhan on the role of leadership in uniting Africa and Black America
Written by IMN on 16 Jan 2017
BY THE HONORABLE MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN | LAST UPDATED: FEB 3, 2015 – 8:06:00 AM
[Editor’s note: The following excerpts are reprinted from Vol. 12 No. 16, dated Jan. 16, 1993. In this profound speech delivered to African heads of state and Black leaders from America at the 2nd African-African American Summit in Gabon, Africa, Minister Farrakhan outlines the problems facing Black unity and gives solutions.]In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
To His Excellency, El-Hajj President Omar Bongo; to the distinguished people of Gabon; to our eminent and brilliant brother, Rev. Dr. Leon Sullivan, the visionary who caused this African-African American Summit to come into existence; to excellencies, presidents, and heads of state and government; to the distinguished leadership in Black America, and to all who are present, it is more than an honor and more than a privilege for me to have this opportunity to say a few words this afternoon. In fact, I feel deeply humbled.
When I was told that I might have a word to say, I went to bed last night and thoughts came to me in the middle of the night. So, I shall not read anything, but I shall say to you what thoughts were revealed to me.
This is an august body of leaders, leaders of thousands, leaders of tens of thousands, leaders of millions, and leaders of tens of millions. The problem in the world today is not the followers, or the people. The problem in the world today is with the leadership. The Bible teaches, “If the blind lead the blind, both fall in the ditch.” If our leaders are spiritually blind and morally bankrupt, then we have no right to lead our people.
So, I shall quote from the Holy Qur’an a chapter that was given to me this morning and attempt to show its relevance. Only you, the leadership, can bear witness whether this is coming from one’s own vanity or is a message from the Lord of Creation.
In the 103rd chapter of the Holy Qur’an, entitled “Al-Asr,” meaning “The Time,” Allah says to us: “By the time, surely man is in loss, except those who believe and do good and enjoin one another to truth and enjoin one another to patience.” The Muslim prayer, entitled,”Salat-Ul-Asr,” is performed when the sun is midway between its zenith and the time of its setting. These verses of the Qur’an are not just talking about the time of prayer. These verses are referring to the time of the setting of the sun on a world, civilization and a people. “By the time, surely, man is in loss.”
We are here at a summit because each one of us is losing power, authority, wealth, self-esteem and the dignity of our own humanity because we’re in a new form of slavery called debt. Surely man is in loss. Why? Because we are not aware of the time. It is not the time by our watch, but the time by Allah’s (God’s) measurement of the time. What time is it? We are at the time of the end of White supremacy. We are at the time of the end of racism, sexism, and materialism. We are at the time that the Black man must rise up and take on his responsibility to do something for himself.
As I reflect on the verses of the Qur’an, I was given a picture from the Bible showing me that the unity of religion is absolutely necessary for the freedom of our people. In most African countries, Muslims and Christians are not in unity with one another. Muslims and Christians are constantly arguing. Tribal differences are destroying national purpose and will, so we have to grow into that knowledge that brings religion together; and grows tribes into nations; and grows organizations into organizational strength and unity.
What is the picture that I was shown? In the Book of Ezekiel in the Bible, there’s a story about a baby that came to birth, but the baby was in an open field covered and polluted in the blood of the afterbirth; and there was no one present to cut the umbilical cord, wash, swaddle, and salt the baby.
The scriptures say, “And I walked by and I saw this baby in an open field and I said, live.” The baby could not live polluted in its own blood and it could not live without the umbilical cord cut. It could not live except there was someone there to perform the necessary duty by that baby.
Beloved leaders and guides of the people, when we say “polluted in the blood,” it means we still live the life of a slave. We don’t think like free men. We go to the capitals of America and Europe, like paupers, weak, to demand or ask for what unjust regimes will never give. Unless we develop power to force unjust governments to yield to our just demands, then we will never achieve what we desire for our people.
