[Editor’s note: The following article contains edited excerpts from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s keynote address at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-Operative Studies in Valsayn, Trinidad in C.L.R. James Auditorium on March 24, 2012. Click here to order this message in its entirety on MP3, DVD and CD or call 1.866.602.1230, ext. 200.]
I am a student of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and I could not thank Allah enough for His Merciful Intervention in the affairs of Black people in America and the Western world, Who came in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, Whom we believe is The Great Mahdi. He came among us, and He raised from among us in America His Messenger to us, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad; and He gave him a message, a weighty message, that would lift the Black man of America, the Black man of the Caribbean, the Black man of Africa and the Black man of the Isles of the Pacific. But also in that message is a message for all of humanity. I thank Allah for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
I don’t want you to be upset by my concentration on “Black people”; I don’t want any in the audience to think that we are not for other segments of the Human Family, but the condition of the Black man is the worst in the Caribbean, the worst in Africa, the worst in the world. So it is necessary that we pay attention to the condition of the worst, so when they are lifted up, the whole will get lifted.
I am born from Black people, and I am not ashamed to say that I stand for my people! I recently spoke with a highly-placed gentleman who said, in essence, if you talk like you’re “for the Black man,” they’ll call you a “racist.” Well, let me disabuse you of such a stupid appellation for people who are concerned about themselves and their people: Who else will be concerned for us if we are not concerned for ourselves?
I play the violin; and when you play the violin, give your life to the violin and become very good at playing it, what do they call you? A “violinist.” So the suffix —ist gives you the degree of commitment and proficiency of the person to the main word (violin)… So, if I, as a Black man, want to see my people rise, and I give my life to the rise of my own people, is that “racist”? Yes–but it is positive racism. If I, as a Black man, want my people to rise, and I will not deny another segment of the Human Family the rights that God has given to them, then my positive activity for my race is good for all, for the prophet said, “When you kill one man out of injustice, it is like you’ve killed the whole of humanity.” What a statement! And, if you save one man who is falling, that is like saving the whole of humanity–so you’re wrong if you think that because you are an “individual,” you are “not important” to that process.
But what we are dealing with is not “racism” in the positive sense; we’re dealing with absolute wickedness in the name of race. “Racism” in the common understanding is when I, as a Black man, will deprive another human being of what God desires that human being to have. That’s not “looking out for your race,” that is wickedness, so call it for what it is.
I did not come to Port-of-Spain, to Trinidad, to be a divisive person, but how can I look at the division, and the self-hatred among Black people, and not address that with medicine? If this Holy Qur’an is called Al-Shifa, “The Medicine,” “The Healing,” what is medicine without a good doctor to administer the medicine?
The problem with “religion” is that while you have a lot of medicine, you’ve got dumb doctors who do not know how to administer The Word of God! What kind of “shepherds” do we have, Trinidad, where we, The Sheep of God, are divided and self-hated; hateful, envious and distrustful of one another, so that you become “the playground” of other people who don’t suffer from our sickness?
‘Education’ that robs the Caribbean of its productivity
I was in Trinidad 16 years ago after the Million Man March; and in coming back, this is not the same Trinidad that I met at that time. I want us to talk about it; I want us to see what we can do to make it better.
I see the Caribbean, in today’s global society; and how the Caribbean as a productive element is being marginalized so that it becomes a “playground” for the middle class, the rich, and the super-rich. And the super-rich are buying a lot of land in the Caribbean, I’m sure you noticed … And the Blacks who remain here are stuck in service-oriented enterprise: Servants in the hotel industry, on the golf courses; and our young girls are being turned into pleasurable tarts to serve the degenerate desires of Europe and America.
Is that the future that your grandfather and grandmother suffered to give you? And are you going to accept that reality and pass that on to your children? Look at what is happening: There are great institutions of learning in the Caribbean, namely the University of The West Indies located in Jamaica, Barbados and in Trinidad. But no matter what courses are taught beyond service-oriented courses; if all forms of the disciplines of engineering, science, chemistry, physics and bio-chemistry are taught in these institutions–but there are no appropriate, competent, corollary industries in which these graduates can work, develop those industries, and develop the Caribbean–then they leave and go to America, to Europe, and offer their brain power to someone else that really doesn’t care for them.
If I were to ask, “Why do you want education?” and the response given is: “Well, I want education because I want to get a degree so I can make money!”–then in the whole objective of “education,” the motivation is sick. “Money” should not be the motive for education. In the Muslim Prayer, when we have what is called “The Call to Prayer,” you hear the muezzin, or the one who calls to prayer, saying: Hayya ‘ala s-salat, Hayya ‘ala ‘l-falah which means “Come to prayer, Come to cultivation.” The whole idea of Spiritual Knowledge, and the gaining of Knowledge, period, is to cultivate the human being.
So what is “education” for? It’s to cultivate you and The Gift that God has given to each and every human being.
Here we are at the Cipriani College of Labour and Co-Operative Studies. What kind of courses are you studying? How many of you are studying Engineering? How many are studying Medicine? How many are studying Law, Chemistry, Astronomy, The Sciences? These courses are hardly offered! If this is a “Labor” college, then what does that mean? If you offer “courses affiliated to labor/industrial relations,” that’s nice. But how many of you are looking for a job?
A majority of Caribbean countries have lost more than 50 percent of the labor force in the tertiary education segment, and more than 30 percent in the secondary segment. “Tertiary” means that you are coming out of college; “secondary” means from grades 9-12. So if I am here studying “labor relations,” “industrial relations”–and there isn’t any “industry”–I am wasting my time, and my parents’ money, to study something I can’t use!
