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A response to Mr. Junior Campbell Reparations: Power concedes nothing without a Demand

By Abdul Arif Muhammad, Esq. | Last updated: Jun 10, 2014 - 9:51:13 PM

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Mr. Campbell, I’ve recently read your article on titled: “Divisive Farrakhan sings revolution for reparations,” posted on June 3, 2014.  Throughout your article you make perverse comparisons of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s remarks at an April 19, 2014 Reparations Conference in Chicago, Illinois, to Haitian, African and Caribbean leaders whom you obviously believe were corrupt, and whom the Whites of Europe and America have condemned. You also attempt to disparage the good name and reputation Minister Farrakhan has earned worldwide for his championing the cause of the oppressed. The Minister left his calypso music in the late 1950’s when he became a follower of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and for the last 57 years has devoted himself to the spiritual work of changing the deplorable human condition of the Black, Brown, Native American and poor White, that currently exists in the world. You cannot diminish his light or his esteem in the world. By the way, Minister Farrakhan was a young prodigy of the violin and classical music, and he has given in recent years virtuoso performances of the Mendelsohn Violin Concerto, and the Beethoven Violin Concerto.
Minister Farrakhan spoke on the subject of “Revitalizing the Reparations Movement” on the campus of Chicago State University April 19.

In your article you state that Minister Farrakhan’s “divisive reasoning and rhetoric” during his address on April 19, 2014 at the “National/international forum on ‘Revitalizing The Reparations Movement’” at the Emil Jones Convocation Center on the campus of Chicago State University in Chicago, Ill., “is likely to have a damaging dianetic or psychosomatic effect on his health.” You also say in your article, that the Bible teaches Christian principles of “forgiveness of evildoers” and “reconciliation.” It is not a Christian principle to infer ill will on another human being, because you disagree with what you think they may have said. Jesus teaches us to “Judge not that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” This verse of scripture tells us that what we wish of evil for another, that God will in fact Judge us according to our wicked intentions. The Holy Qur’an teaches us to never let hatred of a human being cause us to act unjustly. Why didn’t you in your writing, practice the principle of forgiveness and reconciliation with Minister Farrakhan? The “divisive reasoning and rhetoric” of your article demonstrates that you may actually be suffering from the mental state and condition that you attempt to ascribe to the Minister.

You further indicate in your article that you read the Minister’s remarks in an article published in The Final Call newspaper. You did not listen to the speech yourself. I would encourage you to do so, maybe it will help clear up your misunderstanding, if that is what this is. You state “Farrakhan seems to be of the view that revolutionary force or violence is necessary to realize reparations …  .”

Now, I was present at this speech, nowhere in the speech did the Minister advocate for violence and armed struggle and resistance with guns as you perversely assert in your article.

If the Minister was advising our people in violence and armed struggle, then your critique of him would have been justified. It is apparent that you did not know or seek from Minister Farrakhan his definition of “Revolution.” The definition of revolution the Minister teaches us about, guides us to, and has committed his life in the service of, is “a complete change in how we think.” This represents the principle best stated by the Apostle Paul in Romans 12:2 where he says: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

He would never advocate the use of violence by the oppressed to achieve such a goal, as this kind of approach would not only be self-destructive, but we, as believers in God, know that God alone has the power to deal effectively with the oppressor.

If we accept the definition of revolution given to us by Minister Farrakhan and produce a “true revolution,” then we will be able to repair our own condition. This does not however excuse the oppressor of his responsibility to repair the damage he is causing.

You also act as if you don’t understand what the phrase “under the gun” means in current parlance. You assert “the possibility that Farrakhan is openly promoting armed aggression and not just ‘strong talk.’ ” This statement is Satanic. In current parlance, “under the gun” means to “feel pressure to do something.”

 This is the context of what the Minister meant when he quoted the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as saying; “Even a devil can do good under the gun.” Then the Minister stated; “But, if you don’t have any gun, then the good you are seeking stands afar off!”

The phrase “under the gun” is similar to the often repeated phrase of the great Black Leader Frederick Douglass who was famously quoted as saying “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” This means when you make an appeal for Justice to former colonizers and slaveholders, that demand must be backed up by the power to make the oppressor feel the pressure of consequences and loss if he does not respond properly to the cry for justice. This is exactly what the Minister Farrakhan said. This pressure can take several forms, of which violence, if it ever reaches that stage, is a last resort. The use of violence occurs once all other means and methods of appeal have been exhausted. In the prophecy contained in the Book of Exodus, God sent Moses with a demand to Pharaoh to “Let My People Go.” Moses delivered that message and Pharaoh ignored it and became harsher in his punishments towards the children of Israel. God then sent plagues on Pharaoh and Egypt to destroy him economically. Pharaoh still would not heed the command of God. As a result, God killed all of the first born males of the Egyptians. Finally, God had to drown Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. Violence has always been the last resort of the righteous, but the first action of the oppressor.

It is the words of your article that are truly divisive. You make the statement, “Indeed, Farrakhan’s thinking on Reparations seems more like that of suicide touting Taliban theologians than thoughtful Christians when he says that beyond just reconciliation, the scholarship of Beckles … must be backed up by men and women who are willing to die for reparatory justice.” Your words represent the worst kind of religious intolerance and arrogance.

This is clearly the view of European and American Whites concerning Islam. In the struggle of Blacks in the Americas, Africa, and the Caribbean, the oppressor always is able to cultivate an apologist for their oppression by creating a buffer group among the native peoples. They are known by many names, “handkerchief-head negroes, house negroes, mulattoes, informers, and betrayers.” The most common biblical term is “Judas.”  The sad part about this is this type of person really believes they are doing something good, and that those who resist suffering, deprivation and oppression are making things worse. We don’t have time in this article to recount the oppression, violence, murder, rape, and lynchings committed against the native peoples of the world in the name of “civilizing the heathens” by so-called Christian Europeans.

You say you are a Barbadian in exile in London. Do you realize that you exiled yourself into the bosom of the very nation, Great Britain, who colonized Barbados, and created the condition in the Caribbean that you oppose and reject? Your rejection of the leadership in Barbados is a reflection of the discourse of your Brothers that makes them sound more like their former colonial masters. But, are you reflecting the same? Have you become an apologist for the oppressor?

You indicate in your article that you favor the more conciliatory approach to reparations represented by Mr. Kofi Annan in his first speech as UN Secretary General in 2001. Mr. Campbell, the oppressor always wants the oppressed to seek their struggle for justice “peacefully” and in a “conciliatory” matter, without any real “demand.”

As a result the appeal for reparations was ignored by the European powers in South Africa in 2001.  Unfortunately, the African Nations that could have been a stronger support for reparations capitulated and engaged in “diplomacy.” This was the condition that Minister Farrakhan was giving insight into at his April 19, 2014 remarks on Reparations.

The Caribbean has recently emerged as a leading voice on the Reparations issue, and Black conscious leadership in the United States is in full support. The call for reparations in the United States has existed for decades. In your article you seem to focus specifically on the Caribbean. Reparations is not an issue solely for the Caribbean but for oppressed people all over the world. 

(Abdul Arif Muhammad is an attorney, historian, researcher, writer, lecturer, general counsel for the Nation of Islam and former Editor-in-Chief of The Final Call newspaper. He is currently developing a series of essays entitled “Irreconcilable Perceptions of Justice.” Contact him at