The #AskFarrakhan Social Media Townhall Q&A, Pt. 1By the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan | Last updated: Oct 6, 2012 - 12:52:37 PM
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
[Editor’s note: The following article is derived from the first-ever “#AskFarrakhan Social Media Townhall Q&A” which was webcast live from The Final Call Administration Building in Chicago, Illinois, September 26, 2012. Moderated by The Final Call newspaper’s Assistant Editor Ashahed M. Muhammad, this forum allowed people all over the world via the social network mediums of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, the opportunity to pose questions on any subject to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan for his perspective and guidance. This article is comprised of a small number of questions posed to Minister Farrakhan that evening, and we encourage you to order this historic event in its entirety on DVD and CD. Please call 1.866.602.1230, ext. 200, or visit store.finalcall.com. Don’t forget to follow Minister Farrakhan on Twitter: @LouisFarrakhan.]
Ashahed M. Muhammad (AM): As-Salaam Alaikum! My name is Ashahed Muhammad and I am the Assistant Editor of The Final Call, and welcome to the Historic Final Call Administration Building here in Chicago, Illinois for the first “#AskFarrakhan Social Media Townhall Q&A”.
“Social media” is an ever-present reality, with hundreds of millions worldwide tuning in [via] Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, on a daily basis, to communicate and share ideas. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has maintained a Twitter presence for the last year and a half, constantly engaging with the public, and tonight he will answer some of the hundreds of questions that you all have submitted via The Nation of Islam Social Media Networks, as well as from a number of prominent curators from across the nation.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan (HMLF): Thank you, Brother Ashahed. And to all of those who are watching by internet, it’s a great honor and a privilege to be here to talk, really, to the world through our young people who are sitting in this audience; and curators, and others.
So without any further delay, I would like to start, sir, with the first question.
AM: Absolutely, Brother Minister. Our first question came to us via Facebook from Craig White in Washington, D.C., and he asks: “I think you’re more than a ‘politician’, but if President Obama had invited you to be in his cabinet, how would you have advised him?”
HMLF: I am a spiritual teacher, and “politics” is a business of compromise—and, I can’t compromise the Words of God. So, if I was in his cabinet, there are many things that I would have advised him on.
During the upcoming Holy Day of Atonement to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sunday, October 14, 2012, I intend to take that opportunity—not as a “member of his cabinet,” but as a spiritual teacher, and a member of a suffering Black community—to give our brother some words of advice.
AM: The next question comes to us from Eric Marshall of New Jersey via Twitter, who asks: “What is your prediction on what, if anything, would change after the November 6th election? And what’s the point in voting?
HMLF: So many people fought and bled and died for the right of Black people to vote. In the past, we have voted for “one evil” against another, but now for the first time in a long time, Black people have the privilege of voting for our own. Even though the political system is not “the answer” to what we suffer; yet, the “right to vote” is a right that we shouldn’t take for granted. So I think our people should vote, and vote your conscience.
And in this next election, which is probably one of the most important elections in the history of America, I would advise our people to vote, and vote what you think is in your best self-interest.
AM: Next is a question from Jarvis Washington of Miami via Facebook: “I recently read that you went to Cuba and met with President Raúl Castro. Why did you go to Cuba? And why is it that you seem to be friends with everyone that America hates, such as Castro, Gadhafi, and Ahmadinejad of Iran?”
HMLF: Evidently, America is on the wrong side of History.
If I am a “friend” of those who fight to deliver the masses from oppression; if I am a “friend” of those who suffer from powers that refuse to acknowledge their service to the masses of the people, then I am a friend of Abraham and Moses and Jesus and Muhammad, for they, too, were hated by those in power because they spoke for The Poor who had no voice. So I am in good company.
AM: From Robin Lawson of San Diego via Facebook: “How do you think the conflict in Syria will be resolved? And is this another case of America unjustly meddling in the affairs of another nation?
HMLF: I think the young woman that asked this question already answered it: It is America’s unfair meddling in the internal affairs of other nations.
