Million-Man Anniversary

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, head honcho of the Nation of Islam headquartered in Chicago, staged the 20th anniversary on the capital mall Saturday, 10 October, of his Million Man March of 1995 at which the Park Service said there actually were 400,000 in attendance. The theme for the affair this year was “Justice or Else.” To get some perspective on that theme, note that Farrakhan, in a speech in Miami last August, called for “10,000 fearless men” [to] “rise up and kill those who kill us; stalk them and kill them and let them feel the pain of death that we are feeling!” No doubt about his subject matter, to wit, “the cops must die.”

Not noted by the media this time around is the fact that Farrakhan also staged a 10th anniversary celebration on the capital mall in 2005. I listened to much of all three Million-Man celebrations. I'll note some observations about the one on Saturday later but provide herewith further perspective by what I had to say about that 2005 Million Man affair:

The MILLIONS MORE MOVEMENT held in D.C. last Saturday (Oct. 15) was billed as the 10th anniversary celebration of the MILLION MAN MARCH of 1995, the thrust of which then was that African-American men would return home, get their acts together, start taking responsibility for their families, pay attention to church and civic responsibilities, and, in general, become bona fide role models and providers for the children of their generation. These things have not happened by any qualitative or quantitative standard; however, this non-result was not mentioned last Saturday, not least because the event actually was the crowning of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, as the voice of black America, as well as the guru of black philosophy. He birthed the affair, just as he did the one in 1995, and made sure that the usual elitist black leaders such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton played virtually no role, thus insuring that they would not tear down his doll-house.

It was significant that, while all other speakers spoke from a small lectern to the side of a huge banner-draped lectern (or paraded back and forth in front of it) on the Capitol steps, only Farrakhan (born Louis Eugene Walcott and irreverently referred to as “Calypso Louie” in some quarters) made a speech from that grandiose lectern, which actually represented his throne. From there, with his easily recognizable bodyguards permeating the environs like quasi-military martinets, he looked down on the crowd, so small that it has elicited little if any mention, and said some of the strangest things that one can hardly imagine, such as the fact that the blacks, Latinos, American Indians, and the poor should institute their own departments of everything from agriculture to culture (apparently eschewing the U.S. Government departments headed by the cabinet secretaries), though he gave no directions as to precisely how that might be done.

Shades of the Alamo and Pearl Harbor were revived as it soon became obvious that the watchword/slogan of the event would be “Remember New Orleans,” an apparent effort to let that stand as the standard for exhibiting the persecution of blacks by the U.S. Government in general (FEMA) and all white people in particular. New Orleans has been adopted by Farrakhan as THE dwelling place of African Americanism in the United States, and will now take its rightful place as the defining moment for blacks, just as the Alamo was for the Texans, slaughtered there by the Mexicans in February/March 1836. According to Farrakhan in an earlier speech, the levees did not fail; rather, they were sabotaged, presumably by the U.S. Government. Farrakhan didn’t say Saturday. It is now becoming known that the levees were in bad shape. One source has mentioned that there were/are a hundred problems, but one is forced to wonder why New Orleans officials were not working on them. Since New Orleans is known consensually as probably the most corrupt city in the country, this is not surprising. Sending federal money to that benighted “bowl” (or cesspool, as some might put it) surrounded on all sides by water, most of it at levels above that of the city, besides being used for creating a perpetual atmosphere of false hope also amounts to tax monies from the whole country subsidizing the deep pockets of New Orleans officials.

The tenor of the affair started off well enough with the fine soprano, Brenda Jackson, giving a gorgeous rendition of Malotte’s The Lord’s Prayer only to depart from Malotte’s music in the final bars of the world-famous solo in order to give it “soul,” the result resembling the screeching of a banshee and the wonder that her tonsils didn’t explode across the Potomac. This set the stage for the actual “music” content of the event, which featured an inordinate grubbing up of hip-hop, thereby bumping, grinding, grooving, and otherwise christening Rap as the marching-order enhancement of the MMM. The main hipper-hopper spent a good deal of his time hitching up his pants, the crotch roughly in the same area as the knees, though he seemed perfectly amenable to as much of his backside as possible being gloriously shown to the public. The pant-legs trailed out behind his shoes, the better to wipe up the urine in the porta-johns or the dog do-do on the grounds.

Judging from the speeches, one was hard-pressed to determine what the main elements involved. The black national anthem was sung and, at least as seen from this corner, there seemed to be absolutely no American flags, except the one flying from the top of the Capitol and certainly not placed there by a Farrakhanite or hipper-hopper. This set the tone for MMM, to wit, “It’s us against them,” the us being the black, the people of color, the Native Americans, the Hispanics, and the poor, not necessarily in that order. The women were in attendance at MMM, and, indeed, Julianne Malveaux seemed to be running the show most of the time. A large number of women spoke, and they were about as strident as the men, so their presence did not materially change the ambience. Some made the plaintive appeal with regard to the need for their young people or somebody to stop the killing.

There was the usual demand for reparations, the demanders referring to themselves as being the victims of slavery. They didn’t look the part; in fact, most of them appeared to be doing well and it’s a lead-pipe cinch that many, if not most, of them have done well by simply functioning within the system. As more blacks enter the middle and upper-middle classes, there perhaps will be less of this stuff. Farrakhan floated the idea of New Orleans blacks suing FEMA, but since FEMA did not cause Hurricane Katrina and Mayor Nagin made little or no attempt to evacuate them from New Orleans, such a lawsuit, not that it’s even a possibility, could be very embarrassing and costly to Nagin, a black, and the city government. Evacuation is not a FEMA responsibility, and hundreds died for lack of getting out, especially the most vulnerable, those in nursing homes and hospitals. Nobody mentioned that the rescuers of some 10,000 or so people, risking their own lives hanging off helicopters, were white.

One is tempted to suggest that Louisiana/USA either give or sell New Orleans to Nagin and his crowd and let them worry with it, but that would be a mistake. Farrakhan mentioned Fidel Castro in glowing terms, so perhaps could borrow enough money from Qadiffi his soul-brother to buy the city, give it to Castro and make it part of Cuba, a sort of USA Guantanamo. Seriously, the African-American movement, such as it is and has been, is dead. This was accomplished at the MMM, when the coronation in the black community of an Islamic leader took place in a country demographically marked by Christianity and hated by Muslims the world over and constituting a target for their annihilation. Mores’ the pity, but conscientious African Americans will persevere and salvage the sunken ship.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark