-Staff Writer-

HARLEM, New York (FinalCall.com) – Thousands lined Malcolm X Boulevard Aug. 13 to join a demonstration against America’s “illegitimate war” against Libya, efforts to exploit Africa and Black suffering in the Big Apple and across the country.

“We’re sending a message to the White House, to the State House and to City Hall,” said New York City Councilman Charles Barron. “Don’t have us bring London (riots) to America. Don’t push us to bring Egypt (riots) to America. We’ve had enough. Black people are fed up.”

“America has trillions for war. We need to declare a war on poverty, unemployment and racism. We’ve had enough and need to take it to the streets,” he said.


Radio legend Bob Law and Viola Plummer, of the December 12th Movement, emceed the Millions in Harlem rally. “Dr. King came to Harlem and took a stance against the war in Viet Nam and energized the movement. Minister Farrakhan returns to Harlem to speak against the war in Libya. The movement continues to be energized,” said Mr. Law.

For more than 10 years the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan served as the minister of Muhammad Mosque No 7, located in Harlem, where his service was legendary. He was welcomed back with cheers and applause.

“We have to carve out a destiny for ourselves,” the Minister told a crowd standing outside along Malcolm X Boulevard on a sunny Saturday afternoon. “No Black or White man in the White House is going to give us what our unity can produce,” he said.

Photos: Mikal Veale

“Minister Farrakhan always speaks the truth, he is always truthful and when he talks about Zionist media and how Obama has been compromised, these are truths that a lot of people–even Black people don’t want to hear, but it is truth. The point is, we have to act on this truth,” legendary poet and activist Amiri Baraka told The Final Call.

“Our people have gotten some information and knowledge and the fact that they turned out in the tens of thousands and it wasn’t a concert, it was for Minister Farrakhan to teach, and he did, and they accepted it,” said longtime activist and lead organizer of the rally, Viola Plummer of the December 12th Movement.

“We know because of their response, that the movement for equality and justice and to prevent the destruction of our Motherland is going to happen. We’re going to go to the United Nations–the people heard that–our people on the continent of Africa heard that, and the people will demand that we take the next steps.”

A. Akbar Muhammad, international representative of the Nation of Islam, said he received calls from Libyans in the country as well as Libyans living in the United Kingdom who watched the rally and Min. Farrakhan’s speech via satellite. This rally shows that Black people have a place in international affairs, he added.

“We are here in Harlem, and the thing that is important about this is that they always think that Black people should have nothing to do with international affairs and that is a private domain that we should be away from and what Minister Farrakhan did today was that he busted that bubble. We have to be involved, especially when the decisions made by the government affect our lives,” Mr. Muhammad told The Final Call. “Now we are engaged in three wars and the people in America are suffering. The war against Libya is a war against Africa and we should be concerned.”

The rally featured a range of speakers who condemned the assaults on Africa and decried inaction and inattention to the problems suffered at home. Poet Baraka recited his widely acclaimed work, “Somebody Blew Up America” and performer Melba Moore energized the program with a rousing rendition of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.”

Mr. Baraka shared how he was the poet laureate of New Jersey until he wrote the poem after 9/11. The lyrics include, “Who makes money from war? Who said they god but still be the devil? Who say you ugly and they the good lookingest? Who made the bombs, who bought the slaves, who sold the Slaves?”

Protestors support end to war on Libya.

Kofi Taharka, national chairman of the National Black United Front, said his group has been protesting the war on Libya in North Africa since the first bombs dropped in March.

“It has never been in our best interest for someone outside of our community to come in and try to solve our problem. This is an African problem,” said Mr. Taharka.

“Part of the problem is our disunity. We have to come together all the time and not just during a crisis. Two things will move us forward, youth and unity.”

“There comes a time when people have no alternative but resistance. This march will revitalize the Pan African movement. It will broaden our peoples’ worldview and demonstrate the need for Africans to unite in our own political and economic interests internationally,” added Ms. Plummer. “We must expose the United Nations Security Council machinations, Western imperialism, the attack on Black people in the U.S., and all collaborators at every turn.”

Organizers of the Millions March in Harlem held a press conference June 22, which attracted international attention with the participation of Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockman, who flew from Nicaragua. “There is no people in the whole planet who know less about what the United States does abroad than Americans. They are systematically deceived. This is the very foundation of what they call democracy in this country,”he said.

Father d’Escoto went on to outline the need for reform in the United Nations, emphasizing the domination of the voting members of the UN Security Council over all other countries.

“This monster (America) doesn’t just want our oil, they want all of what we have, our very lives. We must stand up. When we stand up, they will fall. They’ve put fear into people but what you see here is people are not afraid. Stand up, rise up and fight for what’s right,” said political activist Pam Africa.

Organizers went from borough to borough rallying people turn out for the march. Others came by bus from as far away as Chicago and Houston with the National Black United Front.

“Col. Gadhafi and the people of Libya have built their country from the poorest to the richest country in Africa. He is the key person in the organizing effort to build a United States of Africa. President Mugabe has dared to take back the land stolen by European settlers and give it back to the people of Zimbabwe,” Bronx coordinator Kamau Brown said.

“The attack on us here is insidious. Police brutality and harassment, gentrification of our communities, housing foreclosures, destruction of public education, closing hospitals, the prison industry, the list goes on and on. They all destroy lives.The NATO bombs in Libya and the illegal sanctions in Zimbabwe kill people.Black people understand that it’s time for Pan African Unity,” Mr. Brown concluded.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark told the crowd, “We’re here because we seek justice and we fight injustice … this has to stop. The U.S. spends more on arms than any other country in the world. This has to stop. If we fail to stop this military spending, it will just go on and on.”

“Your enemy is not our enemy. Afghanistan and Iraq are not our enemies. Our enemies are right here in the United Snakes of America. Our enemy is budget cuts, our enemy is racism and our enemy is White supremacy. Black man you don’t have to go overseas to fight your enemy,” New Black Panther Party head Attorney Malik Zulu said.

Organizers considered the rally a success. What’s next for the movement?

“Our next stop is the United Nations Sept. 20 when the General Assembly debate opens. The Minister has set the vibe. That was critical because this started as a march and turned into a vehicle for information and to convey our political message that went out prior to the rally. This was politically necessary,” Omowole Clay, founding member of the December 12th Movement told The Final Call.

“Pan Africanism must be rejuvenated. Our people must be educated. This is not the 60’s or the 70’s. This is not Mandela’s time. We have to link our people. We can’t leave things as they are. We have to bridge the gap.”

“While we were mobilizing, the African stores were moved by our concern for Africa. The fruits of today are multiplied five times by the work it took to get here. Working with the Nation of Islam forged our unity,” he said.

(Ashahed M. Muhammad contributed to this report.)

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