As you may know, the Neo-Conservatives targeted Syria; targeted Muammar Gadhafi, and Libya; targeted Somalia and other nations—and especially Iran—for regime change. And the Congress of the United States voted to send $150,000,000 to stir up trouble inside of Iran to produce “regime change.” In Cuba, 70 percent of the people on that island look just like you and me. And that island is suffering simply because Fidel Castro wanted an “egalitarian” society where the poor would become possessors of the lands that were owned by the rich and the powerful.
So yes: I am a friend, both of Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl; and I am a friend of all of those who fight for the liberation of the masses of the people.
AM: Next is a student at Texas Southern University in Houston, Andreau Berry, who submitted her question via YouTube: “My question is in regards to musical artists such as Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, and reality TV shows such as “Love and Hip Hop”: Do you agree that they are damaging the image of the Black woman, and sending a negative message to our youth? And what is the parent’s responsibility in regards to this issue?”
HMLF: Nicki Minaj and Rihanna are two of our most beautiful and talented young women. We have to understand that when we become great in this world, there are those who would like to “manage” our careers; and in order to put us before the world, they don’t focus on our gift or our talent alone, they focus on our beauty and our form.
There’s no doubt that Rihanna is a beautiful, beautiful woman, with a beautiful form, and so is Nicki Minaj, so the management, and those who run that industry, love to sell “sex” along with the talent. So I would hope that in the future we would see “The Gift of God”: That our “voice” is a Gift from God, our “talent” is a Gift from God, and so to allow ourselves to be corrupted … And then to show our women that if they disrobe, if they act in a way that “tempts” men to bring out the worst part of the man, then we are destructive to the moral character of our people.
So, I would not blame Rihanna or Nicki Minaj, because it is a system in place out there. But soon that will change, and our women will present themselves in a much better manner.
AM: Now, we received many questions regarding Muammar Gadhafi, and the circumstances surrounding his death. One email that we received came with a picture of the cover of The New York Times Magazine (February 22, 1987 edition), which reads “TARGET QADDAFI” (the title of an article written by Seymour M. Hersh). The person who sent us this cover said many times that they have heard you mention certain things that have “triggered” your thought process in seeing that the war on Libya was also a “war on Black youth here in America,” and a “war on The Nation of Islam,” and so they ask: “How do you decide to move on a thing when you receive something that you have read or have heard? How does it ‘click,’ to make it so that you speak out about it occurring in the future?”
HMLF: One of the great things about the Honorable Elijah Muhammad: He was deeply, deeply involved in understanding the Prophets of God and their prophecies concerning this Hour in which we live. So, when you understand the prophets and the prophecies, you see “the headlines” before the headlines come on the page of any newspaper or magazine, or television show.
So we knew, from the Experience I had on The Mother Wheel in 1986, that Muammar Gadhafi, and Libya, was a “target”—that as this tiny nation in Africa, with an African leader, was a “thorn in the side” of the imperialist governments of The West, so is this tiny “Nation of Islam” in America a “thorn in the side” of those who manipulate the ignorance of Black people; who pit Black people against each other so that The Enemy does not have to kill us—they put us in a state where we are doing their job for them.
So as they moved on Gadhafi and destroyed his Revolution, and ultimately killed our brother, that is the same aim that’s in their heart for The Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan.
AM: Josephine Poston from Chicago, Illinois, via Facebook, asks: “What has been the result, or impact, of your walks through Chicago’s neighborhoods? And do you find that the people you meet stay engaged with The Nation of Islam?”
HMLF: From what I have been blessed to see, walking through the streets of Chicago has allowed me to look in the eyes, in the faces, of a suffering people.
In the Old Testament of the Bible, the scripture teaches that God visited Egypt; and that God was in a “burning bush.” To explain this, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said what God saw upon His visit made Him so angry, that the bush was “burning,” yet it did not “disintegrate.” God is angry at the condition of the people! So when I, along with the F.O.I. [Fruit of Islam] went into the street, I saw firsthand the condition of our people. And that strengthens my resolve to help, with the help of others, to change that reality.
