A New Beginning; Minister Farrakhan and Betty ShabazzBy The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan | Last updated: Feb 21, 2009 - 1:48:34 PM
Historic Speech at Harlem's Apollo Theater
The Murder of Malcolm X (Web Videoby Minister Louis Farrakhan, 1991)
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful
I greet all of you my dear brothers and sisters, distinguished platform dignitaries and our sister, Dr. Betty Shabazz, with the greeting words of peace. We say it in the Arabic language As-Salaam-Alaikum. But it means Peace Be Unto You.
To this wonderful body of brothers and sisters who made this night possible. To Haki Madhubuti and to Leonard Farrakhan Muhammad, Dr. Betty Shabazz, Mr. Percy Sutton, Mr. William Kuntsler, Congressman Charles Rangel, to the many who spoke to the leaders present, it is a great honor and privilege for me and for us to be here this evening at the world famous Apollo theater in celebration of the victory of God's intervention in our affairs.
We thank Him for His Guidance to us that caused us to see the snare and the trap in the evil machinations of those who attempted to ensnare and entrap the daughter of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz.
We thank Allah for His Guidance to me and to us that He enabled to avoid an emotional response to the indictment of Sister Quibilah that could have exacerbated present tensions and created an atmosphere similar to that which was created 30 years ago--that additional harm might be done to the Shabazz family, to the Nation of Islam, and to Black people in general.
I am grateful to Allah (God) for this moment in time and I am forever in His debt for having guided us safely to this moment. I am grateful to Allah (God) for this victory of our unity over the wicked machinations of those in positions of power who fear our rise and the consequence of our unity. I am grateful to the government of the United States for releasing Sister Quibilah. And I am grateful to each and every one in this audience and in audiences across this nation whose hope is brightened and whose joy is heightened at the possibility of our reconciliation.
There is a Chinese proverb that says, "The journey of a 1,000 miles begins with one step." The loss of the sacred life of Malcolm X is comparable to a 1,000 mile journey and our efforts represent a first step in a long journey that we pray Allah (God) will bless to end with total reconciliation of us as members of one family, that as the Holy Qur'an teaches, that our latter days may be better than our former days.
It is said that, "there is a thin line between love and hate." Love and hate carry the same emotional fervor. One is positive and the other is negative. One is creative and the other is destructive. But when one loves as deeply as we have loved each other, and then, the bond is broken and hate replaces love, we are forced to ask the question what changed our direction? What forces interfered with this bond? When a man loves a woman and a woman loves a man and the love turns to hate, it is more than likely that this turn comes because of a sense of betrayal.
Betrayal is when one loves and puts complete trust in an individual, religion, ideology, or program and then that one feels that his or her confidence, trust and loyalty was misplaced.
This produces a breech, a chasm, a great divide it does not appear that anyone is able to bridge. It is comparable to ones attempting to build a bridge from the west coast of United States to the mainland of China.
No engineer would be foolish enough to even attempt such, and certainly no one would wish to spend the money to do it even if it could be done, and therefore such a bridge would be considered improbable, unwise and an impossible task.
The probability of our being here today was unseen by any of us. The probability of a headline on the front page of The Final Call saying, "Free Quibilah!" with a picture of Dr. Betty Shabazz and myself was unthinkable just a few short months ago. The fact that we are here today under these circumstance says that no ordinary architect was involved in building this bridge. This had to be the work of a Mighty God. A Mighty God who desires our unity and the reconciliation of us as individuals and as a people. So, I bow in complete submission and praise of Allah (God) for His Great Intervention that has given us this moment of victory.
The scripture says, "This is the day that the Lord has made so let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Although this scripture is referring to the Sabbath which is the Lord's day. This is a day or a period or a millennium given to heal the people who have been blinded and destroyed by the touch of Satan. This is the Sabbath and we who have been blinded by the touch of Satan are in the process of being healed.
I believe that the entrapment of Sister Quibilah was part of a much wider conspiracy.
