Tuesday, March 31

From The Final Call Newspaper

Truth telling and Supreme Wisdom: Jay Electronica’s ‘A Written Testimony’ a spiritually loaded lyrical, musical masterpiece

By Bryan 18X Crawford Contributing Writer @Asiatic18X |

Jay Electronica’s new album “A Written Testimony” pays homage to the influence the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Minister Louis Far- rakhan have had in his development. (Right) JAY-Z and Jay Electronica during the 2014 Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. Photo: Understanding Allah

Jay Electronica’s long-awaited debut album, “A Written Testimony,” has been praised by fans and long-time admirers grateful for the offering from one of hip hop’s lyrical geniuses.

Jay Elec’s lyrics, and the inclusion of JAY-Z in what many were expecting to be a solo project from one of the premier emcees in hip hop were something special.

The 10-year wait for Jay Electronica’s solo project was so long in the making that some joked that once he did release his solo project, it would be the end of the world. And some might say, perhaps we aren’t far from that now.

What Jay Electronica was able to do is introduce and highlight the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Nation of Islam, the guidance of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in a bold way.

Dr. Wesley Muhammad, noted author, lecturer and Nation of Islam student minister has known Jay Electronica for many years. Both were in the Five Percenters before becoming registered Muslims in the Nation of Islam, Dr. Muhammad told The Final Call.

“This is the great and dreadful day; the two dispositions that exist in the moment of truth,” Dr. Muhammad observed. “I recognize and appreciate what I’m looking at because this album separates the wheat from the tares in hip hop.”

Most of today’s rap music can be categorized as the soundtrack to the decadence of not only the world, but the hip hop and Black community at large.

What Jay Electronica was able to do masterfully on “A Written Testimony” will weave these things together in such a cohesive way. Listeners can sit down and think about what’s being said. They can feel encouraged to search out information about things they may not have ever heard before, in particular, the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhamad as delivered by Minister Farrakhan for the better part of six decades.

Jay Electronica

At the onset of the album is a clip from the Minister’s 1996 lecture given in Atlanta called, “Who Are the Real Children of Israel?”

“Whatever labels you want to put on the current commercial trends in hip hop, in the midst of the degenerative state of hip hop as it is today, and in the midst of the lyrical coronavirus pandemic that has spread through hip hop, if you will. Jay Electronica brought a thoughtful, reflective, confessional album, similar to JAY-Z’s ‘4:44’ project,” Dr. Muhammad said. “So, the hip hop world now has to adjust and recalibrate that level of spiritual, intellectual content, in the midst of the kind of hip hop music that’s out today.”

The Boy Illinois, also known as “Illi,” is a Chicago-based hip hop artist whose music has been praised for its depth and thoughtfulness. He has been called a talented lyricist and appreciated being able to listen to music that resonated on a much higher frequency than what’s out today. He also predicted the album would inspire people to search for knowledge related to subjects presented.

“The little things he dropped here and there is going to make people go, ‘Oh, what’s this? Let me Google this. Let me go look this up,’ ” Illi told The Final Call. “The Islamic things he was speaking on in this album—he even rapped in like three languages—I think that’s unprecedented in hip hop,” he said.

What wasn’t to be expected with the release of “A Written Testimony” was a charge of antisemitism levied against Jay Electronica by Peter Rosenberg, a fixture on New York’s Hot 97 radio station. While his words fell flat and Jay Electronica challenged him to a scholarly debate, Mr. Rosenberg used his Twitter platform of more than 350,000 followers, to say he took issue with Jay Electronica’s use of “Synagogue of Satan,” a New Testament reference to Jews that appears in the Book of Revelation. Mr. Rosenberg said that as a Jewish person, he took offense to the reference, and called it a “dangerous” form of antisemitism.

Mr. Rosenberg’s words weren’t well received by the hip hop community at large. Many Blacks, in particular, felt Mr. Rosenberg was being a hypocrite because of the negative, offensive music sent across Hot 97 airwaves daily. Davey D, a veteran hip hop journalist and historian, was one of those who didn’t care for the criticism.

“I think [Peter Rosenberg] is disingenuous. Most people weren’t even thinking about Jews, and synagogues being home to devils; mostly because as Black people, we know that the devil is everywhere, even in church every day. I think most people saw it as clever wordplay,” Davey D told The Final Call. “But with Mr. Rosenberg popping up out of nowhere to criticize this record and what Jay Electronica said, let’s examine him. He sat on Hot 97 next to Ebro [Darden] for years, and they’ve had all types of offensive records that they’ve peddled without protest … . So, I’m going to look at Peter Rosenberg as someone who is on air and see what his track record is when it comes to people protesting the negative behaviors being normalized in hip hop. And he can’t tell me he hasn’t heard that.”

“[Peter Rosenberg] never has anything to say about the death and destruction these artists be rapping about in the Black community,” said Illi, who added, “And what Jay Electronica said wasn’t offensive; not at all. That’s scripture.”

“The God, Jay Electronica, is so lyrical and so esoteric, the way he drops a jewel is not preachy. He never goes too far. But he drops [knowledge] in a way that can pale ignorance,” Dr. Wesley Muhammad said. “So, it makes everyone who doesn’t know, want to know. And it makes everyone who does know, get excited. So, I really see this album as the 2020 version of Chuck D, when he rapped on ‘It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back,’ and said, ‘Follower of Farrakhan. Don’t say you understand until you hear the man.’ ”

Jay Electronica performs at 2016 concert during the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviours’ Day convention.

Charlamagne Tha God, bestselling author, television personality and popular co-host of The Breakfast Club, a nationally syndicated radio show, said of “A Written Testimony,” “I really, really enjoyed it. I’ve been talking to some people and they like it, but they don’t really get it. And just because they don’t understand the language, like for me, a brother who grew up on the Nation of Islam and reading ‘Message To The Blackman’ and watching the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s speeches, it hits differently with me because I understand the language that Jay Electronica is talking.

He added with a smile, in a joking way, “My critique is like … I wish the title … You know JAY-Z and Kanye West had the ‘throne’ (Watch the Throne) but I say mere mortals sit on thrones, but Black Gods we sit on the Wheel! I wish it was called ‘Watch the Wheel’ instead of ‘A Written Testimony.’”

“I was listening to it this morning and I’m still vibing on it throughout the day, but it’s so much free jewelry in there. That’s one of them albums that you’ll listen to and things that you don’t understand just Google it,” said Charlamagne in a recent exclusive interview with The Final Call. “And then you’ll end up going down a rabbit hole and so many things. I don’t care if you Google the intro which is the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, things that you’re going to go into. Or you’re going to find that speech of why the Black Man is the Original chosen people. You’re going to see all of that. Just Google some of these things that these brothers are talking about. JAY-Z and Jay Electronica and it’s just going to take you down a rabbit hole that’s going to make you learn a lot and then think a lot.”

