Inasmuch As You Have Not Done These Things Unto The Least
[Editor’s note: The following article contains edited excerpts from the transcript of a press conference held by Minister Farrakhan at the Omni Hotel in Richmond, Virginia on September 3, 2005, during his 23-city tour to promote the objectives and development of the Millions More Movement. The questions selected focus on Hurricane Katrina that devastated the Gulf Coast area of America.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
We are here in Richmond to promote the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March and to inform the community of why we feel there is a need for a Millions More Movement. Ten years ago, we called for one million Black men to come to Washington. Nearly two million came, not to demand something from the government, but to ask God’s forgiveness for our failure to be the men, husbands, fathers, providers, protectors of our women and children, and builders of communities as we believe we should and could be. It was for us, a time of atonement, reconciliation and the acceptance of responsibility to change the realities of Black family relations and life.
We were blessed on that day. As a result of that day, 25,000 orphans found homes, prisoners were adopted, the crime and murder rates went down throughout the communities of Black people. Many Black men paid child support for their families that they had forsaken, mentoring programs were started, entrepreneurs came out of the March to build businesses. Some of the Local Organizing Committees remained faithful to the ideas promoted, and many in that audience joined churches, mosques, synagogues and organizations that we asked them to join.
Many people asked, “Where did the money go?” I promised on the Mall that I would give an audit, and within three months, three CPA firms gave an audit of every nickel and dime. We went back to Washington and held a press conference, but the country did not get that message. That audit is on our website at www.millionsmoremovement.com and you can download it and see where every nickel, dime and dollar went.
Ten years later, although we have many more Black people with BA, MA and doctorate degrees, many more Black entrepreneurs, Black men and women in public service and politics, many more millionaires and a few billionaires, but the masses of our people are slipping further and further behind. So, for the first time in our history, all Black leaders and organizations across the whole spectrum of Black thought met in Washington, D.C. at a press conference held at the National Press Club (on May 2, 2005), and agreed to work together. The horrific condition of the masses of our people demanded that we come together and work out a programmatic thrust that the learned of our people can connect their skills to the problems of our people. Then, by pooling our resources intellectually and financially, we might be able to build our people up from where we are. We believe that we can no longer depend on a compassionate, benevolent president to solve our problems, for at best, we have always been voting for the lesser of two evils.
So, we have decided that we want to be good for ourselves and so we are accepting that responsibility.
October 14 will be a Day of Absence, October 15 will be the mass gathering, and October 16 will be a commemoration of the Day of Atonement, where all of us will fill the religious institutions in our cities to make that covenant with God that we talked about 10 years ago, which reads: “If my people which are called by My Name shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land.” (I Corinthians 7:14)
This land is sick. Our world is sick. Our people are sick. We need a healing that none of our scholars are able to produce. God’s Promise is real, but there is something that we must do in order for God to fulfill His Word. We have had many, many broken promises from our government and leaders, but God never fails in fulfilling His Promise. He has said that, before one jot or tittle of His Word would fail, the heavens and the earth would pass away. So the covenant that we want is a covenant with God, a covenant with each other, and a covenant with our people that we will work as never before in a unified way to solve the many problems of our people.
We are inviting our Brothers and Sisters in the Latino community, because they are our family and we have similar issues. Where there are similar issues, we need to form strategic alliances for economic and political power. We are inviting our Native American family and the poor of our people, for when all of us unite, organize, mobilize and strategize, then we can make America a country of the people, by the people and truly for the people.
Thank you and, at this time, I will accept your questions.
Is the Nation of Islam going to do anything to help the people who were hit hard by Hurricane Katrina?
Minister Farrakhan: Yes, sir. The Millions More Movement, which is a united front of all of our organizations, we are calling all of us together to pool our resources to address the specific concerns of those who FEMA and the Red Cross are not servicing. There are many mayors who have contacted me from little cities and towns of Mississippi that no representative of the Red Cross or FEMA has touched. So we are going to do our best to service those communities. We are getting the preachers and leaders of organizations together because we feel that the time is now to really act on the principles that Jesus Christ and Muhammad taught. Muhammad taught that, if you have a bowl of soup and your Brother had none, half of your bowl belongs to your Brother. Jesus the Christ said, when the disciples asked him, “Master when were you hungry and we fed you not, when were you naked and we clothed you not, when were you out of doors and we gave you not shelter and when were you imprisoned and we ministered not unto you?” he said, “Inasmuch as you have not done these things to the least of these my brethren, you have not done it also unto me.”