There is no way that the government of the United States would permit Michael Summers Fitzpatrick, a member of the Jewish community, to assassinate Louis Farrakhan knowing the possible repercussions that it could cause. I do not believe that the government wanted or wants a Caucasian person to be openly involved in an attempt at my assassination. Their desire would be that a member of our own Black family, preferably a Muslim or a nationalist, would attempt such to throw our whole house into complete chaos and confusion.
The government admits that it worked night and day to bring about a separation between Brother Malcolm X and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Once this division was accomplished, the government by its own admission had agents on both sides to manipulate the zeal and the ignorance inside the ranks of the Nation of Islam and among the followers of Brother Malcolm X to create the atmosphere that allowed him to be assassinated and the Nation of Islam to sustain wounds from which it has never recovered.
The devastation resulting from the wicked machination of the government sent many brothers and sisters from the Nation of Islam back into drugs, crime, insanity, and it caused the destruction of entire families. Sister Betty Shabazz and her family has not recovered; the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's family has not recovered; my family has not recovered; the Nation of Islam has not recovered; and Black people have not recovered from these terrible wounds.
It is sad that there are those who do not want to see Sister Shabazz and I sit down to make an honest attempt at reconciliation when we are both victims of a wider conspiracy. A conspiracy that did not start with Malcolm X or the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. A conspiracy that certainly did not start with Sister Betty or myself. This conspiracy started with the government of the United States because of its hatred of the movement that Malcolm X and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad had generated and the affect that these two men were having on Black America.
J. Edgar Hoover was determined that no Black Messiah would rise to unite our people in their quest for justice and true liberation. An untold sum of taxpayer dollars was used by the FBI to hurt the legitimate movement of our people toward liberation. Our zeal, our love and hatred, our ignorance was manipulated by powerful outside forces and the result is that members of the Nation of Islam were involved in the assassination of Malcolm X. And the Nation has taken the heat and carried the burden of the death of Malcolm X. We cannot deny whatever our part was. That is true. But we must not let the real culprit get away by hiding his hand and keeping us fighting and killing one another.
WE DIDN'T VOLUNTARILY split from each other. There was manipulation. There was stimulation of our own pettiness, of our own weaknesses by outside forces and the government is that outside force. The FBI is that outside force. So Betty and I shouldn't be here alone. The government has to answer for what has happened. We know the hurt of the prominent ones among us. But what about those other families? Families of the unnamed ones that are broken to pieces. Daughters who were virgins destroyed. Young men and women that had hope in a movement destroyed. Thousands of lives ruined because the government feared our unity. We carried no weapons. We threatened no laws. We broke no laws. But because we had an ideology and a philosophy that the government did not like we were targeted by the government. They didn't need laws passed by Congress to tap our phones, to follow us around, to harass us day and night.
Today no one criticizes the Europeans who fought a 30 Year War, a 100 Year War, and two World Wars, for sitting down to form a bond for the purpose of economic and political unity though rivers of blood and millions of lives were lost to accomplish that goal. No one criticizes the Germans, both German Jews and non Jews, who sit together forty years after the Holocaust and attempt to move forward for the sake of Germany. Their efforts are called progressive.
People say on the White House lawn and they applauded Yassir Afrafat and Yitzak Rabin for their efforts of reconciliation although bitter hatred exists between the Arab world and Israel. The very thought of peace between them is received with great joy throughout the world. The Irish and the British, who have been at war with one another for years, not come together across pools of their peoples' blood yet their handshake has been received with gladness.
In South Africa, Nelson Mandela sat down with his persecutors and the world saw by satellite a Black man become president of a country we never believed we would live to see such happen. An applause was made at an attempt to reconcile differences even though years and years of devastation had gone on in that country.