“This is a very important project that Jay Electronica dropped. It couldn’t have come at a better time. It might be the cure for the coronavirus,” he said again with a smile.

“I think the interesting thing about JAY-Z is JAY-Z is finally rapping how he wants to rap. You know back in the day he said, ‘If truth be told lyrically I’d probably be Talib Kweli,’ and also he says, ‘Truthfully I want to rhyme like Common Sense, but I’ve sold five mill, I ain’t been rhyming like Common since.’

“You look at a brother like JAY-Z now who feels completely free to be the true and living god that he is. I think now it’s reflecting in his music and he’s giving other brothers the confidence to be that free.”

“A Written Testimony” comes across more than just a hip hop album; it can be considered a work of art. And like most art pieces, become more valuable and appreciated over time.

(Final Call staff contributed to this report.)

Tuesday, March 24

From The Final Call Newspaper

Black America confronts coronavirus: Advocates seek to blunt suffering for already suffering community

By by Naba’a Muhammad, Tariqah Shakir- Muhammad and Charlene Muhammad The Final Call @TheFinalCall

CHICAGO—The last place 63-year-old Diane Latiker should be is around young people in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. She and her husband, who is 67, are among the most vulnerable because of their age. Youngsters are less likely to suffer from the disease—but can still carry it.

Shoppers stand in line inside a large warehouse retailer, March 12, in Kennesaw, Ga. Amid all the fears, quarantines and stockpiling of food, it has been easy to ignore the fact that more than 60,000 people have recovered from the coronavirus spreading around the globe. Photo: AP Photo/Mike Stewart

But the founder of Kids Off the Block, a program devoted to Black youth and based in the Roseland neighborhood, is feeding young people while public schools are closed. Youngsters may be back to school in April and the governor of Illinois, with Chicago’s mayor by his side, recently announced the city was in shutdown mode. As of March 21, no one except essential personnel is allowed to freely roam the streets.

“We are the most vulnerable, my husband and I are both over 60. Of course, it worries us, and we got the news, and we’re looking at each other and we’re like ‘we gotta go in the house and close the door, curl up and don’t do anything?’ Because we’re vulnerable? And then we looked at each other again and went ‘no, the least we can do is try’ because the young people we had talked to said that they are not going to the school to eat,” she said.

Mrs. Latiker posted plans to feed young people on Facebook and got support. She and her husband were also able to feed the homeless. “They needed help too,” she said. “They be so grateful that somebody in the community that don’t have to care does care.”

Diane Latiker hands out food wearing mask. Photo: Haroon Rajaee

Malik Thomas, who lives in Roseland, said, “I wasn’t really following the news like that. I feel like there may be a bit of panic and fear going around. I live right here, so seeing this right outside my house is just—I love that, that’s really cool.”

Despite the health risk, Mrs. Latiker plans to keep doing what she is doing. She argues Black children shouldn’t have to go outside of their communities to get help. “When it’s right in their community, that’s special to them. You can feel the love,” she said.

Across the country and from the halls of Congress to the streets of the Windy City, Black activists, political and religious leaders are trying to make sure an already suffering community doesn’t feel extra pain in a time of national crisis.

Many are concerned about how non-profit groups, like Mrs. Latiker’s organization, will fare as the economy grinds to a halt. They also wonder how churches will survive if parishioners can’t come out to worship services and tithe, how the incarcerated, especially aging prisoners, will fare, what the change means for Black America’s way of life, Black workers, Black entrepreneurs and, even, Black voters with some primary elections postponed. At Final Call presstime, 12 states had declared a state of emergency and at least 114,000 public and private schools were closed.

Whether Black adults can do basic things like survive being off work, buy food and whether their children can have internet access to do schoolwork online are real concerns.

The coronavirus, which can strike the respiratory system, has higher than normal death rates, potential to spread, lagging U.S. testing and has impacted or could impact all of these areas.

Despite internet memes and jokes, like Black folks insisting ginger ale can cure the ‘rona, these are serious times.

The coronavirus fundamentally altered the way Americans live. Movement has been curtailed, schools and businesses shuttered, and sports leagues suspended. Public school and colleges closed amid panicked buying and a president who continually lied about the crisis is most concerned with the virus’ economic impact and impact on his reelection.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, in a major address in Detroit to close the Nation of Islam’s Saviours’ Day convention, warned America is facing dangerous times under an imperial president and is a nation facing divine judgment.

“As I was watching the impeachment trial of President Trump, I was looking at America, not at her finest hour, but I watched the high level of chicanery; the high level of deceit,” said Min. Farrakhan. Brilliant lawyers on two sides used skillful knowledge of the law to outsmart one another, not to agree on truth, he observed.

“And I watched the Bible being fulfilled: If Satan casts out Satan, how then can his kingdom stand?” said the Minister, who delivered his message before some 15,000 people at the TCF Center in Detroit in February.

“You, my poor, pitiful brothers and sisters, you are opting to be a part of that that is unraveling right in front of your eyes. … The condition of America is puzzling. The world is looking at a country going to hell,” he said.

“So there’s a verse in the Qur’an that I was thinking of. It’s in the 16th Surah, the 92nd verse and it said, ‘Be not like her who unravels her yarn, disintegrating it into pieces, after she has spun it strongly.’ … That’s what’s happening to America as we speak. America was not built on a firm foundation. … How do you build a nation, killing the native people? How do you build a nation, bringing a whole people out of Africa to America to be made slaves? This is your foundation, so for them to lie to you, and make you think that America is a land of promise for you, and you believe it; no wonder Jesus said, ‘You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free,’” he added.

President Trump March 13 declared a national emergency, freeing $50 billion in federal resources to battle COVID-19, amid fears the disease could implode national medical and health care infrastructure.

There were calls for moratoriums on evictions and mortgage foreclosures, fees and fines, cell phone and utility shut-offs, which some companies and localities agreed to.

Anthony Fauci, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Americans “should be prepared that they’re going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing.”

Sarah Richardson, at right, and Cynthia Gourdine, at left, with the nutrition depart- ment for the Charleston County School District, delivers some grab and go bags of food for area school children at Sanders-Clyde Elementary School, March 16, in Charleston, S.C. With all schools closed in South Carolina to at least the end of March because of the Coronavirus area school districts are providing two meals a day to area school children. Photo: AP Photo/Mic Smith

“Everybody has to get involved in distancing themselves socially. If you are in an area where there’s clear community spread, you have to be much, much more intense about how you do that,” he added. The goal is to blunt the curve of confirmed cases and attempt to keep the number of those infected low enough that America’s hospital system isn’t overwhelmed, he stressed.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, convened a Tele Town Hall March 20 to discuss how the coronavirus pandemic was impacting Blacks. She and others argued that Blacks need specific measures aimed at getting them through tough times as Covid-19 infections and death rates continued to rise in the United States.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Black and Hispanic workers are “more than twice as likely to receive poverty-level wages compared to their White counterparts.” About 8 percent of Black and Hispanic workers earn wages below the poverty level compared to 4 percent of their White counterparts and only 29 percent of the workforce was able to work from home.