All French speaking countries are tied to France and the blood of old colonialism is covering all Francophone leaders. All Anglophone leaders are tied to England. All of us are tied to our former masters in one way or another and, therefore, we don’t talk about real freedom, we talk about emancipation. But what is the true meaning of the word? Emancipation does not mean freedom. Emancipation comes from the Latin word “mancipere,” which means, “to free from your hand but not from your control.” You are free from the hand of Europe, but you are still under the control of Europe. We are free from the hand of the government of America, but we are still tied to them in many other ways. Until we can truly cut the umbilical cord and come to a state of real independence, we are fooling ourselves.
Beloved leaders, I am appealing to you on behalf of our people to lead for the good of all of our people. Lead for the development of our people. Lead to erase ignorance from the heads of our people and, above all, let no one keep African leaders divided against each other, and let no one in America keep us divided one against each other. We do not communicate with each other, therefore, an enemy gets between us and represents me to you and you to me, and we never get together to strengthen our bond of unity.
It is the same in Africa. There are those who would tell you who you should be with and who you should not be with. I say to the government of the United States of America, you have a big role to play, but not a role to crush the growing good leadership in Africa. Your role is one of a nurturer. The baby is laying in the open field. Somebody has to wash the baby; somebody has to cut the umbilical cord; someone has to nurse the baby to strength. That’s what the government of America and the government of Europe should be doing. The government of America should be in Africa helping every African government to help itself.
To the dear president of Benin, who told us today that the Pope came to Africa and asked Africa to forgive Europe for her evils done to Africa, I think the Pope should be commended for taking a moral stand, but he’s only halfway there. I appeal to the Pope, on behalf of Africa, there can be no forgiveness without an admission of sin, and there can be no admission of sin without an atonement for what one has done of evil. So, we ask the Pope if he would ask us to forgive, I would ask the Pope from this stand, on behalf of this summit, please, Your Holiness, go to the capitals of Europe and ask them to admit their evil against Africa that is not only yesterday, but today. Ask those in Europe, Your Holiness, if they admit their guilt, ask them how they are willing to atone for their evil.
Since Africa is in debt to Europe and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which is nearly $350 billion and they owe us more than that, then let them atone for their evil by forgiving all debt to Africa.
If his Holiness would do this, I am sure Africa would be willing to forgive, because we have gained from slavery; we have gained with colonialism because, as the Bible teaches, we were not tried with silver and gold, we were tried in the furnace of affliction and we have come out of it stronger and better. Therefore, we demand the right, now, to be heard in the halls of justice because we know what injustice is like. We deserve to be heard speaking out against racism, because we know the effect and the evil of racism. It will not be Black over White or White over Black; but today it must be right over wrong, truth over falsehood, justice over injustice.
Lastly, I say to this magnificent human being, the Reverend Dr. Leon Sullivan, a man whom Allah (God) has inspired with this vision to bring all of us together. Dear Reverend Dr. Sullivan, I want to pledge to you, sir, in perpetuity, the Nation of Islam, all present leaders and future leaders, to the vision of a developed Africa and a developed Black America. But, it must not just stop there, because sons and daughters of Africa are in the Caribbean, they are in Central America, South America, and the Isles of the Pacific. We must unite the sons and daughters of Africa from all over the world. We pledge that we will never let your vision die. So, to my distinguished friends and leaders from Black America, I thank Allah (God) for this summit that allowed me to be in a room with the distinguished Reverend Dr. Leon Sullivan, Reverend Joseph Lowery, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Coretta Scott King, Dorothy Height, these magnificent leaders of our people.
Let us determine, from this day, that we will go back to America and we will let nobody keep us from the body of unity, that we will fight for unity on that side to maximize our power so that we can speak to our government in proper terms and strengthen our government in the will to do better in Africa. That will not happen if we are divided, but it will happen if we can speak with one strong voice. And on this side, if you, the leaders, will not let any European counsel you or American counsel you in division, if you will strengthen your unity and let nothing come between you, then the strong hand in Africa and a strong united hand in America will make the vision of this great man, Reverend Dr. Leon Sullivan, and the vision of W.E.B. DuBois, George Padmore, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Elijah Muhammad, and Malcolm X—we will make it all come to fruition if we will get away from the pettiness of self-aggrandizement and recognize that each one of us is passing from the scene and we must leave our children and our children’s children a better world, a world that will see Africa as a major superpower of the 21st century.