Yet when the Crips and the Bloods sit down in a sincere attempt to reconcile and make peace, they are the object of scorn and mockery. When it was learned that Sister Betty and I would meet and speak this evening it became world news, but how will you treat our simple and meager steps? Some of our own people are guilty of scorn and mockery. "I wouldn't sit down with him Sister Betty," they said. "Mr. Sutton why are you defending Quibilah," they said. "How could you do this Farrakhan?" they said. But you who scorn our efforts, you can excuse America for four hundred years of the worst enslavement in the annals of history. You who have scorned and mocked our humble beginning of a ruptured family trying to make it back together, but you are willing to fight and die just to sit with your oppressor. You are happy to be accepted by your oppressor without reparation or consideration, yet you would mock us for sitting down to try and carve out a future of our people.
The Chinese and the Japanese were enemies for centuries but today they talk peace. The Americans and Vietnamese today are making plans to exchange ambassadors after a bitter, costly war. Why do people sit down and talk after hatred and bitterness and bloodshed has been between them? Because it is the hope of man and woman to solve the problems that keep us from enjoying peace, happiness, and security. Why then would any of you mock this humble beginning toward the resolution of conflict?
This is why we want the files on Malcolm X to be opened so that the world may see the real truth of what went down. We want the truth to be made known so that we as a people can be made free of suspicion and of doubt and let the truth condemn whomever truth would condemn. But the people must go free and we, the Nation of Islam, as well as those outside of the Nation of Islam, need to know all of the truth as it relates to the assassination of Brother Malcolm X.
In my short meeting with Sister Betty Shabazz, she spoke for a few minutes and in that few minutes that she spoke, I understood that there is something about this whole drama that I don't know because I don't know her side. And if you don't know her side, and if you don't know what she went through, and if you don't know why she made the decisions that she made, how can we say we know the truth? We know our side but we don't know her side and we may not know all of our side, but the government knows all of the sides. So let's open the files up. Let us all see. Lying demons. They know that Farrakhan had nothing to do with the murder of Brother Malcolm X. My zeal and love for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was manipulated.
In the government's releasing of Quibilah, and not taking this case to trial, in one sense it is a great victory, but in another sense this protects those in government who were involved in the conspiracy. It protects those who paid Fitzpatrick and it protects the wider scheme of my planned assassination from coming to light. You don't think that the government was stupid enough and dumb enough to concoct such a foolish thing as that. It was a wider scheme. It never was to come to trial. It was supposed to lure me into a fight with Dr. Shabazz and her children. If they paid $45,000 to this cheap hustler, how much money have they put in other sections of the community? This is no lightweight thing, they had a full range plan. That man knew what his job was, there are others but we didn't fall into the trap. Not because we are brilliant but because God has guided us and history has taught us.
NONE OF US IN PUBLIC LIFE who are engaged in the struggle of our people for justice are free from errors or mistakes.
Humility is a characteristic that oftentimes is taken as weakness but it is the greatest characteristic of a righteous human being. It is humility not pride and arrogance that allows us the ability to see our own mistakes and errors.
It is humility that allows us to seek forgiveness for our wrongs. It is humility that allows us to be willing to atone for our sins.
To be humble means having a feeling of insignificance, subservience. The Bible says one should not think more of oneself than one should. The Holy Qur'an teaches, "You can tell the righteous for they walk the earth in humbleness." The characteristic of humility has to be present in us if wounds are to be healed.
Any of us who struggle in this great cause of justice and liberation have no doubt offended others who are also involved in the same struggle or we have offended those on the sidelines who watch as we struggle. The Bible teaches, "For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able to bridle the whole body."
None of us are blessed to be perfect. So, in some way we have hurt others in our attempt to struggle for justice for our people. This hurt and offense created by words, deeds, misunderstandings, all are part of our human condition, which demands redress.
If we are humble, no matter what our position or station in life, we will recognize wrong when it is pointed out to us and seek forgiveness and make atonement. Forgiving each other is not necessary but is divinely commanded as we struggle with ourselves and as we struggle to build righteous character as we move toward the liberation or our people.
If we cannot forgive each other and set aright our actions and correct the wrongs, then, we will go down into the dust from whence we sprung having left to a future generation the legacy of our unwillingness to set a better example for our children.