“We’re talking about families buying goods and stocking up for two to three weeks; well, many of our families are trying to get food for this week,” said Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church on Chicago’s South Side.

Makennize Young, 8, prays before recieving lunch, March 16, at Hilldale Aparment Complex in Tupelo Mississippi as part of the Tupelo/Lee County Hunger Coalition response to help feed school children who received free or reduced lunches at their schools. Photo: Thomas Wells/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via AP

“They don’t have the luxury of going out and shopping to get stored-up food for their homes. We’re telling people to stay in their houses, but we have thousands of homeless people who have no house to go to.”

“If the state communities do not speak up now and use their voice to speak out and to confront the isolation and abandonment, then we’ve failed, and we don’t have a right to reopen our churches, mosques or synagogues if we’re being silent when the poor most need our voice,” he said. “I think the mindset amongst ourselves should be to connect with each other because we’re already a disconnected society and now this isolation that the government is telling us needs to take place is the danger of people being even more disconnected and leading open the door for depression, for suicide and all the rest that already has high numbers in this country.”

At Final Call press time, the coronavirus had taken over 500 lives in the U.S. and infected thousands of people. Black victims, including actor Idris Elba and NBA star Kevin Durant, dispelled the myth of “melanin immunity” to the virus, which began late last year in Wuhan, China.

Confronting a crisis

“Above and beyond all, we need to protect our health and safety,” commented Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League.

Follow health professional recommendations of social distancing and the elderly, those with respiratory problems like asthma, which are prevalent in Black America, and diseases that compromise the immune system need to protect themselves, he said.

And, Mr. Morial added, “We’ve got to advocate to ensure the federal, state and local governments are going to give considerations to issues of equity as we go forward.”

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay at home order, but state agencies will keep providing medical care, food stamps, some employment, cash assistance, and other benefits through May.

Similar to orders in Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and other places people can go to places like hospitals, doctors, gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, famers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants, banks, laundromats and laundry services—and can even go for walks. Some state and local government offices are open but dine-in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, gyms, public gatherings, and convention centers have been closed.

According to the Pew Research Center, these safety measures will heavily impact Blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, and many under 50, especially those likely to use public transportation.

Among urban residents, 34 percent of Blacks and 27 percent of Hispanics report taking public transit daily or weekly, compared with only 14 percent of Whites, said the Pew Center.

Mr. Morial sees layoffs hitting low-wage, hourly, and younger workers quickly. There was little or no change in Black unemployment rates for workers in February, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. But unemployment claims have soared.

“These unemployment checks are sometimes 50 percent, 60 percent of one’s paycheck,” said Mr. Morial. “If you’re already a low-income, a low-wage worker, getting an unemployment check certainly is welcome, but it is not sufficient enough for you to pay your rent, to pay for your food, take care of your family, so we have to advocate for a stronger response from an unemployment insurance point of view.”

The federal government is allowing states to change some laws to provide unemployment insurance benefits related to the coronavirus crisis.

Federal law allows states to pay benefits where an employer temporarily ceases operations due to Covid-19, or when someone is quarantined expecting a return to work after quarantine, and if a worker leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member, said the Labor Dept.

The Senate approved March 18 a $100 billion-plus bill to boost testing for the coronavirus and guarantee paid sick leave for millions of workers hit by it. Still, advocates pointed out, there were holes in the bill to ensure the neediest workers are covered.

“The broader recovery plan they are discussing needs to have a focus on people and it needs to be bottoms-up, as opposed to a top down corporate bail-out program,” said Mr. Morial.

He feels President Trump’s initial recommendation of a $1,000 per person relief check is insufficient, though many would welcome it.

“We’ve got to make sure that this plan that they’re discussing has sufficient support for people who are going to lose their jobs, particularly for people who have no cushion, no safety net, no savings,” Mr. Morial continued.

Rep. Bass said more legislation is coming and will need to fill gaps.

“We’ve got to learn from (Hurricane) Katrina. We’ve got to learn from 9/11. We’ve got to learn that if you put resources into an inequitable system, then the benefits are not going to be broadly available, so we’ve got to make sure that they focus on that in how they design this thing,” said Mr. Morial.

As for elections, Black advocates called for expanding vote by mail, same day voter registration and scaling back measures like strict I.D. laws that suppress the Black vote. Advocates called for releasing non-violent offenders, no bail for minor offenses and testing and treatment for inmates. For the Census, they want extra effort made to ensure Blacks are properly counted to qualify for federal funding and political representation.

Turning to one another in tough times

In Los Angeles, activists on Skid Row say they filled the gap when city officials failed the country’s largest homeless population. They launched the Hand Washing Stations for Skid Row campaign, building and placing hand washing stations throughout the 50-block area. Hand washing is considered key to limiting the spread of the virus.

Professional educators and homeschoolers have formed groups online to help children academically and occupy time with arts and crafts.

The Corona Virus Community Support group in Long Beach, Calif., pooled resources to help seniors, single, and pregnant mothers and the disabled.

According to a March 20 post shared by Black Lives Matter activist Dawn Modkins, the group collected canned goods, water, toilet paper, soaps, diapers, baby formula, crackers, bread, personal hygiene and other items to give to neighbors in need.

“It’s amazing that the time we’re in and what we’re facing manifests the truth, the practicality, and the availability of the program of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and by that I mean the things that he taught Black people, through such books as How to Eat to Live, apply it now, more than ever,” said Student Minister Ava Muhammad, national spokesperson for Minister Farrakhan.

Among foods some media sources have recommended storing are dried beans, which is what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught is good for consumption, namely the small white navy bean, she noted.

Not only have Blacks gotten away from canning to preserve foods, but they have also gotten away from cooking at home, growing food, shopping for fresh vegetables and often eat fast food or pre-packaged food, said Min. Muhammad.

“The upside to this situation is that it is forcing us to pause from the cultural and emotional effect of capitalism. We have been caught up in this whirlwind of material acquisition of commodities where we have a desire, almost like an addiction to designer brand-name closing, going to nail salons, buying make-up and hair, and all of these things that are doing actually nothing to improve our condition,” she said.

