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Farrakhan at UC Berkeley: Reigniting Black campus activism

By Ashahed M. Muhammad -Asst. Editor- | Last updated: Mar 13, 2012 - 1:49:43 PM

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Jewish opposition fails to derail Farrakhan message and annual student-led unity conference 

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A capacity crowd fi lled the Wheeler Auditorium on the campus of University of California-Berkeley to hear the message from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan March 10. Photo: Hasaan Muhammad (R)The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan speaks on March 10. Photo: Fikreselam Habebo

BERKELEY, Calif. - (FinalCall.com) - The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan addressed hundreds of Black student leaders from a dozen college campuses throughout California at the Afrikan Black Coalition’s 2012 conference March 10 and Jewish organizations once again failed to stop students from hearing the popular leader and masterful orator.

Black students seemingly have declared an ostensive ban keeping the Minister from speaking on campuses over.

A long line stretched down the UC Berkeley campus leading to the doors of Wheeler Auditorium, named for Benjamin Ide Wheeler, president of the University of California from 1899 to 1919. The 800-seat auditorium was full and the message to student leaders and students was also broadcast live via internet webcast.

Though the Saturday morning assembly was a little early for many students, the capacity crowd was vocal, enthusiastic and ready to learn.

The Afrikan Black Coalition sponsors the annual gathering to unify Black students across the UC system and brings together Black Student Unions and Afrikan Student Unions within the UC and beyond. The first ABC conference was held in 2004. This was the first time the conference has been held on the campus of UC-Berkeley.

Addressing national Jewish organizations who spoke against his appearance on the campus, the Minister said an arrogant and controlling mindset of White supremacy made opponents feel able to determine whom Blacks should listen to.

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“Are you still in the mode and the mind of a slave master that you think we should bow down to you and you tell us who we should listen to?” Minister Farrakhan asked. “That’s a mentality of the former slave masters who owned us and I would hope that Berkeley is not another plantation or that the UC campuses in California are continued plantations not only for the Blacks, but for those who pay money to get an education.”

“Are you still in the mode and the mind of a slave master that you think we should bow down to you and you tell us who we should listen to?” Minister Farrakhan asked. “That’s a mentality of the former slave masters who owned us and I would hope that Berkeley is not another plantation or that the UC campuses in California are continued plantations not only for the Blacks, but for those who pay money to get an education.”

The Minister pointed out Jewish campus groups never reached out to Black students, nor were interested in working with them, until Black students decided to hear from him.

Though university officials disallowed the traditional searching procedure conducted at Nation of Islam events, each person walked through a metal detector, while the main auditorium was monitored by the ever watchful eyes of members of the Fruit of Islam.

In the days leading up to the event, Jewish student organizations circulated petitions, and several op-ed pieces appeared in the Daily Californian, the student-run newspaper on the campus, decrying the fact that the students chose to bring Minister Farrakhan to the university.

On the day of the event, however, a smattering of protesters appeared outside the hall for only a few minutes. The meager protest amounted to a handful of people passing out a written statement signed by approximately 30 students. 

Minister Farrakhan told the crowd he met the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad as a young 22-year-old, not much older than many of them.  Now he is known all over the world and treated as a head of state in many countries because of what he learned from a master teacher.

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Minister Farrakhan met with the executive organizing committee for the Afrikan Black Coalition’s 2012 conference following his message. Photo: Fikreselam Habebo

“And somebody on this campus would say you shouldn’t hear what I have to say when the world listens to what Farrakhan says! You listen today and judge me! They are so fearful that you’re going to hear a word that would break the chain off of your mind!” said the Minister.

“If you have really educated them, then what are you afraid of?” he asked.

Minister Farrakhan said he asked for no honorarium, and though the student group paid some of the travel costs, he paid the bulk of the costs for his staff.

“It’s not about money, it’s about you. I am so happy to have a chance to talk to you,” he said with his hands outstretched to the students.

“You want to accept the torch and you want to reignite it, then by the grace of God, I want to give you a torch, you won’t have to ignite it, it will already be ignited. All you have to do is use it to light your way out of this continuous cycle of non-productivity of our people,” he said.

The true purpose of education

“Education is almost like going to a used car dealer. The car looks good; they clean it up real nice, don’t they? But after you drive it off the lot, you find out it’s not working so well. So it is with education,” said the Minister. “I’m not just talking to the Black students. I’m talking to all the students for all of you are being deceived by what you call education.”

“What is education and what is the purpose of knowledge?” he asked.

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“The purpose of knowledge is the cultivation of the human being and the gifts that God has deposited in every human being,” he said. “God has deposited a gift that education is supposed to bring out of you, and help you to cultivate, and develop it, and then put it back into the service of yourself, your family, your community, your nation, the world for the glory of God.”

Many students are simply interested in getting degrees and getting a job in order to make money, Min. Farrakhan observed. Little emphasis is given to applying what is being learned to improve the conditions of poor, impoverished and underserved American communities, he said.

“The purpose of knowledge is the cultivation of the human being and the gifts that God has deposited in every human being,” he said. “God has deposited a gift that education is supposed to bring out of you, and help you to cultivate, and develop it, and then put it back into the service of yourself, your family, your community, your nation, the world for the glory of God.”

None of the educational disciplines have reached absolute truth and none are perfect, said the Minister.