New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama are a disaster, where the least of these are homeless, hungry, and without clothes and shelter, sick and need to be ministered unto. So we are calling on all the churches and mosques to open their doors. If you have to put cots in the basements of your churches, go and get the people that Jesus and Muhammad talked about, and put them in your churches. Feed, clothe, shelter and educate them, and give them a new start.
We are asking all of us, Muslims and Christians, to go to the relief centers and adopt a family and take that family to your home and minister unto them as Jesus would have us to do and share that bowl of soup with them as Muhammad would have us to do.
Then, out of the darkness of this tragedy will come the light of love and brotherhood, and a new people will emerge with trust, love and confidence because we did not talk about what Jesus and Muhammad said, we acted on it. In acting on those principles, the tragedy will turn into triumph.
In your address (to Richmond on Sept. 4), will you talk about the government’s response or lack of response to the crisis in the Gulf Coast region?
Minister Farrakhan: My sadness is that we all watched the Weather Channel, MSNBC, FOX and CNN. We watched Katrina grow from a Category 1 storm and come into the Gulf and build from a 1 to a 3, and paused. It was moving quite slowly. When it was understood that it was going to be a category 4 and then a 5, that was the time that FEMA should have been activated and trucks should have been sent to the area.
Most of the people who could not get out was not because they did not want to, but because they did not have the means to get out. But if those trucks had been there in a timely fashion, we might have been able to save many, many, many more lives.
In the horror of that tragedy, you cannot bring the Ten Commandments to bear when self-preservation is the first law of nature. We are animals until we are made into human beings. When human conditions do not prevail, the animal in the human takes over. Naturally, if a person breaks into a place to get food, we can understand that. We cannot understand taking a television when there is no place to plug it in or no one to sell it to. We cannot countenance the rape of innocent people. This is a horror, but we need to be on the ground to feel what they are feeling, sense what they are sensing and feel the despair and hopelessness that many of them felt. If we had acted better, maybe it would have been better.
New Orleans may present the template for how to best prepare for the next city–and there will be more and there will be more.
I have sadness, but I am also glad that President (George) Bush was on the ground to see the horror, devastation, bodies floating in the water, snakes coming out of their hiding places, and alligators and now pestilence is on the horizon. Why do I say that it is good that our president was on the ground? Because Jesus said, “As a man soweth, the same shall he also reap.”
Our government is in error. The war in Iraq–supposedly because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction–was an error. It was an intentional departure from the truth. Policy was already made and facts were arranged to fit the policy. Nearly 2,000 children of American families are dead and thousands wounded and bodies destroyed for the rest of their lives.
I remember Secretary of Defense (Donald) Rumsfeld saying, when the bombs were falling on Iraq, and the newspapers reporting the “shock and awe” from the power of America on a country that could not defend its own air space. Now, we in America could not defend our air space from Katrina. When you look at the devastation, they say it was like a bomb dropped.
For God’s sake, see what we are suffering and see the suffering that we have visited on others. Stop it now before the God of Justice brings more natural disasters. You cannot arrest Him as a terrorist, but He is terrorizing America today.
We must change. Our government must give better guidance and better direction, stop lying and deceiving the American people and maybe God will be merciful and hold back the four winds that are now blowing on this great nation.
Do you feel the faith-based money is jeopardizing the concept of church and state?
Minister Farrakhan: It is a use of funds to co-opt church to make the church the vassal of the state. Slowness to adopt the Movement on the Mall in Washington, that can be forgiven. Slowness to involve yourself in that which will save our people cannot be forgiven. We are not going anywhere without the church. It is a valuable instrument in the salvation of our people, but it must not be the playground of the Bush administration or any administration. In order for the church to be free to do its job, it must be free to say to the kings and rulers of the world, “Thus sayeth the Lord.” If the church is taking money from the government, then the church finds it difficult to be a critical voice to correct the government.
