KINGSTON, Jamaica (FinalCall.com) – If time is the test of all men and all ideas, the Nation of Islam’s highly successful 19th anniversary celebration of the Million Man March in Jamaica was further proof that there is something special about this movement that started nearly 85 years ago in Detroit.
It was 40 years ago that Muhammad Ali, the heavyweight boxing champion and student of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, was invited to Jamaica by then Prime Minister Michael Manley.
A young Minister Louis Farrakhan accompanied The Greatest on the trip and was blessed to display some of his own greatness. Twenty-thousand people came out to a stadium to hear the Minister and the teachings of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad for the first time. Later the Minister was invited to Jamaica House, the official office of Prime Minister Manley, where he spoke and began a long friendship with one of Jamaica’s national heroes.
Some years earlier the patriarch of the Nation of Islam had been denied entry into Jamaica by the country’s third prime minister. As Min. Farrakhan explained, the prime minister was a victim of bad intelligence and the wickedness of the U.S. government.
This trip the Minister was again greeted warmly during a brief media session in the VIP lounge at Norman Manley Airport in Kingston. A representative of the office of the prime minister, an ambassador and other officials were on hand.
He was received by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and entertained such dignitaries as former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson. Jamaican security forces escorted the Minister throughout the city. High ranking police officials stood with him and had pictures snapped with their personal cell phones. His wife was invited to attend a concert as a special guest and Minister Farrakhan laid wreaths at the graves and memorials of some of Jamaica’s and the Black World’s finest leaders.
The media reported on his activity and when thousands turned out Oct. 19 for a major message at the National Arena, countless others watched the address aired live over television and radio, streamed live via Jamaican radio to Jamaican outlets in the U.S., and TV crews, photographers, radio producers and writers crowded the media pit to capture his words. Reggae artists, Rastas, preachers and scholars were on stage and in the audience, paying tribute to the Minister’s life and commitment to the Black Nation in word and song.
If time is the test of all men and all ideas, time is showing that a movement that started in Detroit and has grown to encompass followers around the globe is not something that should be ignored.
In Jamaica, where hardly anyone comes to put clothes on, the dignified and regal presence of Muslim women, who walked the streets handing out invites to the National Arena, were stunning.
Men, women and children marveled at the pastel colors, the warm smiles, the kind manner and the sisterly love exuded by these women of Muhammad. Muslim women found themselves engaged in conversations with their Jamaican sisters and accorded respect by their Jamaican brothers.
Trying to buy a cell phone turned into a 30-minute teachable moment as young Jamaican women asked Muslim young women about their wonderful dress, their faith, their beliefs and their reason for coming to the island in the sun.
Little girls with no shoes and tattered clothes were embraced and told that one day they would wear such clothing and were very, very precious.
The Fruit of Islam, the men of the Nation, walked the streets with the women and went ahead of them days before. They were courteous, well-spoken and well-dressed. Their outward appearance was an indicator of their training and their handling of people was an indicator of a training that inculcates respect for self and extends respect to others.
“Are you a religion or a movement?” was a common question. Muslims responded in different ways, usually explaining that the Nation of Islam is an entity that includes all Black people and that the religion is Islam, which only means submission to God. Islam, curious Jamaicans were told, is a complete way of life.
From the stage of the National Arena, the Minister noted that previous trips to Jamaica have included some members of his family and staff. But, he said, never have I come to Jamaica as I have come this trip. A tree is judged by the fruit it bears and a man is judged by his work, said Min. Farrakhan. Some 2,000 members of the Nation came to participate in the powerful weekend in Jamaica. They came from America, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, Canada and other departure points.
The crowd roared its approval as the Minister explained how nations are judged by the status of their women. The M.G.T. & G.C.C., the women of the Nation of Islam, showed how important the woman is and how the woman in Islam is raised, honored and dignified. The men treat the women with respect, opening doors and securing them everywhere they go, said the Minister. The value of virtuous women is such that men will die to protect these sisters, he said.
The celebration of the Million Man March anniversary brought an invaluable spiritual message, a model community to examine and monetary gain to Jamaica. Millions of dollars were spent in a country where many still struggle to eke out an existence. We hope as many ordinary Jamaicans benefit from the infusion of capital as possible. We hope that some work, a few more hours of work, some tips and monetary gifts help as we work toward a complete economic rebirth that will raise the living standards of the masses of the people.
If time is the test of all men and all ideas, time has shown that a divine man and a divine message shined a great light into Jamaica and the Caribbean. May Jamaica and nations in the region see the light and walk therein. May all us strive even harder to be good examples and shine our personal lights to dispel darkness. May the product that is the Nation of Islam be pondered and scrutinized. We have been blessed with Supreme Wisdom and a way of life we freely and gladly share with the world. May the Caribbean and the world accept a man, a message, a mission and a movement that is right on time.