Roundtable Discussion with The Honorable Minister Louis FarrakhanBy the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan | Last updated: Jan 9, 2013 - 8:38:57 AM
[Editor’s note: An end of year interview with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan was conducted at the historic Final Call Administration Building and Final Call Newspaper offices in Chicago on New Year’s Day. The media roundtable discussion included Final Call editor Richard B. Muhammad, Assistant Editor Ashahed Muhammad, Staff Writer Starla Muhammad and Senior Editor Askia Muhammad asking Min. Farrakhan questions about events in 2012 and the outlook for 2013. During the interview, Min. Farrakhan announced a special 52-week series of messages, “The Time and What Must Be Done,” scheduled to begin broadcasting Jan. 12, 2013. These weekly messages by Min. Farrakhan will be available via Internet, some traditional media and via DVD. Excerpts of important points from the interview are contained in the selection below, but not every question and response. We strongly encourage our readers to visit store.finalcall.com or call 1-866-602-1230, ext. 200 to get the entire interview. There is no better way to start the new year than with a message of light, life, power and divine guidance.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful
Richard Muhammad, FCN Editor-in-Chief (RM): I’m Richard Muhammad, Editor-in-Chief of The Final Call newspaper. Participating in this interview as well are Assistant Editor Ashahed Muhammad and Staff Writer Starla Muhammad, taking a look at the year 2012 that has passed, and what is to come in 2013. We are pleased and honored to have with us the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, our publisher, and the National Representative of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam to have a great conversation and dialogue. Brother Minister, first of all: Happy New Year. We are very pleased and honored to have you.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan (HMLF): Let me say, I pray that the New Year will be “happy”… But the expression “Happy New Year” is a tradition of this world, and the tradition of this world is to raise as much hell as you can as an old year goes out, make resolutions that you don’t intend to fulfill or you won’t fulfill, and engage in raucous behavior. We, as Muslims, should not participate in such.
The new year may be “happy,” but it may not be happy; so we should wish for everyone God’s Peace in the new year. Whether there are misfortunes that we might face, which won’t make it “happy,” but if God’s Peace is with us, then no matter what trial or circumstance comes up in the new year, that resolve with God will help us to get through.
So I would like say to our readers as well as to the public: The Bible teaches that the old world goes out with “a great noise.” And to symbolize how the old world is going to go out is the way this world lets the old year go out, with lots of noise and frivolity and foolishness and decadence. And as we have been blessed by God to come through an old year, there are so many people who started last year, friends, family, and persons that influenced our lives, who said “Happy New Year” not knowing that it would be their last year on this Earth.
RM: I’d like to start, Brother Minister, on the “cultural scene” if I may. Movies, music and entertainment are America’s No. 1 export to the world. There’s been a great clamor, a great discussion, a great deal of controversy about the movie Django Unchained. What are some of your thoughts about the movie? Do you think it’s significant, or is it just “entertainment”?
HMLF: First, the wicked king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, used music, art, culture, to dumb down the people so that they would not be mindful of how God was wreaking His Wrath on Babylon. “Art” and “culture,” “music,” have a great role to play in any society. It’s how you use what God has given you as a “gift.”
It is unfortunate that what America exports to the world is a decadent culture that is affecting and infecting people throughout our planet; and that’s why certain societies that are Islamic do not want any of America’s culture. It’s difficult to keep it away from young people all over the world; but to take our talented men and women and use them as “sex symbols,” and to spread decadent filth to the world is part of a plot by Satan who is in control of America’s music, art and culture, therefore, to corrupt the talent that God gives, and to use it to dumb down the American people and to dumb down the world’s people; and to make the youth of the world respond to decadence rather than respond to wisdom. As their life is just starting: What kind of life will they have?
So “art” and “culture” and “movies” and “music” have a great place, but the revolution of our thinking must be reflected in our art and our culture. And the talent of our young people must always be used to lift the minds of those who are touched by our music, our song, our dance, our plays, our movies.