Peter asked Jesus, "Master how often shall I forgive?" Jesus said, "70 times seven times." Why such a number? Seventy times seven actually represents infinity.
This spirit of forgiveness is absolutely and vitally necessary to effect redemption, restoration, and reconciliation.
We have a prayer that is recorded in the Holy Qur'an that reads, "I have been unjust to myself and I confess my faults; so grant me protection against all my faults, for none grants protection against faults but Thee."
Each Muslim is asked to say this prayer bearing witness of our injustice to self. And you know if we are unjust to self we are bound to be unjust to others and therefore we must seek protection against our faults and we must be quick in this struggle to forgive particularly those of us who are well intentioned.
The disciples asked Jesus, "Master teach us how to pray," and he gave his followers a prayer that has become the oft-repeated prayer of Christians. It is called the Lord's Prayer and in it Jesus teaches His followers to pray and there is a particular verse that the supplicant asks God to forgive our trespassers as we forgive those who trespass against us.
To trespass is an unlawful act causing injury to the person, property, or rights of another, committed with force or violence, actual or implied; a wrongful entry upon the lands of another; an encroachment of intrusion, an offense, a sin, or a wrong.
Jesus knew that even if we followed His Teachings we still would not be free from the commission of sin or injury so He asked us to pray to the Father for forgiveness for our sins. But He also asked us to have the spirit of forgiveness toward those who have sinned against us.
I WILL MENTION THREE great acts of forgiveness. The Qur'an calls the narrative on the life of Joseph the most beautiful of narratives. The story is tragic, a man being sold into bondage by his own brothers, who were envious of him, but he did not respond to his brothers with bitterness and hatred. But he used a heart of mercy. That's where the real beauty was. His heart was so beautiful because it was heart after God's heart and so Joseph's heart was used to reconcile the brothers with the father and with each other.
Christians always talk about Jesus' torment and in the midst of excruciating pain on the cross he said, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Our enemies have been doing what they do a long time and we have been very quick to forgive them. But we have been made very ignorant, not full of love for self, so in our dislike for self we have blundered and hurt one other tremendously. We don't have the willingness to forgive a father or forgive a mother, a sister or a brother who has offended us, but Jesus forgave his tormentors.
The Prophet Muhammad in conquering Mecca forgave all of his enemies. If we, in the closing years of the 20th century, can humble ourselves when we are wronged; pray and seek forgiveness and reconciliation, if we can do this, then this moment of victory that we celebrate this evening will lead to a great victory celebration in the 21st century, the celebration of our total liberation in the United States of America and throughout the earth.
This wound in the Black nation over the assassination of Malcolm X, this wound in the Nation of Islam over his assassination cannot be healed except by the knowledge of truth and justice done in accordance with truth. Although the Holy Qur'an holds Prophets and Messengers of Allah (God) blameless and sinless the Qur'an states that if Allah (God) were to punish man for his sins not one soul would be left alive on the earth. This is why in the nature of Allah (God) the quality of mercy is predominant.
There is dark side to the moon, but Allah (God) keeps the bright side facing the earth, because the dark side cannot plant or harvest by the dark side of the moon. Nothing can be nurtured by the dark side of the moon. It is only the bright side of the moon, that side that reflects the light of the sun that is used in the nurturing process. The moon symbolically represents the Prophets of Allah (God). They are shown in Qur'an and Bible as nurturers of their communities, even though they have faults Allah (God) keeps their bright side in front of the people.
David the Psalmist said, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered."
The enemy of Allah (God) and the enemy of man is always probing the dark side of human nature to use it to help us in self destruction and in the destruction of others. He listens to our conversations and he watches us from whence we see him not, and his aim it to say to Allah (God) look at those whom you have chosen none of them are worthy.
The Bible teaches that, this wicked one accused the Prophets and the righteous night and day before the throne, but it is written that this wicked one will be cast down.
