Interview with Minister Louis Farrakhan by Imhotep Gary Byrd on WLIB on July 31 to discuss the upcoming Millions March in Harlem on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 10 a.m. at Malcolm X Boulevard at 110th Street
GB: Brother Minister, it’s always a pleasure to have you back.
LF: Oh, my brother, it’s my great honor, privilege and pleasure to be your guest on WLIB and to be able to speak to the wonderful brothers and sisters of New York City and the surrounding area. Thank you so much for this privilege.
GB: You are more than welcome and we are more than appreciative, believe me. Why is it important for you to come to New York for the upcoming Millions March in Harlem, scheduled for Aug. 13?
LF: Well, as you may know my dear brother, Sister Viola Plummer and the 12th of December Movement came up with a idea and thought that the enemies of Africa were planning to recolonize Africa, and she wanted to hold a march in Harlem to gather Black people together to alert us to this ugly fact that the Western powers are planning and are in active form of recolonizing the mother continent. And we cannot sit by and allow this to happen without our feet marching, our voices being heard and organizing throughout the country to let our government know, and the governments of the world know, that we will not stand by and allow the mother continent to be recolonized by those who have sucked her blood over many centuries, and now wish to do it again.
GB: There is a place in which the march is projected, and obviously we’ve had some conversation along the timeline with the December 12th Movement. As I indicated, the theme focuses on the attack on African people on the continent, which you just responded to, but also adds the attack on African people in the United States. What is your perspective on that part of the agenda?
LF: Well, as our people know, we are suffering more now than we ever have. And even though we have a larger Black middle class, and we have many Black millionaires and a few Black billionaires, the masses of our people are continuing to slide backwards into poverty and want. We cannot allow in a new election season our brother president, who gained 97 percent of the Black vote in 2008, to go to sleep and think that he can take the Black vote for granted.
He has spoken out on gay rights and on unions and on other things that affect many people. We want him now to address the deep thirst and concerns of Black and Brown people in America who are now suffering from great injustices: police brutality, racial profiling, loss of jobs, loss of money. We need the president of the United States to speak out for us, and we need to unite and speak for ourselves.
GB: Let’s stay on that point for a moment. In the last hour, we had a program called “Obama Watch,” and in the course of that dialogue, the panelists there joining us, Milton Allimadi, Bancoli Thompson and with Cash Michaels, there was a debate and discussion that also involved some of our listeners who seem to feel, to the point that you just addressed, that the president is not necessarily speaking up for that particular base and electorate for his election. And from your remarks, you said something along that line. Can you just expand your perspective over what came up in the broadcast, the distinction between candidate Obama and President Obama?
LF: Well as president, as you know, he is surrounded by forces that he was not surrounded by necessarily when he was candidate Obama. We never would have thought as we looked at our beautiful brother, as he campaigned for this very high office, that he would be responsible for bombing Africa and killing a leading African president or calling for his death and calling for regime change under the guise of humanitarian help.
It’s so much bigger than that, but the forces that surround him, for instance, as you know, this brother is a very brilliant man. He is a Harvard graduate, but his degree is in law and constitutional law. When you become president and you have all of the problems that you have to face as the president of the United States of America, he has to surround himself with people in the economic realm who can help him make economic decisions.
Unfortunately, he’s surrounded himself with some of the same people from Goldman Sachs and others from the Federal Reserve who are not in the best interest of the little man.
These are people who encouraged him to make this tremendous bailout package of nearly $1 trillion. But the little people in Harlem, in the Southside and Westside Chicago, in Cleveland, Ohio, Los Angeles or in Atlanta, they never got the benefit of what our brother was able to secure from Congress. We bailed out the banks with the little people losing their homes at an alarming rate. Little people are suffering from poverty and want. What we want is our brother to speak to the hurt of the little man. Everybody talks about what’s happening to the middle class, and the middle class is suffering, but nobody seems to be responsible for the poor.
This is what we need our brother president to address, and he need not fear that if he addresses the concerns of the mass poor that he will lose the vote of those whites who voted for him. Because they knew he was a Black man, they voted for him in spite of the color of his skin, and they would not think less of him if he spoke out from the base and on behalf of the base that helped to put him in office. And this is what we need to do to encourage our brother, and I believe he will, but it’s going to take all of us uniting, just as people are calling the White House, calling Congress, twittering and doing all of that on the debt ceiling crisis.