And while I’m on that question: I want to say how grateful I am to Tyler Perry. He is probably one of the most brilliant young entrepreneurs that we have. Why do I admire him? I have never seen his portrayal of Madea as “a man cross-dressing.” I saw his wonderful portrayal of Madea as bringing to the forefront the strongest person in the history of our sojourn in America—and that is Madea: That “Strong Black Woman” who was “the cornerstone” of her family! She always was that figure that gave guidance, correction, reprimand, discipline, and Tyler Perry brought her to the screen in “funny” ways, but what I was seeing was the greatness of “The Strong Black Woman” who saw us through from “yesterday” to “today.”
Django: I don’t believe people make movies just to “entertain.” Wise people make movies to move people in certain directions.
In 1970, after 15 years of work, seven days a week, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad sent me to Jamaica to get some sunshine and rest. And while I was there, next to the Holiday Inn where I stayed was a beautiful resort called “The Half Moon,” and one of the great Black actors of the 20th Century, our brother Brock Peters, was making a movie. … When we met and had a wonderful exchange, Brock Peters said to me, “The producer of the film said he would like to meet you,” and took me to the set where the movie was being made. And at a break, the producer came out to meet me—or, “director.” He was a Jewish man, and he said these words to me: “Farrakhan, you seem like a nice person. It’s not you that we fear, it is your ideas.”
Then he said: “There’s a group of us either on 5th Avenue in New York, or in Los Angeles, and we discuss ‘trends.’ And if we see a trend that we disagree with, we utilize our skills, our talents, to begin to move the people in a direction that we feel is best.”
He told me there are “writers,” “script writers,” “book writers,” “artists”—people that influence people; and once they decide on a “trend,” books will come out, movies will come out, plays will come out, writers in newspapers will write, because the Bible refers to the masses of the people as “sheep.” The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said: “We are easily led in the wrong direction, but hard to lead in the right,” so Hollywood is not only “entertainment,” but it’s “shepherding,” or guiding or influencing, behavior!
Someone told me yesterday that the name “Django” really means an “awakened” individual; a slave put to sleep, awakened unchained. What is the message that Mr. Quentin Tarantino is giving to Black and White, and what is in between? The message is that “Django,” a Black man who loved his woman, his wife—and was willing to do whatever it took to free her from the clutches of White people who were misusing her: That man “awake,” “unchained,” became a vengeful man who wanted to wreak havoc on those who had enslaved not just his “wife” and him, and others on his plantation, but he really wanted to see a people set free.
Such a man was Nat Turner. Such a man was Gabriel Prosser. Such a man was Toussaint L’Ouverture, and [Jean-Jacques] Dessalines; [Henri] Christophe… But none of those who rose up in Jamaica, in Antigua, in Brazil, were loved by “The Tom.” “The Tom” always saw those kinds of people as a “threat” to their relationship with their slave masters, and that which could get them hurt. So slave revolts that were written of in our recent Final Call on Christmas Day: Those “Toms” told “massa” what the Blacks were planning, and Black people were slaughtered by the hundreds because “master” wanted to make an “example” of such people …
What message does this send to Black and White? I could have said it in one word. “9/11” is what the Neo-Conservatives dreamed of when they said “we needed another Pearl Harbor.” They got it. Now there is the gun craze in America; there are 1,200 well-armed White militia… I received some facts this morning that there are over 300 million weapons among the American people; and the figures come up to the year 2009. Add three more years [to 2012], and the assault rifles are going off the shelves; and some, they will not be able to get for six months.
There are no more assault rifles available now, because after Barack Obama’s reelection, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the gun enthusiasts say, “Well, we better get what we need.”
Now, [American filmmaker] Michael Moore was looking at Django, and Michael Moore took a position that: “Americans are afraid.” What are you “afraid” of? It’s like a sinner always hearing the footsteps of the police behind them, so they’re always “looking over their shoulder”: No slave master can be “comfortable” with an awakening slave. No slave master can “rest easy,” because the slave, now, is becoming a “problem” in America; no jobs, no money! So you deal drugs to him, you deal guns to him, so he’s a “killer” already—but, he’s insane in his killing!