“My message to us is from my teacher and that is to go on pause, to calm down, quiet down, and think about being in your place of abode, not only during this crisis, but spending more time there period,” said Min. Ava Muhammad. “I think that we should use this time to do some self-examination and self-analysis about our individual selves and us as a community, and hopefully, that will lead to self-correction.”

Michael Ware, founder of Black Truckers United, told The Final Call Black truckers, and the industry in general, hasn’t been hurt health wise or by a lack of jobs. But, he said, revenue for freight pickup and delivery needs to be higher.

“If that were to come up, it would be a whole lot better for drivers across the board, our people as well as everybody else,” said Mr. Ware, who has been driving for 22 years.

Most drivers aim for freight pay of $2 a mile or higher, so a $3-5 rate is pretty good, but that’s through brokers, not direct shippers, which is a bit more difficult to acquire, he said.

Truckers are at low risk for getting infected because they are usually in their trucks separated from people, said Mr. Ware.

As many brace for more economic shutdowns, Black truckers dealing with major companies, like big, wholesale stores, may stay afloat, and the demand may increase, he said. People and businesses have posted messages of gratitude for truckers on social media, including on his Black Truckers United Facebook page, Mr. Ware added. One person offered not only a trucking parking lot for resting but gave 40 percent off meals for drivers just to say thank you, he said.

(Final Call staff contributed to this report.)

Tuesday, March 17

From The Final Call Newspaper

Changing America’s way of life?

By Barrington M. Salmon Contributing Writer @bsalmondc

WASHINGTON—In recent weeks, Americans grappled with the inevitability of the coronavirus reaching this country. Public anxiety ratcheted up as the number of cases and fatalities grew, but there was a sense that it wouldn’t get as bad here as it had in China, South Korea and Italy.

Trader John Romolo works on the floor of the New York Stock Ex- change, March 5. Stocks are opening sharply lower on Wall Street, erasing two percent from major indexes, a day after surging four percent as the mood swings back to fear about the effects of a fast- spreading virus. Photo: AP Photo/Richard Drew

Then, as if a light switch went on, jittery Americans watched the stock market, and their 401Ks and pensions, tumble to new record lows day-after-day; the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 an international pandemic; President Donald Trump and administration officials failed to reassure the public facing a major public health emergency.

The coronavirus has fundamentally altered the way Americans live, at least in the short-term. Major and minor league sports—college and professional basketball, baseball, soccer, golf and NASCAR—announced the shutdown of operations or suspension of play.

Then came public school and college closures, shutdowns of businesses, panicked buying and a president who continually lied about the crisis and seemed most concerned with the virus’ economic impact and impact on his possible reelection.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, in a major address in Detroit to close the Nation of Islam’s Saviours’ Day convention, warned that America was facing dangerous times under an imperial president and was a nation facing divine judgment.

“As I was watching the impeachment trial of President Trump, I was looking at America, not at her finest hour, but I watched the high level of chicanery; the high level of deceit,” said Min. Farrakhan. Brilliant lawyers on two sides used skillful knowledge of the law to outsmart one another, not to agree on truth, he observed.

“And I watched the Bible being fulfilled: If Satan casts out Satan, how then can his kingdom stand?” said the Minister, who delivered his Feb. 23 message before some 15,000 people at the TCF Center in Detroit.

“You, my poor, pitiful brothers and sisters, you are opting to be a part of that that is unraveling right in front of your eyes. You see the country cascading downward. You see the moral fiber of America getting into the gutter. Who wants a membership in a house of whores?” he asked.

“The subject for my lecture today, which is full of good news and warning: ‘The Unraveling of a Great Nation.’ When you unravel something, you undo twisted, knitted, or woven threads; you investigate and solve or explain something complicated or puzzling,” Min. Farrakhan continued.

“The condition of America is puzzling. The world is looking at a country going to hell. The world is looking at a president who wants to be king; when the Constitution and the founding fathers were trying to run away from what they suffered in Europe under the kings.

In this photo provided by Austin Boschen, people wait in line to go through the customs at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas, March 14. International travelers reported long lines at the customs at the airport as staff took extra precautions to guard against the new coronavirus, The Dallas Morning News reports. Boschen said it took him at least four hours to go through the customs. Photo: Austin Boschen via AP

“So there’s a verse in the Qur’an that I was thinking of. It’s in the 16th surah, the 92nd verse and it said, ‘Be not like her who unravels her yarn, disintegrating it into pieces, after she has spun it strongly.’ … That’s what’s happening to America as we speak. America was not built on a firm foundation. … How do you build a nation, killing the native people? How do you build a nation, bringing a whole people out of Africa to America to be made slaves? This is your foundation, so for them to lie to you, and make you think that America is a land of promise for you, and you believe it; no wonder Jesus said, ‘You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free,’” he added.

National emergency declaration: Too little too late?

President Trump March 13 declared a national emergency, freeing $50 billion in federal resources to battle COVID-19, amid fears the disease could place an almost impossible burden on hospitals and national medical and healthcare infrastructure. The declaration makes available supplies, personnel and other support available; encourages every state to set up emergency operation centers effective immediately; and requires every hospital in the country “to activate its emergency preparedness plan.”

The Centers for Disease Control called for limiting gatherings to no more than 50 people. New Jersey announced a no travel order between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. on March 16. Gov. Phil Murphy said the statewide curfew would be coupled with coordinated closures of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut casinos, bars, gyms and restaurants.

During a March 16 briefing of the White House group handling the coronavirus crisis, President Trump called for gatherings of no more than 10 people and finally admitted the pandemic was real.

A Business Insider article speaks of a leaked presentation from a webinar hosted by the American Hospital Association which shows one expert’s estimate that 96 million Americans could be infected, about 500,000 deaths were possible, and 4.8 million people could eventually need hospitalization.

Experts warn the U.S. is short on ICU beds and ventilators needed to treat the disease. Trying to prepare for the worst, hospitals were ramping up their capacity and setting priorities. One proposal would draw doctors out of retirement, others are canceling elective surgeries, and calling for setting up “Covid Cabanas” to treat suspected coronavirus cases, setting up tents outside main facilities, and more.

Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, has been a persistent critic of the U.S. government’s response.

“We are so incredibly underprepared for a major onslaught to hospitals, which is basically now inevitable,” Dr. Redlener told Yahoo News. “We have to look at Italy and see what happened and I think we’re actually in worse shape. We don’t have enough hospital beds; we don’t have enough ICU beds. And by the way, even if we had the 100,000-plus ventilators that we actually need, we don’t have the staff to operate them.”