Whether they “connect” with The Nation of Islam or not, that’s not what I’m there for. I’m there for them to connect with Truth: To connect with what is right, what is good for themselves and their families. Whether they are “Muslim” or “Christian,” or have no religious affiliation at all, I want them to connect to those principles that will make a better man, a better woman; a better community, a better church, a better mosque, a better synagogue.
And then we can work to make our community a decent place for all of us to live.
AM: Now this next question came to us via email from an individual who is actually incarcerated, “Big Meech,” who is currently serving a 30-year sentence in the penitentiary: “I’m currently in the Feds with too many young Black men who are victims of the War on Drugs which adversely affects our community disproportionately. 1) How do today’s youth find income in this poor economy to prevent incarceration? and 2) How do we help free those who have draconian sentences for selling drugs (non-violent offenders)?”
HMLF: Well, to my brother who is in prison: There’s no real “war on drugs”—that’s a claim, because drugs are coming into this country every day, and they find their way into the Black community.
Our young Black men are being “socially engineered” because there are no jobs for them, and the school system has failed us. So, our young Black men find that the “only way” they can get some of the material things that they see on television is that they must engage in some form of behavior that goes counter to the law of the society.
This is purposely done, because prison, now, is “big business.” You know, the prison industrial complex is now on the Stock Market, and the “privatizing” of the prison industry is going on as we speak! Therefore, just as people don’t build hotels if you don’t expect occupancy: People don’t build prisons unless you expect people to fill those prisons.
To our young people, particularly those in this audience and those that are watching around the country and around the world: “Rap” came from us. It started in the South Bronx; it started with conscious rappers like Public Enemy, KRS-One, and Big Daddy Kane whose rap was called “edu-tainment.” Many of them were selling their rap songs out of the trunks of their cars, so they bypassed the big record companies, the big distribution networks. They were doing it themselves, and making good money! Well, I read recently in an article that a conference took place in a rich man’s house on the outskirts of Los Angeles, California; where all record executives were invited to this home, and in that home were people who were representatives of the prison industry. The theme was: “We have to change this ‘edu-tainment’ to ‘gangster rap.’”
Once “gangster rap” started, you then started seeing “beefs” between “this rapper and that rapper,” because every rapper had their “posse,” right? And then these “beefs” ended up with “this side” killed; as a result, vengeance, and “the other side” is killed. Then, The Enemy would come arrest you because you had drugs, you had guns. Well, where do you go? To the penitentiary! Now the prisons are filled: Filled with not just young Black and Brown men and boys, but with women and girls. And they’re building more prisons now, so my appeal to our young people, to my brothers and sisters who are rappers: I want you to see that you are a part of a scheme; that you don’t realize that you are an unwitting collaborator in a scheme that is to destroy you and your future.
If you go to these record executives right now with a “clean” rap, they’ll tell you: “Oh, that’s not going to sell.” … Rappers: When you make a filthy song, a filthy rap, and it gets to become a “hit,” then the way you show that you are now a “hit,” you go and buy some “bling-bling.” So the same record executive: He herds you to his brother who’s in the diamond business, or in the gold business. And then you come back among your people showing them, “I’ve made it now!”—but how did you “make it”? You made it by degrading yourself, and degrading your women; and, saying things that promote a “gangster lifestyle.” And then you get busted, and the jails are full.
Tupac is dead, Biggie Smalls is dead—so many wonderful artists are now dead, gone; as Michael Jackson said: “Gone too soon.” So be careful, my dear brothers and sisters who rap.
I think that if we stand up to these record executives and say that we are not going to degrade our women, and we’re not going to degrade ourselves—because if you walk out on them, they’re not going to make any money… if we as a people decide to resist Satan, then it will be in fulfillment of the scriptures of the Bible which teaches: “Resist that devil, and he’ll flee from you.”
To be continued.