God sends prophets. We respect kings and bow to the kings, but we do not obey the kings when they give an instruction that is against what “Thus sayeth the Lord.”
So prophets, apostles and ministers must never be prostitutes. We are the servants of God and, therefore, we serve the best interests of government, not by yielding to the misdirection of government, but by correcting the direction of government so that the government can never do to the American people what this government unfortunately has done in the war in Iraq. The war has caused the rape of the treasuries of nearly $340 billion, some of which could have been used, but was denied, in New Orleans to build the levees. A Category 5 hurricane would never have destroyed that city if the government had invested in that infrastructure.
Our priorities are disturbed. Our priority is warfare. The budget for war is criminal and the budget to cultivate the American people educationally is going down. With all the beautiful buildings that we build, if we do not spend money to build human beings, then the savagery of humans will tear down and destroy the beauty of your material buildings. The greatest resource of this country is its people, but they are being purposely dumbed down so they can be easily led like sheep, while a small group ruling, deceiving and taking the wealth of the many in the name of globalization. America has to rethink where this country is going.
I am one Brother that will always be found saying, “Thus sayeth the Lord.” If you let me out of prison, I will be able to help, but I am locked in a prison of public opinion that has been created by the media; I am called anti- everything. From my prison, I wrote a letter to Pres. Bush, which you can download on www.finalcall.com, I warned him in 2001 that I knew what was in his mind and I warned him that if he (goes to war in Iraq) that you are going to run into something that you and those with you have not considered and it will be your undoing. Now, his ratings are going down. I wrote him a second letter and told him that every body of an American serviceperson that dies will be laid at his door. Cindy Sheehan is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many wounded families that are in deep pain, because they do not mind sacrificing their lives if the country is really threatened. But to use these young men and women’s lives on the basis of what is false with manipulated evidence that those at the top knew was a lie–that is a high crime and a misdemeanor for which the government should be impeached. The entire government should be set down, and something new and better put in its place, lest a government like this lead the American people fully into the Chastisement of God.
I said, three months ago, that God was going to take one American city and take it all the way down to show America that what you do to others, it will come back to you. This arrogant leadership must be made humble. When you fly Air Force One over the devastated area, if God’s Wrath does not humble you enough to see that there is more where that came from, then you do not deserve to be the leader of the greatest nation on earth.
Are you saying that this nation’s engagement in the war in Iraq led to the hurricane hitting New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and taking lives?
Minister Farrakhan: No, I am speaking of America’s evil. Most of you are very unaware of what your government does in the name of the American people to make nations fall. I am talking about killing millions of people. The American people know nothing about America’s foreign policy. If you travel the earth and see the suffering in the world due to America’s policies. These people do not hate America because we are free; they hate America for the policies that have sucked and siphoned the wealth of nations so that we could be a wealthy people, while in Africa they are living on less than a dollar a day. We must pay for these things. That is why Jesus said, “As a man soweth, the same shall he also reap.” So our government must be careful of what seeds it sows.
I am suggesting that the hurricane and the disaster it brought to (the Gulf Coast region) is only the beginning of sorrows. What about pestilence, famine and earthquakes? This is what Jesus foretold. You can run all over the world and find terrorists; go find the God Who is terrorizing this land and arrest Him. That you cannot do, so the best thing for us to do is recognize the power of God has entered this house. You will find unusual rain, snow, wind and earthquakes. Everything you depend on for your sustenance is going to be turned against you. You must pay for what you have done; we all must pay for what we have done and it seems like its pay day.
Would you, on a personal level, like to send a personal message (to the victims of Hurricane Katrina)?
Minister Farrakhan: It is bigger than a person or a personal message. The people do not need messages, they need help. All of us who have not suffered what New Orleans suffered, we can reach for those evacuees. This would turn a tragedy into a triumph: a triumph of the will, a triumph of the spirit of the human and it would cause all of us to rise above our selfishness and materialist nature to become human. Then, God can look at us and remove some of His Wrath. This is the standard that God uses to measure nations. America has a beautiful heart; it is just misguided.