Much of the blame for the federal government’s anemic response, the slow ramp up of tests and other resources nationally and the almost blanket denial of Covid-19’s spread by federal officials has come to rest at the feet of President Trump. From the beginning, critics charge, he has downplayed the crisis, at one point calling it a “hoax,” blamed the pandemic on foreigners and Democrats, and shut down air travel from Europe to the U.S. in a futile effort to stem the proliferation of the disease.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the Trump administration’s failed response is because the National Security Council’s global pandemic team was disbanded by former national security adviser John Bolton. The Trump administration has not bothered to fill those vacancies, leaving gaping and troubling vulnerabilities in America’s global pandemic preparedness.

Furthermore, when President Trump released the administration’s 2021 budget in February, it contained proposed cuts that would reduce funding at the CDC by 16 percent and remove $3 billion for global health programs.

Critics inside and outside of the medical community lobbed withering critiques of Mr. Trump and the poor federal government response.

“(T)he World Health Organization officially declared Covid-19 (coronavirus) an international pandemic. And with conflicting information coming out of the White House and Trump’s administration, misinformation and confusion are spreading like wildfire,” MoveOn.org said in a recent statement. “…What we need the most in this moment of crisis is competent and honest leadership in the White House that prioritizes the lives and livelihoods of all of us … This crisis has exposed the Trump Administration’s incompetence and its underlying corruption. It’s dangerous and it may even cost lives. While we fight to protect our families and communities, we also have to call out the threats and demand that they do better.”

Few travelers are seen in a mostly empty flight check-in area at John F. Kennedy Airport’s Terminal 1, March 13, in New York. Recently, President Trump banned most foreign visitors coming to the United States from continental Europe to try to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. Photo: AP Photo/Kathy Willens

“Moments like these are when the role of a competent federal government—one that prioritizes the interest of people over profits—is so essential. While we focus on keeping our families and communities safe, we must also recognize that we deserve better as a country, and we must speak out when our leaders are putting corporate profits and their own reputations above the interests of public health,” said the progressive public policy advocacy group.

‘All this was avoidable’

Economist Dr. William Spriggs, former chair of the Department of Economics at Howard University, said much of what has happened could have been avoided.

“My own thoughts are evolving as things develop but there’s no reason for it to have this big an impact,” said Dr. Spriggs, who also serves as chief economist to the AFL-CIO. “There didn’t need to be a real recession. (They) waited until now to ask what workers do if they stay home. Recessions will separate people from their jobs.”

“We learned lesson during the Swine Flu epidemic in 2009 to not have any public events and close those places where the disease could flourish,” he said. “Ten years ago, we already knew this. There should have been a planned shutdown.”

Dr. Spriggs said what the public needs to remember is that the stock market is not the real economy.

“What you’re seeing in the stock market is a vote on Donald Trump. There’s too much uncertainty and huge unease,” he said. “For a long time, people said he’s incompetent but as long as the stock market is doing well and the economy is good, it’s fine. In a way, what we’re all experiencing is because of that. We’re paying for an incompetent and the whole world sees it.”

“Consumer spending will go down as people stay home because of the coronavirus. That will hit a number of industries particularly hard, such as the service industry, travel providers, live entertainment venues, movie theaters, and more. That in turn could lead to a domino effect, with turmoil in one industry spilling over to another,” commented WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “For example, if a restaurant owner can no longer pay rent, the property owner might not be able to pay its loan, and the bank that made the loan might end up suffering as well.”

He praised a House bill passed March 13 aimed at providing relief for those struck by job losses and economic fallout from the coronavirus. “It is a good first step, if it gets through the Senate without significant changes or delays. It is a must that the final legislation includes free coronavirus testing for everyone and covers hospitalization costs for those affected, regardless of insurance coverage,” said Mr. Papadimitriou. “Regardless, it looks like we’ll need more legislation after this to further support the economy and affected workers.”

Rashad Robinson, of Color Of Change, an online racial justice organization, called for protecting Blacks from fallout associated with the crisis.

“Together, we will hold corporate and government decision-makers accountable and ensure that Black and marginalized communities are not denied the care, protection and support that all communities deserve,” he said March 13. These power holders have roles to play for everything from job and income support to protecting voting rights, taking care of prisoners and ensuring the marginalized communities aren’t left in the cold.

“After years of Republicans, Big Pharma and major corporations fighting against paid sick leave legislation and Medicare for all we are left with a crisis where disproportionately Black low wage workers are continuing to support the public without the health insurance or paid time off that would make us all safer,” asserted Mr. Robinson. “When we return to ‘normal,’ the normal for most people will be economic hell. That’s why we are immediately calling for a moratorium on evictions and utility shut-offs. For Black and poor communities that are being urged by the Center for Disease Control to stay home from work as much as possible, following health instructions shouldn’t mean added financial hardship.”

He also warned Black voters should not be denied their essential right in midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Now with coronavirus, existing voter disenfranchisement only exacerbates both the health risks and the lack of access for Black voters. States with upcoming primary elections should actively consider providing expanded ballot access on an emergency basis for this election and in a permanent, ongoing way for future elections. Any restrictions on travel or public gatherings must include provisions or exceptions that will ensure that voters, particularly oft-targeted Black voters, voters reliant on public transit, and other marginalized voters, are not disenfranchised,” he said.

“This epidemic also lands at a critical time for the launch of the 2020 Census. We must ensure that our national response does not jeopardize a full and accurate count of all populations and neighborhoods. Black people are among the most undercounted populations in the census and an undercount will lead to communities not getting the funding and representation they need or deserve for the next 10 years,” Mr. Robinson added.

“We are deeply concerned about the health, safety, and dignity of disproportionately Black incarcerated men and women as officials respond to this outbreak. While prison populations are quarantined from the general public, they are at high risk for Covid-19 outbreaks as they are kept in close quarters with inadequate food, water, and health care. Yet the nation’s jails and prisons have reportedly little access to coronavirus tests and in some cases, no soap, despite the inevitable spread of the epidemic in a captive population. Federal and state officials must ensure that testing and treatment for Covid-19 is available as needed in all jails and prisons,” he said.

“Concern for this population is only exacerbated by the fact that large percentages of the American prison population are incarcerated without trial, presumed innocent, but held because they are too impoverished to pay bail. There is no need for these people to be unjustly exposed to sub-par sanitary conditions in the midst of a pandemic, simply because they are poor and disproportionately Black. Similarly, state and local officials should also use all available powers to immediately release incarcerated people who are particularly vulnerable to illness, such as the elderly and pregnant women, so they can move to lower risk environments. And anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 inside a jail or prison should be released and moved to receive adequate care in a hospital.”

