[Editor’s note: On Sunday, January 2, 2011, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan was interviewed by Bob Slade, James Mtume and Bob Pickett, co-hosts of New York’s 98.7 KISS FM Open Line show, to share his thoughts and offer guidance on the escalation of crime and violence in Newark, New Jersey in advance of a scheduled Town Hall meeting there to address these concerns. The following article contains edited excerpts of this live broadcast.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
OPEN LINE: Why do you feel as Black adults we’ve started to become so distant from the conditions of our children, and many of us begin to look at our children as though they are “The Enemy”?
HMLF: First, we all must look at ourselves. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, way back in the 1960s through the Muhammad Speaks newspaper, and through his many representatives, was warning us as a people that we would have to come together, pool our resources, and do something for ourselves before we were forced to do it. There were pictures in the Muhammad Speaks newspaper of factories closed down, with locks on their gates and Black men and women standing outside the gate looking for jobs. When the “Public Accommodations” bill was passed, the “Voting Rights” bill was passed, Civil Rights legislation was on the books, many of us as elders started looking at how we could enjoy the things that so-called Integration would give us, rather than planning for our future.
Now what has happened? Our children have come into the world. What place have we, as their elders, and their leaders, provided for these children? We went after the money! We went after nice things; nice homes. Yes, you deserve that; we should have that! But we never came together as a people to pool resources and begin to build Economic Development for ourselves and our people.
So here are our children, now: They’re born into the world. They didn’t ask to come here; we brought them here, and what we have done is we have failed to provide a future for them.
We sent them to college, giving them an education expecting that when they came out of college there would be a job waiting for them. But there are no jobs now, not even for White people with doctorate degrees! There are no jobs for us!
So when you ask, “What shall we say? Why aren’t we speaking out?”–“speaking” is over! What can we do to stem the tide that is now come upon us? I fear we are too late.
OPEN LINE: What are you saying, Minister Farrakhan? We are too late? So everybody understands …
HMLF: I’m saying that we are reaping the recompense of our failure as a people to do something for ourselves. That is what we’re looking at. Our children are angry! They come into the world; there’s no home life! The homes are broken! A mother is in the house trying to rear her children; she’s working and coming home. The children are “warehoused”! They are, now, in the streets. There’s not a good relationship between brothers and sisters in the home, so they go out in the street, and they find in their peers, the “love,” the “brotherhood” that they didn’t find at home, or in the church. But it’s a brotherhood, now, with a gang instinct.
There are no jobs, so The Enemy has planned for our children to be “warehoused,” and to come into the criminal justice system from the kindergarten. They have made prisons “big business”; many of them are privately-owned, and they’re warehousing our children into the prisons. And the others on the street are being programmed for prison.
But guess what? The State of New Jersey, the State of New York, the State of Ohio, the State of California, the State of Illinois–all of these states are darn near bankrupt! The cities have no more money! So now, they have to lay off people that should be working: The police should be working! The firemen should be working! The teachers should be working! But there’s no money, so they are the “soft line.” I don’t know how the government can, in a time like this, let police go, let firemen go and let teachers go. Jobs are leaving the country, going overseas to a cheap labor market, and here we are, left in the lurch.
And now, governments are so poor, they can’t keep up the federal or state prison systems, so now they’re thinking: “Oh God! What shall we do? We have to let some of these non-violent criminals out into the street.” You designed to put our babies in jail for a little crack cocaine; and giving others who have powdered cocaine shorter sentence reprimand! But our children were warehoused and put into prison! Now, you want to let them out in the street because you cannot afford to keep them in prison, and they have no interest in your decadent, dying educational system! Yes … America is reaping what she has sown, and so are we.
OPEN LINE: Brother Minister, one of the reasons why we’re going to go into Newark and do this is because we don’t really believe it’s “too late” to turn things around–you can turn things around! It has happened before; we can still do it. And, we have faith that we can probably pull this off. All we have to do is sort of energize the people to do for themselves, and I know you believe in that!
HMLF: No, Brother. I’m sorry. I can’t tell you that you’re going to “turn this around”–I would be deceitful. And, it’s an illusion, now. You know, when somebody has not done something for cancer when they find it, and they wait, and wait and wait. When they’re in a “Stage 4” cancer situation, and cancer has metastasized and gone through the body: You can “hope” that you can change things around, and bring them back to life. But it’s the negligence of not doing what you should do in a timely fashion, that when you decide to do it, it’s too late.
Do you know that right now you can preach to our people, and only the best of our people will hear a word and change their behavior? This is written in the scripture! You “scriptural scientists,” you “preachers” and “teachers”: You preach this that is in the Book of Ezekiel, the 37th Chapter, of “The Dry Bones in The Valley.” The Son of Man preached the word to them, they heard the Word; they shook in The Valley, they rattled their bones in the Valley–but they never stood up! So he went back to his Sender and said, “I preached to them, but they are not moving!” The Sender said, “Prophesy”–not to them anymore, but–“to the winds to blow on these bones.” And it was not The Word that made these bones stand up, it was The Winds blowing on them.
I fear to tell you, brothers, that The Winds are blowing; and They’re not blowing as hard as They’re going to blow in this year 2011, and 2012. America is on her way down! And we have been depending on others rather than ourselves and God! So as that ship goes down, ours is going down with it! This is not “my” prediction; this is what the prophets have predicted. We’re living in a Time of Trouble like there never was since there was a Time and a Nation! If you look at Newark, which is a sign of things to come: The whole society is gradually breaking down.
