[Editor’s note: The following is the first part of a selection of answers that Minister Farrakhan gave to questions submitted by The Final Call as we enter the year 2004.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
Final Call (FC): In 1979, you published the first edition of The Final Call entitled, “The Ultimate Challenge, The Survival of the Black Nation.” What must be done today for the Black Nation to survive in these perilous times?
Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan (HMLF): In 1979, when the first edition of The Final Call newspaper was published, I made mention in that article that the Black Nation first must find the path of unity. Second, that we must unite our resources, our intellectual abilities, pool them, and work as never before to build something for ourselves.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that we should produce our own food, clothing, build shelters for ourselves, educate our children and create jobs for our people. He said, “You must do this before you are forced to do it.”
Now, in the year 2004, we did not follow his advice that he gave us in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and the ‘90s. Now, we’re at that time, that if we truly wish to survive, we are forced to do those things that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad asked us to do over and over again.
FC: We are dying in unprecedented numbers in the Black and Latino communities, whether it is from killing each other in senseless street violence, gunned down or beat down by police, we’re hanged on trees or in prison cells. Over a decade in the ‘80s, you toured the country lecturing on the theme, “Respect for Life, Stop the Killing.”
What will bring peace to our homes and communities? Do you see what is happening in our communities as a microcosm of the violent events in the world? You have said that some of the senseless acts are a result of an inability to handle the pressure of a world that is falling, could you explain this further. How then can we relieve this burden from our minds?
HMLF: The first question deals with peace. Islam represents peace. Allah (God) says in the Holy Qur’an that He is the abode of Peace and He teaches us to greet one another with the civilized greeting of peace. In the Bible, it teaches that the way of peace, Jews and Gentiles have not known. Why have they not known the way of peace? Because the way to peace with man and his fellow man is to first make peace with God.
How do we make peace with God? To know our duty to God and to keep that duty. Our greatest challenge toward the path of peace is to surrender our will to do the Will of Allah (God). Oft times our actions are based upon lust, greed, fleshly and material desires. Can we surrender our will to do the Will of God? This and this alone will give us peace. Because we have refused to acknowledge Allah (God) in the proper way in our lives by making Him the Head of our households and our true Leader, then we are left to figure things out for ourselves.
All of us can see that when we do it our way, we’ve made a mess of it, so violence, bloodshed, murder, revolution and war are the order of the day. It is in our homes now, schools, churches, society, community and the world. No nation on this earth is free of this scourge. Some nations have less of this than others, but all are subjected to the result of our rebellion against God and His Guidance to us through the mouths of His Prophets and Messengers.
Now, the pressure that is on the human mind that comes from a world that has a contrary order to the way God desires man to live–both the Bible and the Qur’an teach that God should be the head of man; man the head of woman; woman the head of children; and man, woman and child acting on the Guidance of Allah (God) can make a peaceful home and a peaceful society.
We live in a contrary world whose end has come, and all the institutions of this world are in revolt against itself. As a result of this, there is tremendous pressure on the minds of the human being to survive in a world where stress is now the trigger for all kinds of health-related diseases. Stress, eating the wrong foods, living the wrong kind of life has put so much pressure on the human mind that we lack sufficient knowledge to equal the pressure of a world that is collapsing around us.
As a result of this lack of knowledge, lack of submission, stress then is overtaking every individual, every family. So much so that children are having strokes, hypertension and other diseases that are seen in older persons. So what is the answer to that?
Look at an experiment with a tin can. As long as the pressure on the inside equals the pressure on the outside, the can retains its shape. However, if you can produce a vacuum on the inside of that can, then 14.7 pounds of atmospheric pressure per square inch act upon that can and crush it immediately.
The only way that we can equal on the inside the pressure that is coming from the outside is through our faith in Allah (God) and our effort to live the life that He prescribes. Living a righteous life must be coupled with knowledge that will enable us to see what is going on around us and guide us, so that we will not be so ill-affected by the pressure of a fallen world.
FC: Recent news reports have revealed a relationship among drug manufacturers, agricultural firms and the Food and Drug Administration. This has allowed substandard, chemically riddled food to be approved that will undoubtedly lead to illness, more illness, for which the pharmaceutical companies produce so-called medicine to alleviate.
What are your views on this and how can an unsuspecting public protect themselves from the danger to their health created by this link? How does the struggle for survival of Black farmers against discriminatory practices and regulations fit into this picture and perhaps a solution?
HMLF: I have read recently of this unholy alliance between pharmaceutical companies, agricultural conglomerates, chemical firms that produce pesticides and the Food and Drug Administration. There is no doubt in my mind that we live in The Valley of the Shadow of Death.
