‘Give me liberty or give me death’

By News | Last updated: Dec 17, 2012 - 9:28:20 PM

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In the history of any nation and people, there are always those who distinguish themselves and who are remembered and honored as national heroes and examples of the spirit and pride that should be embedded into the souls of the people.

These stalwarts have a vision for independence, a drive for self-determination, a passion for self-reliance and gift to speak to the aspirations of their suffering brethren.

In American history, names like Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson are cited as such examples. In December 1773, American colonists chafing under the British Crown dumped tea in Boston Harbor in protest of a long train of abuses they felt were inflicted by the British. By 1775, war with the mother country was imminent and as the presence of British troops and tensions grew, an assembly was held of colonial leaders in Virginia and Henry offered resolutions for forming a militia. In a passionate speech, he recounted the British abuses, the colonial petitions for redress and voices crying out for peace with war clouds on the horizon. His aim was to persuade fellow Virginians to fully join the cause for liberty.


“Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope,” Henry observed.

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!” Henry declared.

Henry spoke without notes, according to historians, but his powerful words were remembered and written down and his oratory is a classic appeal for American freedom and a treasured part of this country’s struggle for independence. But how did those words sound to the British? Were they violent? Were they seditious? Were they terrorist threats? From the view of the oppressor any question borders on insolence and any petition is a sign of rebellion.

How did these words sound to those loyal to the Crown and those determined to have peace with their colonial masters at any price? Was this madness? Was this incitement? Was this insanity that ignored political and economic reality by challenging a superpower? Yes. Those who love the oppressor and the oppressor’s ways cannot understand why such trouble must be made and would rather remain in an inferior position than to upset the ruling powers.

So it takes special men and women to take the vanguard position in any freedom struggle and they are opposed, plotted against, maligned and attacked. Henry cited 10 years of British abuses, what about 400 years of oppression and murder as well as divine revelation which promises judgment and destruction for the nation that commits such horrible crimes?

Would it be a wonder that a man rose with words, not a call to arms or forming a militia, but a clarion call to freedom and divine warning inside America? If God in the past delivered suffering peoples and destroyed wicked nations, is America exempt from such punishment? She is clearly on the wrong path with a legacy of slavery and evil domination all over the planet. Her hands are dipped in the blood of the slaughter of innocence and she has grown rich by taking the riches of others. She has plotted against voices of dissent at home and targeted voices of opposition abroad.

For 40 years, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, patriarch of the Nation of Islam, warned of the destruction and fall of America and preached the Black Man and Woman of America were God’s choice and there could be no peace until full freedom and complete justice were given and those precious gifts would come via the power of God not the beneficence of the children of our former slave masters. His national representative, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, has continued that warning and extended the mission to Africa, Asia, the isles of the Pacific, the Middle East, Australia, and the Caribbean.

He returns exhausted from a recent tour of the Caribbean and at nearly 80 years of age is exhausting men half his age. But how is he seen, how is he treated, how is he handled? Does not a man who has defended nearly every Black cause, every Black organization, every Black leader assaulted by the enemy for nearly 60 years deserve some respect? What kind of people are we that we would meet in back rooms or front rooms and not have him or his authorized representative at the table? What rotten characters would plot on his life, attempt to sabotage his efforts to build and restore Black people and keep him away from young people? What manner of being would readily be a tool of the enemy and part of a conspiracy to destroy him and the Nation of Islam? We know such opposition exists because of efforts like the Black Power and Civil Rights era Counterintelligence Program which was designed to disrupt, discredit and destroy Black organizations. We know that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was under government surveillance even as he met with President Kennedy over horrible racial conditions in the country. We know today that there are those who say a form of “radical” Islam is growing in prisons and must be  eliminated or controlled and the Nation of Islam is renowned for its prison ministry. We know that Muslim mosques from California to New York have been infiltrated and informants used to foment plots and manipulate people into silly acts of so-called terrorism. We know the racial climate in the country is hostile and volatile.

These realities result in the obvious conclusion that the dirty tricks and plots of yesterday are still with us today. But the true question is not about the plots and the opposition, but about the supporters and Believers who recognize the truth and the man who is literally giving his life to deliver the truth: Are we helpers in this cause and are we committed to the man and the mission? If we are, let us go as he goes and work as he works. Let us do our part from where we are and do it the way he does it. The enemy is on his job, are we on ours?