WASHINGTON (FinalCall.com) – The triumphal return of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to the nation’s capital was told as if it had taken place in two cities on the same day.
At the historic Lincoln Theatre, in the heart of Washington’s Black cultural district, there was standing room only. On stage, backstage, in the balcony, in the box seats, and even in the lobby, members of the Nation of Islam and the general public stood shoulder-to-shoulder the evening of May 3, hoping to see and hear the leader of the Nation of Islam in an “at-home-with-the-family” kind of setting.
That morning, at the National Press Club, in the heart of Washington’s “power corridor”–two blocks from the White House and less than a mile from the Capitol–Minister Farrakhan was appropriately “presidential” during a speech and press conference where he offered “Guidance to America and the World in a Time of Trouble.”
Despite the fact that the speech was broadcast via satellite to Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America, and translated live into Arabic, French and Spanish, that message went absolutely unreported by the White American, corporate-owned news media.
All major television networks sent crews to film the press conference, but none of them sent a correspondent to file a report. Except for C-SPAN–which broadcast the event live and re-broadcast it several times throughout the day–and Black-oriented broadcasters BET, American Urban Radio Network, and Radio One, none of the “mainstream” TV networks or cable news programs featured a report. None of the major city daily “newspapers of record” printed any coverage of the press conference either, ignoring the importance and timeliness of Minister Farrakhan’s comments. The conservative Washington Times, however, did publish an article.
Despite the media’s effort to diminish the distribution of his address to the press, Washington’s Black “Family” warmly embraced his evening message, often cheering, applauding and loudly bearing witness throughout his explanation of what had weighed heavy on his heart until his press conference.
At the Lincoln Theatre, the pulsing crowd spilled outside, where a gentle rain came and went. Police cordoned off two automobile lanes for the thousands more Black men and women crowded under the theater’s glittering marquee and onto the boulevard. Others stood four abreast for hours in lines that snaked a block-long in the alleys on both sides of the 1,200 seat auditorium.
Inside, the Nation of Islam leader was “home,” reporting directly to his people who had adorned themselves as palms beneath his feet. He taught the meaning of and the reason for his earlier blunt warning to the government of the United States and to the world in light of the Teachings of the Nation of Islam.
Minister Farrakhan is a man who is concerned about his native land, he said, and he has as much right to criticize and correct its government’s leadership as does any White or Christian religious leader. Calamities are headed for America as a result of the Bush administration’s policies that are “annoying God,” he said. America has been a preserved place, whose rule cannot be challenged by any government and whose destiny is in God’s hands alone, “so you will know that He is God!” he explained.
Black people in America, the true heirs to God’s Kingdom, must work to reform themselves so that they will be acceptable to the Almighty. “I don’t mean tomorrow,” Minister Farrakhan insisted. “You need to start tonight!
“America is getting shaky. She is losing all over the world. Her policies are bankrupt, her leaders are confused, and they have targeted” Black folks with things to destroy the Black man and woman’s future, like crack cocaine, liquor, and deviant sexual behavior “to make them unworthy, so God will be ashamed of His people,” he continued.
He also delivered a special message to Christian ministers on the dais and in the audience, reminding them of the redemptive power contained in the Bible, as witnessed in the success of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad in stopping his followers from drinking alcohol, smoking and fornicating, at first teaching only from the Bible–evidence that the Christian ministers can have the same resurrecting power.
The Nation of Islam is itself very much like a true church, Minister Farrakhan explained, because the behavior of men and women who become a part of the Nation is transformed from self-destructive to beneficial through the power of the Word of God.
In its early development in this country, the Nation of Islam was a challenge to some “churches which became an apologist for White evil against us. We (in the NOI) were demanding, protesting the lack of development” which traditionally took place among Blacks in the church.
After the church was challenged by the NOI, a new “Black Theology” began to rise up within the church. As a result of the influence of Muslim ministers in major cities such as Malcolm X in New York, Dr. Lonnie Shabazz in Washington, John Shabazz in Los Angeles, and Jeremiah Shabazz in Philadelphia, Christian leaders “took down the White Jesus in their churches,” Min. Farrakhan added.
The effect of the Nation of Islam on the Black Church, he explained, “was like that of Martin Luther” on the Catholic Church in Europe. The Black church-experience evolved from one where a “slave-making doctrine” was taught almost universally, until it was a “church which became a liberating force.”
The growing unity of Black and Latino people in this country is like the Biblical story of the “dry bones in the valley,” to which the Prophet Ezekiel was told to prophesy. Minister Farrakhan lionized many of the heroes who arose among Black people in this country preaching, working and trying to unite and resurrect the dry bones into a living being. Although the bones shook a little, rattled around, rolled over, they did not join on to one another so that they might be able to stand up on their own.
But on Oct. 16, 1995, in response to a call from God through him, Minister Farrakhan pointed out that his call for a million Black men to come to Washington to shoulder their responsibilities as men and put down the weapons with which they had been killing one another, was answered by more than two million men who showed up.
On that day, there was no crime, alcohol or drug use, hardly even any profanity, he said. The dry bones had united and come to life.
The vision of Ezekiel, Minister Farrakhan explained, that prophet who had seen “the wheel within a wheel” in the sky, is central to not only the Million Man March, but to a “vision-like experience” in which the Muslim leader was transported to the Wheel on Sept. 17, 1985 and received instructions from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
During that experience, Minister Farrakhan was told of a secret war plan drafted by the President and his Joint Chiefs of Staff against a Muslim country. He was told to have a press conference to expose the diabolical scheme. “And tell them you got if from Elijah Muhammad on The Wheel,” the voice, during that experience, told him.
He was also told that he had “one more thing” to do before he could return to The Wheel. He held a press conference in 1985, in which he warned then-president Ronald Reagan against carrying out his planned attack on Libya. Later, he issued another warning to Pres. George H.W. Bush against carrying out an attack on Iraq, Minister Farrakhan recalled for the audience. After those events, he said he believed then that the “one thing” he had left to do was to call the Million Man March.
Now, however, he shared that he is convinced that his vision-like-experience also pertains to the George W. Bush administration and the war being fought in Iraq today, and that his May 3 press conference may have been that “one thing.”
“It was the most courageous speech at the press conference, certainly what needed to be heard, all over America,” the Rev. Willie Wilson, pastor of Union Temple Baptist Church told The Final Call. “Black and White need to see these injustices being meted by this government in Iraq and Afghanistan, and right here in the United States.
“We pray that Almighty God will allow His blessings upon the honorable minister for the courage and conviction and commitment of this man, to speak truth right here in the nation’s capital at the seat of all that’s going on.”