The Bible teaches that we are destroyed for the lack of knowledge. The unsuspecting American people have put their trust in those who feed and medicate us. Those who feed and medicate us are more interested in the bottom line of profit than they are in delivering health and well-being to the American people.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said to me that the medical profession is really not a profession of true healing; it is a profession of drugs. He said these drugs are created to stimulate a natural process. However, stimulation of the natural process by the use of these drugs creates another problem–harmful side effects. This gives the pharmaceutical companies more leeway to make more drugs, to make more money, to cause more death.
How can this unsuspecting public protect itself? In reality, it cannot, unless the public is made aware and the public’s will is to take control of the earth and what goes in it that produces our food. Unless we are watchful of the chemicals that are sold to the agricultural conglomerates and unless we are watchful of the pharmaceutical companies and their desire to make money from the illnesses that are created by this unholy alliance, then we are locked in The Valley of the Shadow of Death.
This is why the Honorable Elijah Muhammad wanted us to buy or lease millions of acres of land, so that we could be responsible for providing the food, which we need to maintain our lives. How our food is prepared and how we live our lives are important to help us to survive.
The poor Black farmer is in deep trouble and the small White farmer, as well. The farmers are in debt incurred for equipment, pesticides, seeds, water and the many things that they need to make their farms successful. Many farms are in foreclosure. As the banks take over these farms, the conglomerates buy these farms and expand their unhealthy way of food production for the American people and for the people of the world. All of this is to the detriment of the masses of the people.
The greed of these companies is monumental and only our unity under the Guidance of Allah (God) will allow us to come up out of The Valley of the Shadow of Death and come to life. That is why the scripture teaches “to those who overcame, He gave them of the Tree of Life.”
That overcoming is what we have to be involved in and it starts with a knowledge of Allah (God); a knowledge of self; a knowledge of the time and what must be done; a knowledge of the enemy of God and the true religion of Allah (God). This kind of knowledge will lift us up out of this horrible Valley of the Shadow of Death.
In my Saviours’ Day speech, I will go deeper into this aspect of what I’m now writing in a capsule form, be it the Will of Allah (God).
FC: This year seems to have produced numerous witness bearers to the Truth of the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad on How To Eat To Live. Studies have revealed the dangers of pork, mad cow disease has now entered the United States and we are a country of obese and overweight adults and children. Can you tell our readers why we need How To Eat To Live now more than ever?
HMLF: Our condition bears witness of our need. As a young student of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, I did not know the science behind his asking us to eat one meal a day and his teaching us how to fast, what foods to eat and what to refrain from eating. However, as we obeyed his directives, we hardly ever saw disease among the Muslims.
In fact, we very rarely saw death among us. Some Muslims even thought that we did not die because, after being in the mosque for many years, we rarely witnessed a funeral. Even our very elderly were spry and full of vim and vigor and vitality. And we only saw death come to them at the end of a long life due to their adherence to what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught.
We should more so study what He taught and come into the science of what He taught so that we will be motivated to obey his direction, not just because he said so, but because we now know he was right and exact in what he taught us.
FC: Are police brutality and mob attacks, the Black Agenda, the movement for reparations relevant issues for presidential candidates to address who are seeking the Black vote in 2004?
HMLF: Yes, these are relevant issues, but who will present them?
FC: Do you have any comments about the public admission by the family of segregationist Strom Thurmond that he is the father of a daughter (now 78 years old), who was born to his family’s Black maid?
HMLF: The Honorable Elijah Muhammad has shown us through history that White men have always been interested and zealous in having sexual relationships with the women of the world, Black, Brown, Red and Yellow. He has always desired to have sex with the female of those whom he conquered. They were considered the spoils of war. So, it’s not shocking to me that an arch segregationist, who did not believe in miscegenation, yet had sex with a young Black woman in his household.
This was not only with Strom Thurmond; most of these segregationists never shied away from having sex with a Black woman. Only this time, a child was born. If you look at the founding fathers of this nation, most of them had slaves that they had sex with and had children from their female slaves. However, they did not treat these children with the honor and respect that they did for the children of their White wives.
Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Ben Franklin and most of the founding fathers had slaves and most of them had sexual relationships with their female slaves, while at the same time, they looked at us as subhuman. If some Whites, as reported, will have sex with animals, then why wouldn’t they have sex with that which they had reduced almost to the level of the beasts of the field?
FC: Do you see a change of direction in the conservative U.S. Supreme Court relating to their decision in the University of Michigan affirmative action case? Many Black leaders saw the decision as a victory. Was it a victory and if so, how? Do you think the decision will represent a brain drain from Historically Black Colleges and Universities?