“They must also eliminate requirements that force incarcerated people to perform jobs that put them at risk for contracting the virus and institute a minimum wage for incarcerated workers who are providing vital services during this crisis. In New York state, prisoners are being forced to manufacture hand sanitizer, that they are banned from using, while being paid only pennies-per-hour in a cruel and ironic extension of American slavery. Finally, we must be vigilant against any attempts to abuse or misuse any public health quarantine measures to criminalize Black and brown communities,” Mr. Robinson said.

Unprecedented uncertainty in U.S.
Indiana University Professor Dr. Edward Hirt told The Final Call the psychological implications of the novel coronavirus pandemic are immense and potentially dire, ranging from acute individual anxiety about possible symptoms and the necessity for social distancing to communitywide panic-buying of food, health care products and other staples of daily life as well as severe trauma caused when a loved one becomes ill or dies.

“This is unprecedented in terms of evoking uncertainty,” he said. “There’s definitely been a denial and forthrightness about the disease and its spread. Even if we’ve known about it, it’s though it was ‘over there.’ Things have just accelerated in an enormously quick time. Now we have to be vigilant about everything such as touching doorknobs and being close to people, isolation time and how long is the quarantine. It’s just craziness.”

Dr. Hirt, who has authored over 75 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has recently written a book titled “Self-Regulation and Ego Control,” thinks the shock will wear off and “then there’ll be panic.”

“The reality of this is sinking in. We have a little bit of time before people get despondent,” he predicted. “A lot of people are paranoid. People are already wondering how much longer they will be personally affected and what this all means. The vast majority are looking for reassurance from the administration.”

This period of downtime and social isolation could allow people to spend time outdoors, walk the dog, catch up on tasks and activities and reconnect with family, said Dr. Hirt, who has taught at IU since 1991.

“You should be thinking about other activities, just accept it and not fight,” he advised. “We’ve got to make the best of it, keep up with the news. I think people can switch to think beyond themselves.”

That acceptance comes as Broadway in New York, Disneyland and Disney World in Florida and the U.S. Capitol and the U.S. Supreme Court are closed. The travel industry has taken a beating on the Dow Jones stock exchange, with some cruise ships coming from abroad temporarily converted into quarantine holding facilities house infected passengers offshore. Meanwhile, air travel has dropped off precipitously.

Seeking certainty in an unsure world?

For Atlanta resident Shanice Bennerson, the outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S. and the decision by the World Health Organization to declare the outbreak a global pandemic left her shaken.

“I am proceeding with caution because I am asthmatic and have no insurance,” said Ms. Bennerson, a Millennial whose regular job is in educational research. She also works part-time at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Alpharetta, Ga.

“Fulton County schools, with the highest number of students in the area at 450,000, is out and has switched to online classes,” she noted. “Dekalb County schools is extending spring break. Everything is in shambles. Grocery stores are crazy, markets are crazy, but a lot of people aren’t taking it seriously. I’ve been following what’s been going on in Italy. We’re only really two weeks in as the numbers started low and took off. This public health crisis is exposing the underbelly of classes here in a way that I didn’t expect at all. Everyone not wealthy in this country is about to be screwed.”

A South Asian student of an Ivy League school, who’s working on a Master of Fine Arts degree, spoke of the difficulty he’s experiencing trying to understand, anticipate and navigate the public health crisis. He and his fellow classmates were informed by email that there was a presumptive case of someone at the school with coronavirus which necessitated taking precautions initially, then taking classes online.

The student, who is seeking asylum and fearful retaliation, requested anonymity to speak freely. “What happens if I contract the virus? Who will take care of me? Who will feed me? Where do I quarantine myself and how? I have been here for a few years and have people who are like family but not family,” he said.

“I am employed by the university, work 20 hours a week and live check-to-check. My department is still paying me but after six months, what will I do? There’s a range of different people being affected and there’s a great deal of uncertainly for me and a lot of people.”

“It’s hugely polarizing. Rich, young White kids are partying and can go to the clinic and pay $1,300 for the test, while poor people are dependent on federal government decisions,” he said. “The amount of money Trump has spent propping up the stock market—$1.5 trillion—could pay off the student loan debt. This has proven to be socialism for the rich and not for the poor.”

Virus spreads amid failed federal response

As of March 15, the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, had infected 142,539 people around the world and killed 5,200 as the disease has spread to more than 100 different countries. Most of the deaths have been seniors and the elderly.

In the United States, there were 49 states with more than 5,200 confirmed cases. But public health officials, epidemiologists and other medical experts warn that there are likely far more cases that medical professionals aren’t aware of because of the scarcity of available coronavirus testing kits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Part of the problem is that while tests kits from the WHO are widely available, the Trump administration wants to use test kits produced by American companies, a decision that has worsened an already difficult situation.

“There’s a shortage,” Dr. Howard Forman, a professor at the Yale School of Public Health and practicing radiologist at Yale New Haven Hospital, told Yahoo Finance’s “On the Move.”

“And it strikes at the heart of everything we’re doing right now that we cannot do the most simple thing, which is just to test people and find out whether they are positive or not,” he said.

Despite the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S. occurred on Jan. 19, testing has lagged across the country. U.S. public health labs have picked up some slack, but health officials warn that the current pace of testing is not nearly enough.

According to the Atlantic, researchers “have concluded that thousands of Americans may have already been infected by the beginning of (March).” Between January 18 and March 10, there have been 11,079 tests for COVID-19 in the U.S. In comparison, South Korea has conducted over 100,000 tests.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told host Chuck Todd on March 15 on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Americans “should be prepared that they’re going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing” to fight the growing coronavirus outbreak.

While several European countries are on lockdown to mitigate the crisis, Dr. Fauci said America should implement closures, especially “in those areas that have community spread.”

“Everybody has to get involved in distancing themselves socially. If you are in an area where there’s clear community spread, you have to be much, much more intense about how you do that,” he added. The goal now is to blunt the curve of confirmed cases and attempt to keep the number of those infected low enough that America’s hospital system isn’t overwhelmed, he said.

When asked if U.S. officials should consider a 14-day national shutdown as much of Europe has done, Dr. Fauci said: “I would prefer as much as we possibly could. I think we should really be overly aggressive and get criticized for overreacting.”

“If you let the curve get up there, then the entire society is going to be hit,” Dr. Fauci asserted.

Of all the Trump administration senior officials, Dr. Fauci has been the person most willing to speak clearly and honestly, while owning up to the federal government’s failings.

There is still no specific timeline for the ramping up of testing and increasing capacity, but Dr. Fauci announced during a press availability that the first human test of a novel coronavirus vaccine could begin in a few weeks, ahead of schedule, although he added it still could take as long as a year or 18 months before its available to the public. CNN reported March 16 that the first dose of the vaccine was given to a study participant in Washington state.

(Final Call staff contributed to this report.)