“Education is never supposed to enslave, but to free,” said Minister Farrakhan. “We live in an evolving universe. Education must evolve; otherwise it becomes a tool of enslavement. What was is not necessarily what is. So if you can quote what was but are not in touch with what is, then how can you prepare a future?”

America suffers from moral decay, the economic systems are faltering and the social fabric of American society is in shambles, he said.

“Is America on fire now?” the Minister asked. “Not a literal fire—yet—but all of these institutions are aflame because the masses of the people are crying out for more.”

Campus activism

In the 1960s, Black people were Black and proud, and the songs, thinking and culture reflected that. In the 1970s the UC Berkeley campus was the place where students challenged the status quo as the norm, said Min. Farrakhan. Berkeley was the bastion of the free speech movement. In fact, it was in the Bay area that Min. Farrakhan met Huey Newton, Eldridge Cleaver and Kathleen Cleaver, some of the leading members of the Black Panther Party.

The history of that time has not been properly transferred to the next generation of Black students, with the contributions of many great Black leaders ignored, or reduced to slogans, Min. Farrakhan said.

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Malcolm X has been reduced to a slogan: “By any means necessary.” Likewise, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is reduced to “I have a dream.” No thought is given to how Malcolm X—a man with only an eighth grade education—became a respected world leader, nor is any attention given to the “evolutionary growth” of Dr. King, said Minister Farrakhan.

Malcolm X has been reduced to a slogan: “By any means necessary.” Likewise, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is reduced to “I have a dream.” No thought is given to how Malcolm X—a man with only an eighth grade education—became a respected world leader, nor is any attention given to the “evolutionary growth” of Dr. King, said Minister Farrakhan. Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, another student of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, became a world-renowned ambassador, he pointed out. 

When Malcolm X expressed a desire to become a lawyer as a child, he was told by the teacher to become a carpenter instead, said Min. Farrakhan. “As a carpenter, he could never threaten White supremacy,” the Minister explained.

What did Malcolm X learn that placed him outside the box of White supremacist education? he asked. It was the teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad from Master Fard Muhammad who came “to raise up the Black man and woman of America as a light, not just for the Black world, but as a light for the whole of humanity.”

Many students in the audience knew little of Black history and the leaders the Minister mentioned. Min. Farrakhan recounted how he talked to one student whose father was in the Black Panther Party but taught her none of the group’s history.

Forces at work to miseducate, distort history

There are forces that would like to continue the miseducation of Black students, said Min. Farrakhan. They fear those who would uncover their misdeeds, shining the light of truth and exposing their shadowy nefarious deeds, he said.

He cited segregation as an example: The only reason White people wanted to integrate Blacks into society was to get access to Black dollars. During segregation, Black schools and businesses thrived because Black dollars circulated within the community, he said.

Min. Farrakhan then held up the book, “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews” Volume 2. The 512-page book should be on every college campus throughout America, he said.

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The 2012 Afrikan Black Coalition (ABC) Conference was held at the Univeristy of California, Berkeley on March 9-11.
When he asked how many knew about the Jewish holocaust at the hands of Adolph Hitler and his military henchmen, nearly every hand was raised. When he asked the Black students how many knew the details of the holocaust involving their ancestors significantly fewer hands were raised.

“Now why do you know the holocaust, but you don’t know yours?” the Minister asked. “You don’t know what happened to you that you are still wrestling with now! No Jewish child has to be asked about a mission! Jewish children know their history, know what has happened to them and refuse to let it happen again because their parents teach them!”

Jewish people teach their generational history to their group and the world, he said. Black parents have failed the children by not teaching them the stories of what Blacks have been through, he added.

“You should know this! You can’t build on today with no knowledge of yesterday, and who would deprive you of yesterday but somebody who wants to rob you of today and cripple your tomorrow!” said Minister Farrakhan.

Jewish organizations such as the ADL and Jewish students on campus had no interaction or interest in Black students, until they discovered Black students were interested in hearing from Louis Farrakhan, said the Nation of Islam minister.

“They only got interested in you because you got interested in me. … So before you have a dialogue with them—read,” said Min. Farrakhan. “This is not hate, this is actual facts!”

The enemy fears the words coming from my mouth, which will free the minds of the people, and this is the reason they want to keep me off campuses, he said.

America is to be judged for what she has done to the people of God—Black people that have served her well, built her country and died in every war to keep America free and strong, said the Minister. “You are the people that God is after today, not to integrate you into your 400-year-old enemy, but to take you out from him and cause you to be the cornerstone of a brand new nation and a brand new world bringing in the Kingdom of God.”

Min. Farrakhan ended his message with a question and answer session. Immediately following his speech, he attended a reception with 20 or so members of the ABC Conference organizing committee, answered more questions, took photos and was presented with gifts, including a UC-Berkeley sweatshirt. Besides a message filled with guidance and wisdom, the Minister also provided the students with gifts, copies of “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, Volume 2,” DVD copies of his Saviours’ Day 2012 message and DVDs of the message just delivered.

He sat for an interview with journalists working for CalTV, the university’s television station, and Charles Gaylord, of the Onyx, the university’s Black newspaper.

Min. Farrakhan continued to encourage students to be the best in whatever field of endeavor they choose. “Racism will cease when Black excellence becomes the norm,” he said.

Related news:

Students respond to Farrakhan's message at UC Berkeley (FCN, 03-13-2012)

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