COMMENT: This seems to be fascist cult week. We’ve touched on the “Truthers” and Farrakhan, then the “Truthers” and now the leader of the Nation of Islam himself. “Vanfield” anticipated this post yesterday with his/her contribution about Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s pas de deux vis a vis slavery.
In addition to blaming African American slavery on–you guessed it–the Jews, he has ardently defended Arabs in the Sudan and Mauritania against condemnation for their active, ongoing enslavement of black Africans.
Here in the Bay Area, the ripples are subsiding after Farrakhan drew a standing ovation from an African American audience at the University of California at Berkeley. Criticized from many quarters, Farrakhan’s appearance was defended by the school administration under the rubric of “free speech.”
It seems that a tree-blight is spreading through the groves of academe.
(Shortly after 9/11, a close friend counseled me that, if I continued in this line of research, I should be prepared to clash intellectually to an increasing degree with Holocaust deniers. Prominent “Truther” Jim Fetzer has indeed attempted to open the debate on that subject to “both sides.” Blaming African American slavery on “Da Jooz” is of the same intellectual fabric. So is the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center/cruise missile hit the Pentagon drivel. I’m now braced for the onslaught of the Holocaust deniers–“But what about this?”)
In addition to the substantive indications that Farrakhan may well have been involved with the murder of Malcom X, whose mantle he has assumed, Farrakhan has vaporized his credibility by claiming that he has traveled in a UFO.
It appears that Farrakhan’s defense of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Sudan, which has pursued the slavery/genocide against the black population of that unfortunate country is based on a professional relationship with that murderous regime.
When Farrakhan’s defense of black African slavery was shattered by journalists, many of them were terrorized by his goons.
EXCERPT: Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan addressed an estimated 600 students at UC Berkeley last Saturday, and told Black students not to befriend any Jew without first reading The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, a book whose thesis is that “the Jews” were behind the black slave trade. Heck of a way to start up a friendship!
Scholars both black and white have exposed the NOI book as a pack of lies, a modern day calumny which, much like their medieval analogues — “the Jews poisoned the wells,” “the Jews make matzo with the blood of Christian children” –is meant to incite hatred for Jewish people. Dangerous hatred. The Daily Californian reports that Jewish students were hurt and shocked. No doubt.
But what will be more shocking perhaps is Minister Farrakhan’s own semi-secret relationship with the modern day slaving of African Blacks by people, and in countries, that the NOI leader has an interest to protect. In 1994, an African Muslim from Mauritania – Mohammed Athie — and I broke the story of a modern day slave trade in Mauritania and Sudan, in The New York Times. We reported that “perhaps 300,000” African Muslims were still serving Arab/Berber masters. “Black Africans in Mauritania were converted to Islam more than 100 years ago,” we wrote, “but while the Koran forbids the enslavement of fellow Muslims, in this country race outranks religious doctrine. These people are chattel: used for labor, sex, and breeding. They may be exchanged for camels, trucks, guns or money. Their children are the property of the master.”
In Sudan, Africa’s largest country, we reported that slavery was “making a comeback, the result of a 12-year-old war waged by the Muslim north against the black Christian and animist south. Arab militias, armed by the Government, raid villages, mostly those of the Dinka tribe, shoot the men and enslave the women and children. These are kept as personal property or marched north and sold.” We based our reports on government documents, human rights publications and a stunning interview with a UN official .
The op-ed shocked many. We were encouraged to launch the American Anti-Slavery Group (AASG) which would document a modern day slave trade around the globe, but would focus on Sudan and Mauritania as the worst case of slavery, and the most controversial, and therefore least likely to be covered by others.
PBS’s Tony Brown Show, the most popular Black news program at the time, invited Mohammed and me to speak about slavery. Immediately after our appearance, we were attacked by Farrakhan’s spokesman who denied that Blacks served Arab masters in Sudan or – worse from NOI’s point of view, that Black Muslims served Arab Muslim masters in Mauritania. Farrakhan’s “calling,” after all, funded in part by Arab dictator Muammar Khadafy, was to break the Black/Jewish civil rights alliance while teaching American Blacks that Islam was their path to freedom. Not in Sudan and Mauritania it wasn’t!
NOI was serious about shutting us up. Samuel Cotton, a black reporter for the City Sun, NY’s second largest black paper conducted a thorough investigation that resulted in a five part series. “Arab Masters, Black Slaves” screamed across the front page in NYC’s news kiosks. NOI warned Sam. They followed and menaced him when he spoke in Chicago, not far from their headquarters. Sam’s book, Silent Terror, has become an underground classic.
At a press conference in D.C in 1996, Farrakhan was asked about reports of slavery in Sudan. According to the NY Times , he angrily challenged them: “If slavery exists, go … to Sudan, and come back and tell the American people what you found.” The Baltimore Sun sent two reporters to Sudan. They found and liberated slaves and published a special four page insert in the paper’s weekend edition. Farrakhan refused their request for an interview — and pretty much went radio silent on slavery issues… until fairly recently. . . .
COMMENT: “Calypso Louie” (as Farrakhan used to call himself) has gone out of his way to stigmatize the black African victims of contemporary slavery for the color of their skin and their kinky hair!!
EXCERPT: . . . This was clearly demonstrated during his Savior Day address on February 25, 1996, and in subsequent speeches, where the Minister graphically described the people of South Sudan as being very, very, very . . . very dark with kinky hair as compared to the brown (white!) Northern Arabs, who according to Farrakhan, looked exactly like him! He used the adverb –very– 15 times to emphasize his color prejudice against the Southern Sudanese. . . .