The Potential Greatness of The Caribbean as a Regional PowerBy the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan | Last updated: Dec 5, 2012 - 8:55:47 AM
[Editor’s note: The following article contains excerpts of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s “Message to The Progressive-Conscious Community of Barbados” which he delivered the first day of his most recent tour of various Caribbean islands and nations to bring a message of unity and economic self-sufficiency. This message was delivered at The National Union of Public Workers Building (N.U.P.W.) in St. Michael, Barbados W.I. on Sunday, November 25, 2012.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
I like the thought that I am speaking to people of “consciousness,” because that is a big word that says a lot. The root of the word “consciousness” is comprised of two Latin words, con meaning “with” and scio meaning “to know.” So “consciousness” means with knowledge.
“Knowledge,” however, is never “static” or “stagnant”: Once you think you “know,” if you are not careful then you will reach a “plateau of learning,” and you will find the death of your consciousness. Consciousness must ever-evolve because things which are being guided by God grow, and they change; so “what was” is not what is, and “what is” is not what shall be.
We must never live in The Consciousness of The Past, we must live in The Consciousness of The Present because then we are in Present Time. When you are living in The Consciousness of Yesterday, then you’ve missed “today” and you’re ill-prepared for “what is to come.”
Conscious people that live in The Present are always making The Moment of Tomorrow! And when we are “conscious,” and we are aware of what is happening in our society, then we’re also aware of things that must be fixed, things that must be changed because the things of yesterday that were “all right” are not “all right” today.
Wise people change, evolve, grow and mature, and that is the biggest sign of our “consciousness.” But what we are growing toward is a level of “perfection” that in our lifetime we may never ever see.
The ‘plateau of knowledge’ that results brings ‘intellectual death’
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, our Teacher, taught us that the Universe was created in “six periods of time.” On the number “6” we have the planet on which we live, which weighs six sextillion tons; and Man, according to the Bible, was made on the “sixth day.” The number “6” is a number of “incompletion” or “imperfection,” so if we are made on the number “6,” then dissatisfaction will always be a part of our lives.
When you see things that need to be changed, then you’re “dissatisfied” with things how they presently are. So always among The Dissatisfied will come Someone Who will bring about a Change. But when you are “satisfied,” you stop growing. That is why throughout history, when people become “satisfied” they become complacent, when they become complacent, they reach a plateau of knowledge. When they reach a plateau of knowledge, a certain kind of intellectual death happens.
And when the leadership of the people is intellectually dead, then the society suffers; this is why throughout history we see “the rise” and “the fall” of nations.
No nation, no empire, no matter how great it was, had permanence. It rises, it reaches a peak; and then the signs of decadence begin to appear, and the society begins to crumble and fall. And out of the fall of an old empire, out of the fall of an old nation, out of the fall of an old reality comes a New Thought, a New Leader that will bring about a New Mind, a New Consciousness, a New Awakening of The People; and then they pick up from where they are, onward marching toward The Perfection of the Human Being.
Judged by how we handle the less fortunate in society
If you look at “the society,” look at how we relate to one another. If the love that represents “life” is not in us then we are not “alive” and we are not “conscious.” We are dead. So as the scripture teaches in 1 John, Chapter 3, verse 14, “We can tell that we have passed from death into life because we love the brotherhood”: Anytime you have a society where we don’t feel the pain of the least of the people then you are not “conscious.”
In our travel upward in society, we all have desires, we all want to be “great” in our lifespan, and we want to have the things that make life comfortable for us. And sometimes in our life we achieve a certain level of “comfort,” and sometimes that level of comfort makes us feel that we are “better” than someone who has not achieved that same level of comfort. We can go to college and get a degree, and then we look down on the person in the society that has not been to school, and did not have the same educational opportunity, and we say: “I am so glad that I am not like so-and-so!”—but “so-and-so” has the same potential as yourself.
And if you rise, and your brother is down, then we are judged not by how far we rise, but we are judged by how far we help those less fortunate to rise as we.
In Western culture—the culture that brought us into slavery, the culture that is promoting “White Supremacy” and “Black inferiority”: In that culture we get a “vain existence” where we grow and we get something that we are glad to show off to our neighbor who doesn’t have. We can gloat about our “good” house, car, job, or position—but you can walk by somebody in the society that doesn’t have what you have, and there’s no ache? There’s no pain? There’s no feeling for the less fortunate?
The Disciples of Jesus were with him one day, and they asked him: “Master, when were you hungry and we fed you not? When were you naked and we clothed you not? When were you out-of-doors and we gave you not shelter? When were you sick and imprisoned and we ministered not unto you?” and Jesus answered very wisely: “Inasmuch as you have not done these things unto the least of these, my brethren….” So as much as you admire Jesus Christ and the prophets, yet the least little person in the society is “the brother of Jesus.” Think about that… So if that brother of Jesus said to you, “You know, Jesus is my brother,” you would give him a meal if he was hungry! And if somebody did something to harm him, you would rise to their defense! That is the way we ought to be by every member of our society.
We’re talking about “consciousness”…
We must see the value of Caribbean unity
When I was in Jamaica recently, the home of my father, I met with Edward Seaga, former Prime Minister and leader of the Jamaica Labour Party. And, of course he is a “patriarch,” “behind-the-scenes” guiding, so I asked Mr. Seaga; “Sir, I noticed islands of The Caribbean are economically coming together through Caricom to trade with each other. Do you think that there will ever be a political unity of all of The Caribbean as one great nation?” Mr. Seaga looked at me and said: “No. I don’t think that’s going to happen.” I also sat down with former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, to whom I asked the same question.