Tuesday, March 3

From The Final Call Newspaper

Min. Farrakhan reveals the true and full understanding of Jesus

By James G. Muhammad Contributing Editor @jgm3000 

MOSQUE MARYAM—To know and understand the reality of Jesus is the key to salvation for the human family suffering under the grip of Satan, but most people are looking for a Jesus of the past instead of the present day, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan told a capacity audience at Mosque Maryam that spilled into Muhammad University of Islam March 1 during a lecture titled “Jesus is the Key.”

Still recovering from delivering a three-and-one-half hour Saviours’ Day message in Detroit the previous Sunday, Min. Farrakhan delivered another more than two hour lecture laying out the prophecies of scripture and declaring that God would use Black people in America to demonstrate His power to destroy the wicked.

The Nation of Islam’s foundational teaching—that Allah (God) appeared in America in the person of Master Fard Muhammad— fulfilled the scripture that God would come Himself to save a people in bondage for 400 years, he said.

And like Moses and Aaron of the scripture, God would give the keys of power to two men to liberate the enslaved and to destroy the grip of Satan over the people of the world.

“God chose America to make Himself known,” the Minister said. “He chose America because the wicked rulers of America and this current world placed us in a condition that only God could solve. He wouldn’t send a prophet; He would come Himself to make Himself known to us (Black people) and through us to the entire planet.”

He said God’s plan was to allow Africans to come into the hands of White people and that Whites “would make us into themselves.” You have become little devils, he said.

God came “wearing three hats,” one for Himself, the power in which He would not reveal, and hats for two men from the people whom Whites had destroyed, he continued.

White religious scholars made the people think they are followers of Jesus Christ. The master deceiver made the people think they are followers of Moses and the Israelite prophets, and to put the icing on the cake, Satan took over Mecca, he said.

“He made Jewish devils, Muslim devils, Christian devils, Hindu devils and Buddhist devils. Look at the world. The world is in hell because Satan has become your master,” he said.

Response to charge of anti-Semitism

When the people come into the full understanding of Jesus, they will awaken at once, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad once told his top student Min. Farrakhan. What is it about the knowledge of Jesus that’s hidden from us, the Minister asked?

The historical Jesus of the Bible was a man of color and was hated by Jewish leadership, the Minister charged, the same Jewish leadership that has labeled him an anti-Semite despite any evidence promoting violence or hatred against Jews or any group of people. On the other hand, he explained that Jewish Talmudic writings has described Jesus as “a monkey.”

“What do White folks call you when they want to tease you,” he asked the audience? “They call you a monkey.”

He described a meeting at his Chicago home with top Jewish scholars where they laid out conditions for the Minister to gain their favor. During the meeting, some scholars invited the bold leader to speak in their synagogues and to speak before their executive council, an offer that was rescinded by chief Rabbi Herman Schaalman.

The Minister offered the rabbis the opportunity to speak at Mosque Maryam and to meet with his family, so they could determine for themselves if anti-Semitism was being taught.

During the meeting, Rabbi Schaalman told the Minister it wasn’t his place to criticize and correct Jewish behavior. “In other words, how dare you, nigga—underneath that’s what it’s all about—how dare you think you can criticize and correct us,” Min. Farrakhan explained.

The Minister responded with the parable of Lazarus who was prohibited by Prophet Abraham from giving comfort to the rich man who had died and was in hell.

“Are you telling me that if I came from God with a message for you that you would reject me because of my color and the wisdom that is in my mouth is for your salvation?” he revealed. “The same spirit that Rabbi Schaalman said to me, that’s the way they felt about Jesus who was their last prophet,” he told the audience.

Jesus of 2,000 years ago was only a prophet, the Minister reiterated. He was, as Paul said, a man born out of due season. The historical Jesus came to remind the Jews to cleanse themselves from their deviation from the law of Moses and the Israelite prophets, he said.

But there’s a prophetic Jesus called the Messiah that seventy-five percent of the New Testament is written of, Min. Farrakhan said. It is that Jesus that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and the U.S. Government wanted to nullify in their Cointelpro attempts to destroy Black leadership, he said.

“Could it be that the Jesus you are looking for is hiding in plain sight?” he asked.

In the 1970s as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s national spokesperson, the Minister was given a topic for his national broadcast. The Minister attempted to make the message three times, but each time Mr. Muhammad told him he had missed the mark.

The Minister revealed that one of his helpers had found a copy of the original recording and upon review he realized he had been misstating the title of the topic.

You can’t give a man something to eat if on that point he ain’t hungry, he said, explaining that Mr. Muhammad was trying to get him to see something that he missed every time.

“I had been saying the title wrong, throwing myself off. When God is making a man, he has to be on time when he learns. The real subject was ‘On this man will I lay the key’ but I was saying ‘On this man have I laid the key,’” he said.

“That shows you how one word messing up the tense of the verb can throw you completely off. That’s why you are messed up over Jesus because you are looking in the past, and Jesus is walking in present time.

“Jesus is the key. Once you have the key, you can open doors that may have been shut to you,” he said.

The sure truth

Phumzile Mazibuko, Council General for the Republic of South Africa based in Chicago, attended the March 1 address and was honored to be present. “I represent South Africa in 14 states in the Midwest region. It’s an honor for us to attend the session today the lecture by Minister Farrakhan who has been a leader, who has always supported the struggle for the oppressed people of South Africa and even as we celebrate 25 years of freedom,” she told The Final Call. “We know as South Africans that we will always be grateful for the support of people who have supported the freedom of South Africans,” she said.

Abdul Rashid, 25 was invited to attend by a member of the Nation of Islam. Mr. Rashid is Latino and was grateful and inspired to also see and hear Student Minister Abel Muhammad who is of Mexican descent. “I decided to join the Nation because Allah (God) guided me here. I got married into a Muslim family and I was contemplating Islam for a long time since college, actually and it was just the natural progression,” he explained.

When asked to reflect on what he gleaned from Min. Farrakhan’s message, Ilia Rashad Muhammad, a member of the NOI Research Group and student in the ministry shared the following: “If I were to say it in a very short and simplistic way, I would say ‘Jesus live and in present time’ because what the Minister shared both in his words and in his history is the life of that messianic figure that we all read about. A messianic figure who is characterized mostly by his willingness to call out the most powerful satanic forces of the world and at the same time while fighting Satan raise his dead people to life with The Supreme Wisdom.”

He added, “So you have a man who has to be prepared by God in order to take on such a task, let alone complete such a task. What we have in the Minister and his words today was absolutely messianic in nature.”

Bearers of witness

Before Min. Farrakhan even took to the stage to address the thousands gathered at Mosque Maryam the audience was prepped by student ministers with encouraging words taught to them by their teacher.

