Farrakhan's cry may be our last chance at responding to the inevitable
Jehron Muhammad | 11/1/2012, 11:50 a.m.
Jamaican columnist Betty Ann Blaine recently focused on the tragedy that is the politics of the Caribbean, Jamaica in particular, and the troubling social and economic conditions of the region, and the lack of willingness to build coalitions could have expanded her critique to include North America.
In her treatise, the Jamaican Observer columnist displayed special angst for religious leaders. Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King and his criticism of the Black church, she wrote, "In spite of the noble affirmations of Christianity, the church has often lagged in its concern for social justice and too often has been content to mouth pious irrelevances and sanctimonious trivialities."
Giving the condition and neglect of a prescription for advancement, she continued, "Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the economic and social conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is the kind the Marxist describes as 'an opiate of the people.'"
That Blaine's ruminations were a direct response to Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan's first leg of his Caribbean tour that included Jamaica, Haiti and St. Kitts is telling. This fall, he completes the third leg of his Caribbean tour, which this past September included Cuba.
The fact that Farrakhan, whose parents hale from the West Indies, called for "regional unity" as the "only way for Caribbean peoples to withstand the onslaught of Western economic and cultural imperialism," obviously resonated with Blaine and--judging by the tremendous response from his visit to the region--all that came within earshot of his remarks as well.
Of special note is that when most almost-octogenarians are well into retirement, the 79-year-old Farrakhan is on a nonstop lecture tour of the U.S. and the Caribbean, warning all that will listen of the world's impending crises and the limited benefits of an Obama presidential win. His message, especially geared toward Africans in the Diaspora, is to galvanize economic and political resources and to synthesize ideological bents as the only way for survival.
The "absence of moral capital" and the manifested "poverty of ideas," as declared by Blaine of the region's ruling class, can be summed up in Farrakhan's July 10, 2010, open letter to Black leaders, which describes the inability of the wealthy and influential to effectuate positive change among the masses.
"No matter how rich and powerful some of us have become," the African Diaspora's premier leader wrote, "we have never been shown how to network with the wealthy and learned of our people, pooling our resources that we may produce for our people that which would grow us from a begging position as little children to become masters of our own destiny."
Being bereft of ideas that are geared toward self-actualization and self-reliance can be seen in last year's March on Washington for jobs, organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Economic Policy Institute's "jobs-centered approach to African-American community development," which ties success to "federal intervention." No national leader has chimed in on Farrakhan's message of attaining economic and political parity with whites through collective pooling of resources and ideas; no Caribbean leader has called for the development of an infrastructure that develops the region's natural resources into finished products and selling the surplus abroad.