This year, October 16, 1995, we propose a Million Man March on Washington and we call it the day of atonement. Meaning "at-one," coming together as one, being as one, reconciling our differences. The Qur'an talks about Satan as the accursed one. One removed from God. Sin makes us remote from God and any human being who is removed from God is removed from power, from the sensitivity that is necessary to cultivate the better qualities of self. Sin has brought this breach. Our lack of oneness with God. And so on this day of atonement we are asking the government of America to acknowledge her sins against the people. We are going to acknowledge our sins but America has to acknowledge her sins against the people. She has to repent and make atonement for her sins against the struggle of poor and Black people for justice and her sins against the Nation of Islam, the Black Panther Party, the civil rights movement, other organizations, Black and white, with whom the government has some ideological or philosophical disagreement. Perhaps in the government's making atonement she can help herself and her people toward making a new beginning.
The government of America has to turn away from the abuse of power and authority; turn away from that which is wicked, improper and unrighteous. Whether the government atones or not, let us do this so that so that the gaping wound in us and our families and our people as a whole may be healed.
IN CONCLUSION, it is written if my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.
As I leave you, approximately 10 years ago, I had a dream about Brother Malcolm. A dream that was so real to me, I have only quoted it once in Detroit, Michigan. In this dream Brother Malcolm X came to me. There was a hint of gray in his hair, which signified that he had aged, and it was about a time when he would have been 60 years old. This year I believe he would have been 70. He came to me and said to me, "Brother Louis, what went wrong?" Because I had walked a ways in his shoes, I explained to him in the dream what I experienced in the Nation similar to his and what I believed went wrong.
When I finished speaking with him he said he was going to seek the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and make some attempt at reconciliation. My heart was filled with joy, because I knew that with Malcolm by my side in the struggle for our people I would be so greatly strengthened. When I awakened from the dream I was troubled. I wanted to know why after years I would dream a dream like this an see him so real having aged about 20 years from the last time I had seen him.
And dear Sister Betty Shabazz, in that same year I was making a speech in Los Angeles and before I made the speech a mutual friend connected me in a telephone conversation with Sister Atillah Shabazz, Malcolm's oldest daughter, whom I felt very close to when she was a little girl. This is the first time in those 10 years that I have mentioned this telephone call. But when I spoke to Atillah, she spoke to me of tremendous pain, pain that she felt as a daughter that on the 19th of May so many students would invite her to come and speak but she would have rather visited her father on his birthday. She thought about a son that she might have or a child that she might have and like to see sitting on the lap of its grandfather and she said that will never be now. I don't know how long we spoke. I listened a lot but when I finished that call with Sister Atillah, as Allah (God) is my witness, for nearly the next year my prayers to Allah were constantly to heal Atillah and to heal the Shabazz family and to heal us. Little did I know that 10 years later a negative and unfortunately circumstance would be used by Allah (God) to cause us to sit and talk with each other.
It is my fervent prayer and my hope that a dialogue between Betty Shabazz and myself will be encouraged to continue and it is my fervent hope and prayer that the children of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, the children of Jesse Jackson, the children of Martin Luther King, the children of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and the children of Louis Farrakhan will come together and write a new chapter in our people's struggle for justice free of the pain of their parents and the mistakes and errors of the parents. We pray for Allah's forgiveness for our mistakes and errors and I personally pray that Allah will allow the heart of Sister Shabazz and her children and us to face truth and in that spirit if I have been wrong or wronged I will seek forgiveness and will petition Allah and you for the same.
May Allah (God) bless us in this year of reconciliation to make an atonement or expiation for our sins against each other and may we use this night and the spirit of this night to recommit ourselves to each other and the struggle. May Allah (God) bless us to be more patient with each other and bless us to use our tongues and our hands for the creative and regenerative of life of our community. May hatred be turned again to love and may that bond of love that only God can produce, never again be broken.
Thank you and may Allah bless you as I greet you in peace. As-Salaam-Alaikum.