I didn’t get an answer that “politically” we are mature enough to see the value of the unity of the whole Caribbean. So I said to myself—and this is everywhere I go; that the mentality is: “We are so happy with ‘our little nation’.”
Close to 300,000 people live in Barbados, which isn’t even the amount a “big city” in America has; however, this is a country with a flag, a national anthem, and a seat in the United Nations! And we are proud of that, but, I ask you: Who is running the economy of the country? It isn’t you. You are 300,000, but the economy is run by Indian, Arab, Chinese, Whites and others that come and see your land as a “Paradise” for themselves. Today White people are coming and taking up residency, and they come bringing their money. Then they get citizenship, and then they get a right to vote, right? Now all the best land gone!
But are you feeding yourself, Barbados? The land is gradually escaping us. And there’s nothing in Barbados more precious than the land, and your woman! Do you know why? The land is the basis of all economic development, and your woman is the creator of your future and mine. So when you let somebody take your land, and use it for their purpose, that’s like somebody coming and taking your woman, and using her for their purpose.
Any man that will not protect his woman is not a man worthy of respect. And any people who will not fight to preserve and protect the land that is theirs is taken over by others who have design on your land.
We’re talking about consciousness! If we are “conscious” as to what is happening in Barbados, in Trinidad, in Guyana, in Jamaica, in St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbuda, then we see that we are losing a grip on the islands that gave birth to our physical form.
Did you know that because of The Inquisitions in Spain and Portugal, persecuted members of the Jewish community either converted to Christianity or fled to maintain their faith; and those that fled ended up in the Caribbean and other parts of the Western Hemisphere, and acquired land. Did you know that a Jewish person is not a “man” if they don’t own land, real estate, and have money to invest in industry? That is a prerequisite for being a man.
What does being a Black man mean? What do you own? What do you have? Look at your woman: She’s the one today going to college. She’s the one getting the education. Where’s the Black man? What is the percentage of unemployment in Barbados? And who are the unemployed? I ask all of these questions because I want us to think about and consider these things, and then work to change certain realities.
Knowing The Value of Land to provide us with our needs
Black people in Barbados have the highest per capita income of any of the islands in the Caribbean, and still you’re poor! Maybe some have enough; but “the masses”? No. We’re the best educated workforce in the Caribbean, but we are not feeding ourselves! You are “conscious,” but not “conscious enough” if you’re not growing enough food to feed yourself and your family, and you’re allowing people to feed you from afar when the Earth under your foot can produce everything that you need to have a healthy existence!
As we flew into Barbados and the plane was coming down I was looking to see if I could see agriculture, if I could see farmland—enough of it to feed the population of Barbados. Today, there is a lot of food coming into the whole of the West Indies from outside. I read that the debt on food imports into the Caribbean alone is over $5 billion. Where does the food come from that you eat? It comes from the United States of America, from Central America, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. But look at how long a journey that is!
If you’ve ever done any gardening, or watching things grow, you would know that in order to transport fresh fruit for example, they have to take the fruit before it ripens, because after “ripe” is “rotten.” So if the food has to travel hundreds of miles, thousands of miles, they take the fruit off the tree before it ripens; then they put it in a chemical process—even coloring it, so it looks good to your eyes. But as a result, you’re now suffering from all kinds of cancer.
“Cancer” was never a “Black man’s disease.” I read recently that Black America in the 1960s was the healthiest minority in the United States. Today, Black people lead in every disease category: We’re “No. 1” in heart failure, stroke, diabetes, stress, AIDS; and all of the cancers—breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, liver cancer… And now that the increase of those diseases is coming like that throughout the West Indies.
Look at your hospitals here and throughout the Caribbean. Are your hospitals here equal to hospitals in more industrial nations? When the wealthy get sick here, where do they go? They go to the United States, England, or Canada.
Health of the people is a human right. Food for the people is a human right! And when your food has to come from so far—when you could “spit” in Barbados and something grows because the soil is so fertile… Yet, you are not growing anything to feed yourself. What are you eating? You don’t even know. You have no idea of the science that is being used to trick you through your taste buds, and through your sexual organs.
‘Think for the whole,’ ‘speak for the whole’
To sum up our talk, “consciousness” means look at the environment; look at what we can do to own the land under our feet, and work the land to feed ourselves, to clothe and shelter ourselves. Our children coming up must begin to think not just for “Barbados,” but think for the whole of The Caribbean because if you don’t think for “the whole,” you won’t begin to speak for “the whole.”
One day I was with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and he was telling me how he wanted me to “think.” He said: “I want you to think for the whole. Not think just for ‘The Nation of Islam,’ think for your people—all of them!” All of them! And here’s what he said to me: “If we have 30 million people that eat 3 meals a day, and in each meal they have 1 slice of bread, well, 30 million eating 3 slices of bread per day, that’s: 90,000,000 slices of bread per day; 630,000,000 slices of bread per week; 32,760,000,000 slices of bread per year. How much land must we have under ‘wheat cultivation’ to give our people their daily bread?” He was making me to think about “land,” and “the acquisition of land.”
Without land you can’t feed yourself. Without land you can’t clothe yourself. Without land you can’t build from the land adequate shelter for your people.
So if somebody else is feeding us, somebody else is clothing us, somebody is building homes for us, then somebody is our “master,” and we are not yet aware of our New Master.
So Barbados, conscious Barbados: Let’s try to effect change. … You must begin to think about the value of agriculture, and think about not just the “greatness” of Barbados, but the potential greatness of The Caribbean as a regional power.
“Consciousness” means we’ve got a lot of work to do. Consciousness means we have to effect change through proper education in our children. The British educational system won’t work! We have to develop an educational system that teaches Black children the knowledge of themselves and our contribution to the onward march of civilization.