Well, we can do the same to let him know and representatives in Congress know, and those in the congressional Black caucus know, business as usual cannot be tolerated. Not only in this election season, we have power that we can use in a constructive way, and hopefully our brother will hear the cry of his constituents who put him in that high office.
GB: We have the domestic issue on the one hand and the issue of international affairs on the other, as your remarks have indicated. I’m going to return to your essential criticism about U.S. foreign policy where Africa is concerned and concerning Libya in particular.
LF: I don’t know if our listening audience is aware that the United Nations in March of this year was going to present Muammar Gaddafi with the United Nations Humanitarian Award for the great work that he and those with him were doing not only for the Libyan people, but for the African continent as well. Muammar Gaddafi, whether we like him or not, when you understand what this brother has done not only for Libya, but also using petrodollars to help Africa-this man put into a bank billions of dollars to help Africa get her own satellite so we don’t have to call through Europe to get to Africa. Now we can call directly to Africa, which caused Europe to lose over $500 million last year.
Gaddafi put millions of dollar into an account to set up an African Development Bank. Gaddafi used money-oil revenue that he gets from Libya-to finance business projects throughout Africa to make Africa more independent. Instead of raw materials coming up out of the land in Africa being sent to Europe to be fashioned into goods that are sent back to Africa at a higher price, this was going to stop. Africa would take her own resources, make products and put her own products on the market.
He used billions of dollars to connect states in Africa. This man has something to make Western powers, who have grown strong sucking the blood of Africa, fear-fearing that if Africa became independent and used the tremendous resources that Africa has, and that the Western world needs, in order to become powerful and stay powerful in the 21st century.
So he became a threat. In order to vamp on him and destroy him and destroy what he was doing with Africa and for Africa, they manufactured this false play that he was killing his own people in order to put him out of power, assassinate him, destroy the good that this man has done and put a puppet regime in power so that they would no longer have to contend with the idea of the United States of Africa, which the African Union was moving towards under Brother Gaddafi’s guidance, help and monetary assistance.
GB: The award that you were mentioning just moments ago in regards to the United Nations is interesting in relation to looking at the timeline of what’s been happening. There was also a UN report that was issued around January 2011, a multi-country report that seemed to give Libya, and subsequently Muammar Gaddafi’s government, rather high marks and praise as early as January 2011 around a whole range of issues, from human rights to a number of the areas that you mentioned as well.
LF: That is correct, my dear brother, and of course that was what was leading to this humanitarian award to Muammar Gaddafi and the Libyan Jamahiriya. What Brother Gaddafi did coming to power in a bloodless coup is, he nationalized the oil, he removed Britain and America from their bases in Libya and he used Libyan oil to finance revolutionary movements against puppet regimes in Africa and other parts of the world. This made him persona non grata in the West, and it also set him up as an enemy of those who have traditionally misused Africa and poisoned African leadership.
When I say poison, I don’t mean with physical poison, but African leaders who wanted more for themselves than they wanted for the liberation of our people-these are the types of leaders that America supported. She did not support Osageyfo Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Ture and many of those revolutionaries and many of those revolutionary thinking Black leaders, Patrice Lumumba and others. These are the Black leaders who were murdered or abandoned or who were set up to destroy their power, because they were the leaders who understood a united Africa. Not all of these separate states.
Kwame Nkrumah, Gamal Adel Nasser, they wanted to lift up the idea of the honorable Marcus Garvey-that there should be one Africa. That is what Nasser wanted, that is what Nkrumah wanted, that is what Muammar Gaddafi spent billions of dollars trying to promote: an African Union on the way to a United States of Africa. This is what made him such a threat to the West, and unfortunately for them, he’s still there, he’s still alive. They will ultimately have to deal with that man.
If I can make a point with this. He raised the standard of living with the Libyan people to the highest on the African continent and even the highest in the Middle East. He freed women who were Muslims to be a part of government, to be a part of a society where they don’t sit back and allow men to do everything. The women are partners with the men in Libya. He was a socialist in orientation in the early days, but as he became involved deeper and deeper with the Quran, he saw himself as a reformer of Islam, and he was in the process of reforming Islam in his country and influencing the development in others.