So, Django Unchained might give “direction” to the bullets! Remember, [Chicago’s] mayor didn’t tell them to “stop shooting,” he told them, “shoot straight” because you’re killing innocent children. And the aldermen that I sat with said as long as our murder and drugs and gang violence was “contained,” and did not ill-affect the broader community, they “really didn’t care” if it went on. … It seems to me that “the message” in that movie was to stir White people to the nature of murder. And, stir Black people to be “unchained”: Awake and deadly. It’s a prescription, in my judgment, for “Race War.” And if that is what is being planned by those who guide “sheep-like people,” I want to warn you: You’re really planning the death of America as a nation under The Wrath of God, for the Black man is no longer “forsaken.”
Ashahed Muhammad, Assistant Editor (AM): Brother Minister, over the past year and a half you’ve been particularly effective interacting with the youth via social media networking; answering hundreds of questions submitted via your popular Twitter Feed. And you’ve also spoken on numerous college campuses across the United States. Do you plan to continue and expand that outreach in the upcoming year? And secondly, what are the keys to survival for our young college students, and the struggling Historically Black Colleges and Universities?
HMLF: I definitely plan, as long as God gives me life, to continue to speak to our young people in the colleges, the universities—and in the streets. And I want to continue, or, we want to continue to encourage leaders and pastors, that the church, the mosque, the synagogue is where those who believe they’re “saved” are. The “unsaved” are in the streets; so Our Work is not in the mosque, it’s not in the synagogue, it’s not in the church, it’s in the streets where the problems are.
Now, the Historically Black Colleges are suffering. They were the bedrock of the production of strong leadership in the ’60s for The Civil Rights Movement. Many of those who were the sparkplugs of what happened in the 60s: Their brilliance is in academia now, so the poetry of Haki Madhubuti, the poetry of Nikki Giovanni, the poetry of Sonia Sanchez: These are gifted scholarly lovers of our people! They’re doing a great job where they are, because they’re teaching young people, and the young people that they’re teaching, hopefully, will be better than the elders that are running things today.
But to take our brilliant people from “movement,” and stop movement toward liberation so much so that the colleges, now, are being taken over: They’re being “merged,” because they don’t want to see an “all-Black” institution anymore because they don’t want coming out of a Black institution what they saw come out in the ’60s!
So what is the future of these Black Colleges and Universities? Respectfully, we must be training young people not to look for a job, but to take those disciplines that will encourage their creative minds to come out and create a job! [Apple Computers founder] Steve Jobs, [Microsoft Computers founder] Bill Gates, [Facebook founder] Mark Zuckerberg: They didn’t graduate from college. They went to college, but their creative minds caused them to do something that not only gave people jobs, but created now the means by which the masses of the planet are quickly awakening, and escaping the controlled media by the elite and oligarchs of the world.
The Black Colleges and Universities must realize that we are in a time period where we must prepare ourselves to do something for ourselves; and prepare ourselves to build a nation and a world that suffices our needs. So “little” subject matter that gives you a degree that means nothing is unacceptable! We must challenge ourselves in these colleges—and not let the so-called advisers, who are mis-advisers, take you out of meaningful disciplines that can help you to carve out a future for yourself and your people, and put you into disciplines that are “easier” for you to attain your degree with a “C” average.
So I intend to continue to be in these colleges and universities, warning our young people that “The Time is Now”: That we should not depend on White America to “do for us” what we must qualify ourselves to do for ourselves!
Starla Muhammad, Staff Writer (SM): Brother Minister, what are your thoughts on the current state of Black leadership? What do Black leaders, groups and organizations need to do to eradicate the road blocks and impediments that seem to prohibit them from working together for the benefit of the masses of our people in 2013, and beyond?
HMLF: The Black leadership is committed to an America that accepts us; an America that they can encourage to make a way for us; an America that would allow the income gap between Black and White to close. An America that is post-racial. I don’t find fault with them. These are brilliant men and women in a direction that we, as Muslim followers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, believe is fruitless [and] they won’t know that until they run into the reality that 2013, 2014 and 2015 is going to teach them. Then, they will turn. … And I believe the scriptures; that we are going to stand up an “exceedingly great army,” and then we will know that God, The Saviour, is among us to make us again into a Great People. Just be patient. It’s all coming where God wants it to go.
SM: What guidance, and practical advice, would you give Black women who are single, have sons, and the father is not part of the child’s life? How can women effectively raise and guide these young boys into responsible manhood? How can women ensure that they are “guiding”—but not “babying” their sons?