“Education” is now like going to a “used car dealer”: They wash it, clean it, and shine it up, and you sit in it and say, “Oh, man! This is nice, eh?” But when you put the key in it, it has trouble starting. And by the time you drive off the lot, the car has depreciated by hundreds of dollars. And after a while, you can’t drive it at all. That is what “education” is doing: Robbing the people of their money to give them something they can’t use!
You are not channeling yourself into courses that make you able to increase the productivity of Trinidad & Tobago, and the Caribbean!
Blacks of The Caribbean must have unity and love among self
Did you know that in Spain and Portugal, during the time of The Inquisitions, many members of the Jewish community who owned land in Europe, Spain and Portugal were asked to give up their Judaism and convert to Christianity in order to keep what they had, or to save themselves from persecution. Some of them became Christians; some of them changed their names to Christian names. Others fled Spain, and Portugal; and when they fled, they traveled to “The New World,” and found refuge in the Caribbean.
And if you know anything about the Jewish Talmud, they are taught how to go into every country where the first thing they must do is acquire land, invest in agricultural infrastructure, and control the financing and distribution of farm products. In order to make the land successful, they would employ the peasantry to work the land; and all of this formed an economic base that ended up in Jewish people becoming hated by the Gentiles who felt exploited, were envious of their progress, and wanted to get rid of them.
It is the wealthy Jewish people who financed the voyages of Columbus at the very same time that Jews were being expelled from Spain and Portugal. And in the “New World” of The Caribbean and South America, they followed the guidance of the Talmud, and gained access to large tracts of land. And began to enslave the African to work the land! They brought with them a great knowledge of sugar production; and in the Caribbean, they became masters of the sugar cane industry as they had in Europe. And sugar became a great money crop for the owners of the plantations, and the prime reason for the growth of the international Slave Trade.
So from the Caribbean came sugar, bananas, pineapple, rice and coffee. In Brazil there was sugar, tobacco, cocoa and cotton. And these students of the Talmud were the masters of the production and marketing of those things. And of course, the British, the French, the Dutch, the Portuguese, the Spanish all controlled these territories in the West Indies at various times. But no matter which European nation controlled the land and the sea, it was the Jewish merchants who controlled the profitable trade, and the produce of the Caribbean and the Americas. These are wealthy, wealthy people now.
I don’t blame them for being wealthy–but we should study how they became wealthy; as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said to us: “Study the White man. He’s successful. He makes no excuses about his failure. He works together in a collective manner. We should do the same.” So when you see your Indian citizens successful, ask yourself: “Why are they successful and why are we failing?” First of all: They have unity and love among themselves–that’s No. 1! You can’t blame them for that; this is not their fault, the Indians never enslaved us! They came, and they of course have profited from your terrible condition–but they did not produce it!
Now, you want to be treated as an “equal,” right? You deserve to be treated as an equal! But, in the word “equal” is the word qualify: You have to be qualified for equality. And you know, you can never be “equal” until you’re first set free! And when you’re free, then you can make yourself equal to justify your existence on God’s Earth. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” What “truth”? And, evidently you’re not “free.”
When the Indian came here, did he come with an English name such as “John McMahon,” “Henry Washington,” or “Lawrence Brown”? Not my Indian family! No, they had an Indian name, Indian culture, their own religion, right? What do you have Black man and woman? You wear an English name, but you ain’t English! You speak English, but you’re not an Englishman–and hardly master the only language you speak! And then The Enemy gave you his religion. You had one in Africa: You had an African name, an African culture, African history; you gave civilization to the world! And now you come here, wearing White folks’ names, in White folks’ religion, trying to be a “White person”! How in the hell will you ever be respected until you learn to love your Black self, and be proud of the way God created you?
Dear preachers, pastors: You are the saving grace of our people if we teach Black people to love each other like Jesus taught. If we could get the pastors together, and start teaching Black people why they should love each other… The first, and the Greatest Commandment, is: “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength”; and the second one is like unto that: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Well, brothers and sisters: You’re not living next to White folk! You’re living next door to your Black brother and sister, right?
Did you know that Black people are the first life that God created in the universe? The Bible teaches you: “From one blood came all nations”–what “blood” do you think that is? When you want to find out where life began, you don’t go to Europe! Where do they go? They go to Africa! One of the leading anthropologists, Dr. Richard Leakey, went to Africa and found the bones of a Black man 750,000 years old. He called him Zinjanthropist: Zinj meaning “Black”; Anthropus meaning “man.” He said, “That man had a father,” so he kept digging and found the remains of someone 1,750,000 years old; then 2,000,000, 3,000,000, 10,000,000–there is no record of your birth in this world! This is why the Bible, in the Book of Daniel, said that they saw “The Ancient of Days”: His eyes were like “flaming coals,” and his hair was like “wool,” and his feet like “burnished brass.”
You’re an ancient people that gave civilization to the world! Now you have to rise up again, and give civilization again to the world! That is your destiny!
Dear Brothers and Sisters of The Caribbean, just look at yourself in the mirror with your beautiful Black self, and tell God: “I thank You for creating me as You did, because if You had not, we could not have come across the Atlantic in the holds of ships, and survive! Thank You, God, for making us strong! Thank You, God, for making us beautiful! Thank You, God! I’m going to fall in love with myself, and my brother as myself!”
And then let’s go and end the violence that’s plaguing our community, unite the community, pool our resources–and buy the eastern side of Port-of-Spain, and make it a decent place for us to live!