What about the millions that are now unemployed? When their unemployment benefits run out, how do they react? Look in London: When the children saw that they had to pay more money for their education, they began rioting in the streets. Look at the austere budgets: Now, the people have been so spoiled, when you have to cut back, they can’t take it so they resort to anarchy! What you’re seeing in Newark you will see it in major cities. Not just in the urban part of it where we predominate, but you’re going to see White folk doing this … The “Tea Party” is just a start of something. America is in trouble, and we are, too!
And now, our children are out there with no hope, angry, violent! Who gives them the guns? It’s the same Enemy that’s arming the world, is arming our babies! Who brings the drugs in? There are no jobs, so can you offer them, when you talk to them, employment? Can you offer them a job with meaningful pay, that they will not have to beat up the elderly; rob them on the buses; kill our young and our old? Can you do that? No you can’t! All you can do is appeal to us … and I’m afraid that only the best of us will listen.
But the condition of the streets is such, now, that when Essex County is asking for the National Guard to step in: This is a cry, now, that’s going on throughout America! The National Guard is not there to “serve and protect,” they’re trained to kill! And so since our youth are bathing each other in blood, then if blood is what we want, I’m sorry to tell you: Blood is exactly what we’re going to get. I’m sorry to talk like this to us, because we’re looking for hope; we’re looking for guidance–but we have rejected guidance! We’ve rejected good instruction! We have walked out on our great teachers and leaders, and now here we are, still looking to the slave master, or, to a Black man in the White House, to change our terrible condition.
Yes, it is we. It is we who have done this. And it is The Enemy who has done this, programming us for destruction. And now what is happening to us is killing them as well as us. Everybody is going to get what we deserve! And remember the Bible’s prophecy that blood will flow in the streets, up to the horse’s bridle. You have seen nothing yet! But it is coming.
OPEN LINE: Minister Farrakhan, what would you say to Black men in order to stop this rise in crime in our urban areas? What do you say to Black men, and how do they step up to protect their own communities?
HMLF: Before the Million Man March, Brother Farrakhan toured the country telling the people to “Stop The Killing.” I warned us way back then that there was a Government Conspiracy against our young people. People look at Farrakhan, you know, as if he is like a “nice song” that is sung; and then we go away, and we do nothing. Jesus said the same thing: “I piped to you all the day long, but you have not danced! And I have mourned unto you, but you have not lamented.”
When the Million Man March took place, that was a chance for us to Reverse The Condition. But guess what, Brother Slade, and Brother Pickett and Brother Mtume: Because it was led by a Muslim–and 82 percent of the people that were there were Christians–do you know that they took to the airwaves saying that Farrakhan is the “Anti-Christ”? The same Enemy that you want to lay down in bed with as your “friend” worked against what we were trying to do, so that it could not bear all the fruit that it was designed to do.
We are in the midst of an Enemy! And we are not recognizing that Enemy! And the worst part about it is The Enemy outside is working with The Enemy inside. And the Internal Enemy is worse than the External Enemy. I would hope that we as men, in this late, late, late, late hour, would not just “appeal” to our children, but go out in the streets where they are! What can you tell them? “Stop the violence!” “Stop killing one another!” But we have descended into a savage state, where we have lost the knowledge that all the teachers have given us, and now we’re acting like beasts!
I’ve been taught what’s coming; and, it’s all there written in the scriptures. And it’s frightening to me that a people that I love, that I would give my life for to see us in a better state … But we have neglected good preaching. I went to Newark: I had the gangs in a church with Ras Baraka; I preached to the Crips and the Bloods to put the guns down. And for a minute, they listened; and when they went out of the church, guess what! They were set upon by some of the police.
There are some police who don’t want to see peace in the Black community. There are some police who cover our young people, and they sell drugs for police! This is real! And if the police are not going to get rid of the rogue cops, the wicked cops and the murderous cops, then how in the hell can the people respect “law and order” when “law and order” is no law at all!
Yes. Something has to be done. But it won’t be you doing it. It won’t be me doing it. God’s Hand is here now! And He intends to wipe this slate clean. There’ll be a New Heaven, and a New Earth, and the former things will pass away.
OPEN LINE: Where are those voices in the religious, political and civil rights community that are so obviously absent, so silent? No Black leadership on any level is dealing with what is happening with our children, this whole divide; and not addressing this violence. Could you tell us why that is?
HMLF: I know that there are many out there that in their way are addressing this. I can’t say that religious leaders are “not” speaking out, because there are many who are. But there are not enough. I can’t say that our organizations are not doing what they can. But organizations, as we have them constructed, are limited.
Many of us right now are so beholden to others for a job, for favor, for recognition. Even when we know the truth, Brother Mtume, we can’t do it. … And I’m telling you: When we start coming together to pool our resources to create economic development for our people, The Enemy–The Real Enemy–will rise.
Look at our players in the NBA, multi-millionaires! And you know what? Our football players, our basketball players; our wonderful rappers and entertainers: You know they all want to give something back to our community. But those who guide their dollars will not allow them to come together, and pool their resources, and purchase millions of acres of land. America is for sale! You can’t be “economically independent” and you have no Earth that you can call your own?
We’ve got the ability to do it, but we don’t have the unity! We’re all up in the bosom of those who never want to see us economically powerful, because when we become economically powerful, the money that they take from our community will come back into our community. Then, we won’t have to beg others to do this for ourselves.