I was there with him, my dear brother, when he spent $33 billion to create a marvel in the 20th century where they discovered water under the desert. And he invested $33 billion to bring that water up out of the desert, and I was with him on the day that we pushed a certain button and the water began from near Benghazi into Tripoli, almost to the Tunisian boarder.
He made agriculture an absolute must for Libya, that they would produce their own food. He made it possible for the Libyans to get land and equipment to farm the land so that Libya would never have to depend on others for the basic necessities of food. This is what this man was doing, not only for Libya, but he was doing it for Africa as well. He became a thorn in the side of Europe, so now they want regime change.
The man was not in any office of power, he’s the revolutionary leader. We call him Brother Leader Muammar Gaddafi. He set up a participatory democracy where the people make the decisions for the future, and he guides the revolution.
I was with him, dear brother, when African presidents would come in, and he encouraged them and said, “Look, we are revolutionaries and you cannot have a revolution and every four years or eight years you bring somebody else in who may or may not continue the trend that you have started.” So when people say he has been in power too long, it takes a long time to bring a mind out of a colonial and slave mentality. He is not interested in power in that sense for himself, but he wants to empower the people.
And lastly, brother, he shared oil revenue with all the citizens of Libya. No Libyan has to pay for health care, education or for living in a house or an apartment.
Everybody there has a place to live. And he has sent hundreds of thousands of Libyans all over the world to study and the Libyan government pays for their education. If there is an operation that a Libyan needs and they have to go to Europe or America for that operation, the Libyan government pays for it. There is no government on the earth that does that for their people to the degree that this man has done.
That kind of leader with that kind of work for his people is an enemy to those who want to live off the sweat, blood and labor of the poor, but not give the poor anything in return. This is why some say that if this man came to America with what he has done for Libya and was trying to do for Africa, maybe they would renounce the 22nd Amendment and change it and make Gaddafi president in America for life.
GB: I’m ill positioned right now to end our interview without raising a point that Milton Allimadi highlighted related to a Wall Street Journal article, which has shown some rather shocking activities involving ethnic cleansing in Libya. And the surprise, ultimately, which the Wall Street Journal article raised, was that it was the rebels who were originally on the side of the people. Is this something you are aware of?
LF: Yes, I am, my dear brother. You know, Gaddafi got into trouble with many Arabs in his own country because he said that Libya really belonged to the Blacks, and that the future of the world would be with Black people. He invited many Black people throughout the world to come to Libya. He gave them work and they became Libyan citizens. Now, when Arabs saw that-some of whom are absolutely racist-they felt he was doing too much for Africans and for Africa.
They rebelled against him for that. So when this group rose in Benghazi, the hatred for Black Africa and for Blacks came out of them and they’re slaughtering African Libyans, Black Libyans and calling them mercenaries when, if fact, they belong to Libya. Yes, this has gone on and it is going on, and with the help of Allah, we hope that all of this will stop, and that if the NATO bombing stops, then maybe the Libyan forces can liberate Benghazi and stop the slaughter of African people by Arabs who hate Black people.
GB: Brother Minister, it is a great pleasure once again to have you with us. I just want to make sure for many who are with us tonight-when it was projected that you would be at the Millions March in Harlem, it was obviously the media buzz and it was also, “Is he really coming?” So I think that your visit tonight has given assurance that we will be seeing you.
LF: I want to say, dear brother, that it would be my great honor to be back in New York City, especially in Harlem, where I have spent some of the best years of my life working at the mosque on 116th Street. Those of you in other boroughs, this is not just for Harlem, it’s for the Bronx, it’s for Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island. It’s for all of us to make an appearance, to let America and the world know we are African people, and we will not stand by and watch our beloved mother continent recolonized, nor will we stand by and watch our people suffer poverty and want, and not raise our voices united and do something to end the suffering of our people. And if you would like to call for further information, call (718) 398-1766 or visit www.millionsmarchharlem.com.
My dear brother, thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing me this privilege to speak to your audience on WLIB, one of my favorite stations when I lived in New York. May Allah God continue to bless you, dear brother, bless your station and bless your listeners. And I look forward, Allah willing, to seeing all of you on the 13th of August in Harlem.