HMLF: The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said to us that the White people’s rejection of us is our salvation. Great hypocrisy is being manifested by their allowing us to think that through an integrated education that somehow this is treating us as an equal.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that equal education for the Black man will mean that the White man can no longer rule us. Are they willing to share equally the vast reservoir of knowledge that they have for themselves with us whom they rule? I don’t think so.’
This is why Master Fard Muhammad came to us and gave us a knowledge that would free us from the gravitational pull of what is called American education.
I am not saying that there’s not value in it. We should get it. But the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said get an education that does not leave you in the position of a slave at the foot of your former slave masters and their children, asking them to do for us what we could unite and do for ourselves. This kind of education that frees us is not available in any of these schools that have admitted us into their programs of education.
FC: What impact did you see in JaRule as you offered guidance to him during your meeting with him to discuss his riff with 50 Cent? Has 50 Cent met with you? What is your hope for the hip hop community this year?
HMLF: I have spoken with 50 Cent on the phone and he said he was interested in meeting with me, but that meeting has not yet taken place. I saw in JaRule what I see in all of our people, a very beautiful human being at his root. Whatever JaRule is not, is because of circumstances.
Only through the Teachings of the Wisdom of God revealed for the resurrection of our people can we rise above the earthly plain of our present existence onto a much higher plain of civilized conduct and behavior. JaRule, 50 Cent and all the hip hoppers, male and female, will become some of the greatest leaders of our people once they are resurrected from the mental state that they are in at present.
FC: According to reports, the economy is up, yet the reality for poor people is that there are 9 million people out of work. The outsourcing of jobs has increased and those people that are employable face an increase in available, low paying jobs that cannot lift them out of poverty. What guidance can you give the unemployed and underemployed who have been cut off by this trend?
HMLF: The Honorable Elijah Muhammad before he departed from us had a cartoon in the Muhammad Speaks newspaper showing factories closed and the gate of the factory locked, and long, long lines of people needing jobs, but unable to find one.
We are now in the fulfillment of what he said. Manufacturing is the bedrock of the economics of any society. Most of everything that we are wearing, in terms of clothing, shoes and even building materials, are coming from outside America.
As a result of this, factories are closing that were in the inner cities and the Black, the Latino and the poor Whites are left in the lurch. Even many scholarly Whites who have worked in companies for years and have their children in college and have accumulated debt are frustrated by the loss of their jobs, to the point where some of them are taking their own lives so that their wives can take the insurance and give their children a future.
The time is getting darker. The only guidance I can give is what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad warned us. He and I are like weatherman seeing the clouds far off, but knowing that the winds are going to carry that cloud over the region where we live and telling us that the weather is going to be very, very bad. Instead of our taking the warning and getting prepared for the bad weather, we get caught in the fierceness of the storm.
The Bible teaches, “I have piped to you all the day long and you have not danced. And I have lamented to you and you have not mourned.” This is teaching us that we are not moving to the rhythm of Truth, nor are we mourning over the lament of a prophetic voice that has told us of the things that we would face that we are now facing.
As a result of that, we are caught like the grasshopper that plays all summer long, never thinking that winter would come. At the first blast of the cold air, the grasshopper is gone.
The blast of cold air has hit the Black community, the Brown community, and the poor White community. What is left for us to do? We must do what he said we should have done years ago. Pool our resources financially and intellectually, get up and do something for self; otherwise, we will perish.
FC: Among the poor that are suffering in this country, there is a segment that does not earn enough to pay for private health insurance, yet they make more than the maximum income that would entitle them to government subsidized insurance. Now, they are systematically left at the whim of healthcare providers, being charged double or triple the cost of services and medicines. What are your thoughts on the best way to bring relief to this vulnerable group?
HMLF: My thoughts are that the best way to keep out of the fisherman’s net is not to get in the water. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad gave us a way from Master Fard Muhammad, Who saw this day very clearly, a way to eat and survive in the midst of disease. Our insurance is not an insurance policy from your enemy. Our insurance is to know how to survive in a time like this.
That’s why I repeat what the scripture teaches, “My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge”–not because they don’t have insurance. The insurance is that they get knowledge and knowledge will insure that we can come through this period, and on the other side of it become the true healers, the true practitioners of medicine and the true feeders, clothiers and shelterers of ourselves and people.
This is why the Scripture likens the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed, which is exceedingly tiny. But, when it is planted and nurtured, it grows and becomes a tree where birds, all kinds of birds, can find refuge under its branches.
The solution is the knowledge that begins the Kingdom of God on earth. Those of us who submit our will to do the Will of God and follow exactly what we have been taught of How To Eat To Live, what foods to eat in order to live and how to fast to get rid of much of the poisons that builds up in our systems from eating the best of foods, this is preventive medicine. This will keep us out of the water and out of the fisherman’s net.
To be continued.