On Tuesday, May 21, Malcolm Shabazz was buried near his grandparents, Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz.
It was a beautiful and dignified burial, held at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, N.Y. The sun beat down relentlessly, while the immediate friends and family of Shabazz sought refuge underneath a tent. It was a private burial, with perhaps 50 people in attendance.
There were tears, remembrances and many references to the young man’s wit, intelligence, penchant for deep thought and philosophy, and his ever-present and voiced desire to forge a righteous path to help bring a better understanding of the major issues holding the world back.
Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid, imam at Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, conducted the burial service. He read and quoted from the Quran, interspersing tales of Malcolm’s personality, achievements and actions with axioms meant to inspire and comfort.
Shabazz’s aunts–and Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz’s daughters–Attallah, Ilyasah, Gamilah and Malaak hugged grieving mom Quibilah, who was stoic throughout the service.
Attendees included Shabazz’s aunts and cousins; his godmother, Ruth Clarke; the family lawyer, Londell McMillan; family friend Terrie Williams; and artist Jaheim.
“We are allotted a certain number of breaths,” said Abdur-Rashid. “You never know when you will take your last one.” Each and everyone should live the most meaningful life they can. Every breath counts, he said.
In the program, the Shabazz family wrote, “Malcolm was very outspoken in regards to the perceived injustices of oppressed people that he encountered during his travels … In the States, his activism dealt with stopping ‘Black on Black’ violence, the prison industrial complex and the plight of political prisoners. He visited incarcerated activists such as Mumia Abu-Jamal and Sekou Odinga and drew many lessons from many human rights activists from the Black struggle movement of the ’60s.” In addition to making his Hajj to Mecca in 2010, Shabazz, also known as El Hajj Malcolm Latif El Shabazz, traveled constantly across the states and the world, visiting places like Syria, France, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.
After having survived some trouble he incurred with the law in his youth (he served four years after being convicted of starting a fire, the injuries from which his grandmother died), Shabazz had come home to become something of an international figure on the world stage, capturing the minds and hearts of young people in particular.
In the books he was writing, in the letters he published and in interviews that he gave–including ones in the Amsterdam News with this reporter–he shone in his own right.
On Sunday, May 19 at the 48th annual pilgrimage honoring his grandfather’s 88th birthday, speaker after speaker and hundreds in the crowd praised the young man’s ability to weather the vast challenges and come through to offer the world significant and substantial views on the way to move forward–be it through politics, culture, religion or economics.
“Malcolm Shabazz was quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with,” observed Caleef Cousar, president of Transitions Foundation. “This grandson of Malcolm X was finding his way and trying to come up with solutions to our problems on the world stage. Had he been able to fulfill his mission, he would have brought his grandfather’s ideal to fruition.”
Meanwhile, in Oakland, Calif., last Friday, a service was held for Shabazz at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California. A couple hundred mourners attended to honor the young man.
“It is only right that young Malcolm receives his dues across the nation, but what better way to bless him than to put him in the spiritual arms of his grandparents, the great Malcolm X–El-Hajj Malik [El]-Shabazz, and Dr. Betty Shabazz?” said activist Divine Allah.
Shabazz was killed on May 9, in a suspicious bar beating which many state was a “setup.”
Shabazz was in Mexico City with recently deported Miguel Suarez, co-founder of the California-based RUMEC (Revolutionary United Mexicans in Combat). The two men were reportedly in the Palace Club bar in Plaza Garibaldi, located in a rough part of town. They were asked to go there by at least one female. Mexico City Attorney General Rodolfo Rios stated that workers at the bar demanded that Shabazz pay a $1,200 bar tab. When he refused, they began beating him. They beat him to death. Shabazz died of “blunt force injuries.” Suarez had no injuries. Rios says he is looking for three other suspects.
Activists worldwide are suspicious of the official story.
“Everyone wants to know what really happened,” said Anthony Downer, a host on Manchester, England-based Peace FM. “Something does not sound right at all.”
Judge Hector Palomares ordered that David Hernandez Cruz and Manuel Alejandro Perez de Jesus be remanded in custody; they are there on charges of robbery and aggravated homicide.
Cousar concluded, “It is for us to continue the work of Malcolm X and the work that his grandson, El Hajj Malcolm Latif [El] Shabazz, was also striving to do. It is a tragedy how he died, but he left us a blueprint to continue the struggle for righteousness worldwide.”