HMLF: Be like Madea! I didn’t have a father in my house. My mother was strong enough to be anybody’s “father.” We’ve got these strong Black women, but [they can’t just] sit around, watching “stupid television,” watching that which makes them feel that their power is in “sex” rather than in the brilliance of their minds, and their deep spiritual connection to God—that was “Madea,” that was “grandma”! That was the hands of grandma that helped the children that produced children to “rock that cradle” well.
And so, Black women need to stop thinking that you necessarily need a weak man in your house. You just need to rise up, and take strength, like that woman in the Bible that had a child for Abraham, Hagar. As a Muslim, when we go to Mecca we run between The Hills (The Safa and The Marwa), following Hagar’s Path. She was running, but she was looking to “The Hills” for help. In The Psalms of David, Chapter 121, he said:“He would look to the hills”—but then there’s a question: “From whence cometh my help?” It wasn’t coming from “the hills,” “My help cometh from The Lord.”
Strong Black women! Moral Black women! Women who will remain chaste; keeping their hands in God’s Hands while we work to make a man for them; and, become real men for them! But The Enemy is afraid of any Black man that will be strong enough to swim against the tide of weak men, weak leadership! They work to destroy strong men, so that Black women have no man to look up to except the slave masters’ children. Wrong again! God is making Men today! As He made men in “the beginning,” He has to make a Man today, and many men; so we’ve got to double Our Work in cleaning up the ghetto, getting our men up and moving! We’ve got to strengthen our men, and, hold our women in check, in the sense that they don’t give up hope on us.
RM: Our Senior Editor Askia Muhammad, longtime respected journalist from Washington, D.C., asks: “Do you believe President Obama will try to live up to the promise of his dream in his 2nd term? Or will he just continue to capitulate to the powerful interests with which he surrounded himself in his 1st term?”
HMLF: I believe that our brother will try, but he will be overwhelmed by the forces. And if he doesn’t bend to those forces, they’ll find a way to make sure that he doesn’t fulfill four more years.
RM: Minister Farrakhan, we’re here in The Final Call Building which is the first permanent home as you’ve rebuilt the Work of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, having this wonderful interview. But you have also been here doing an additional work, producing a Series of Messages that we expect to see in this new year titled, “The Time and What Must Be Done.” Would you please share something of that series in whatever way that you wish? And thank you very much for the interview.
HMLF: It’s a privilege to be here at The Final Call Building where it began for us in our first, real “home.” I’m privileged to be here where our first great editor, Wali Muhammad, championed the Message of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad—an uncompromising giant. And, coming behind him, you all have picked up the baton from that great brother, and are carrying it on. And I believe that if he were here, he would be as proud of you all as I am.
We intend, for the next 52 weeks, to deal with The Subject that was given by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad: “The Time and What Must Be Done.” The Honorable Elijah Muhammad finished his time among us with a series of lectures called “The Theology of Time”; and we, in this Time, want our people to understand that “Time” is “The Yardstick” that judges our actions. …
If we understand that we are supposed to be “free” men and women, then we must not act as “slaves”—that, as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught me, is not good “subject and verb agreement.” We are in The Present, and our actions should not be of The Past Mentality of a Slave who sits around begging others, “Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme!”—No! [But rather, exclaim]: “I’m free, now! Let me do something for myself!
But you, America, should help us! Because we gave you all that we had: Three-hundred ten years of chattel slavery; 150 years as a “free” slave, where we built the economy of the South that fueled the Industrial Revolution of the North. We fought in every war that America has had; not for “our” freedom, but for America’s freedom, and for the freedom of others who came to America and found “The American Dream”—and built it on The Nightmare of Black Existence.
So, no! It’s Time, now, for the Black man and woman to realize it’s on us to make a future for ourselves and our children, and our unborn generations. And I will be doing everything I can in this year to provide that Guidance! But I am telling you, as The Qur’an says in Surah 103 Al-Asr (“The Time”): “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 Time” will Judge our actions. And if our actions are not correspondent to “The Time,” we will continue down The Road of Intense Regret over “great loss.”