Student Minister Daniel X emphasized the importance of having love while developing safe and decent communities stating that the Minister is the prime example of love.

Student Minister Tony Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 1 in Detroit and Student Minister Kenya Muhammad of Chicago spoke about the powerful presence and influence of Min. Farrakhan. Student Min. Troy Muhammad poignantly spoke on the words of Min. Farrakhan piercing his soul when he was incarcerated in prison.

“The power of God is so strong in the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan that he is now backed by God and His Christ and he literally represents the presence of God in our midst today,” said Sister Kenya Muhammad.

“Sister Kenya is not here of herself. I am one person, but I represent many more Muslims who follow the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. I represent many more young people who hear the truth coming from his mouth and agree that we can follow a man that not only talks the talk but walks the walk, and I am here representing many more women and I am a reminder of the scriptures, brothers and sisters, when it talked about Jesus on the cross.”

Nation of Islam European Region Representative Student Minister Abdul Hakeem Muhammad furthered Sis. Kenya’s point with his own testimony. “I was blessed to be in Holland approximately six weeks ago as a guest of the study group coordinators in Holland. And before they brought me up to speak, they were opening up just like they open up here in Chicago, in New York, in Philadelphia, in Houston, in Los Angeles, in San Francisco and I didn’t train these brothers! They were trained from the tapes of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan!” he said.

“So my job is one of discovery, my job is to go throughout Europe and find the followers of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and connect them to him because they are already there.”

Student Minister Abel Muhammad discussed the universal message in the words of the Minister. He serves as the Latino representative of the Nation of Islam.

“I’m not here before you as a Mexican, I’m not here before you as someone who hates Puerto Ricans or hates Black people, I’m someone among you who is learning to love myself and love my brother and my sister as I love myself because I am being taught by the man and we’re going to be taught by the man today who has the keys to remove from us the false lenses of White supremacy,” said Student Minister Abel Muhammad.

Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad prepared listeners for the powerful message they were about to hear from Min. Farrakhan.

“God is going to speak to you where you are personally,” he said, “as an individual in your space, in your place, in your corner. God is going to speak to you and me—watch, watch—because Allah is the All-Hearer and He knows what you want but He really knows what you need and God always suffices needs before wants are satisfied,” he said before introducing Min. Farrakhan.— Tariqah Shakir-Muhammad, J.A. Salaam and Final Call staff contributed to this report.

[Read the center article for excerpts from Min. Farrakhan’s March 1 message and visit noi.org to view the entirety of his messages from Saviours’ Day parts 1 and 2.]

Wednesday, February 26

From The Final Call Newspaper

A Message and Warning to the President and America

By James G. Muhammad Contributing Editor @jgm3000

DETROIT—A crowd of 14,000 people jumped to their feet with a rousing applause at the sight of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan entering the stage at the TCF Center for his keynote address to culminate the four-day weekend of activities during the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviours’ Day 2020, Feb. 21-23.

Dressed in an olive-green suit, green bow tie and a green pocket square, a beaming Minister greeted dignitaries on stage and bowed to the excited audience.

Min. Louis Farrakhan

He expressed joy at seeing the packed auditorium and to know that even more were watching the video feed in three overflow rooms.

He then launched into a three-and-one-half hour message he described as having good news for Black and oppressed people and warning to President Trump and the government of America, despite standing with torn meniscus ligaments in both knees.

Chaos and confusion gripped America during the recent hearings of President Donald Trump, puzzling the nations of the earth as they watched a great nation going to hell under a president who wants to be a king, the Minister said.

Speaking from the city where the NOI was founded 90 years ago, Min. Farrakhan said the deterioration of the moral fiber of America was on full display as lies and deceit were spun to give cover for the president to be acquitted.

“You are opting to be a part of that which is unraveling right in front of your eyes,” he said to Black people who put their hopes in America to give justice to the children of their former slaves.

“I was looking at America not at her finest level. I watched the high level of deceit. I watched brilliant lawyers … none willing to agree with the truth,” he said of the hearings. “I watched the Bible being fulfilled: If Satan casts out Satan, how then can his kingdom stand.

“Satan is having a field day with America and evil has been made fair seeming,” the Minister said.

Attorney Alan Dershowitz deceitfully gave cover for the Senate to acquit President Trump by admitting that Mr. Trump committed the acts he was accused of, but they didn’t rise to a level to be removed from office, the Minister said.

In his message titled, “The Unraveling of a Great Nation,” Min. Farrakhan chastised presidents for taking young people into war because they covet the oil and other natural resources in those countries. He also rebuked Mr. Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for murdering foreign leaders they did not like, citing Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani, killed by Trump in a drone attack, and Colonel Muammar Gadhafi, at the behest of Mrs. Clinton.

President Trump said Gen. Soleimani killed a lot of Americans, so he killed him, the Minister said. “Where were the men he killed? He killed them in Iraq. What the hell were you doing in Iraq?” he asked.

The Minister noted that although the Founding Fathers had lofty goals, “the nation called America was doomed from its inception” because it was built on a foundation of lies. He cited the Declaration of Independence as evidence.

The promise of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and the self-evident truths of “We the people” didn’t include the enslaved Africans nor the decimated Native Americans, he said. It didn’t even include White women who were denied the right to vote for a century, he said.

He also cited the government’s desire to unravel the burgeoning Nation of Islam from its inception.

“What has America’s promise been to us?” he asked. “Having the pursuit of happiness means you create the means of self-sufficiency. A few (Black people) doing good has not benefitted the masses of our people.

“When you have good words, you have to have a good heart to give life to those good words,” he said to the American government.

The popular Minister said the Founding Fathers knew they would face God’s judgment one day. He displayed the original Seal of the United States with a coat of arms recognizing immigrants from six European countries, a woman holding the scales of justice and the initials of the 13 original colonies.

On the back were images of Moses and the Children of Israel and Pharaoh with his army drowning in the Red Sea.

“They knew judgment was coming to America … that one day they would have to pay for what they did to the Native Americans, to the slaves. God has never favored the undertakings of slavery, genocide and colonialism,” he said.

At the end of the time of Caucasian rule, God comes to set up a new heaven and a new earth, Min. Farrakhan said. A new heaven means a new spiritual power and a new earth indicates a new political power, he explained.

The Muslim minister also offered President Trump a way to delay judgement.

“Mr. Trump, you are written in the scriptures in many places. I am too,” he said. “I’m inviting you to sit down and talk because I have a message for you from God.”

The King of Babylon once had a heart of a human being and God gave him the heart of a beast. After a while the king’s heart began to turn human again, he said.

“Suppose I’m talking to that Nebuchadnezzar?” he asked. “I can come to you like Jonah. America, Mr. President, needs to repent for what you have done.

“If Mr. Trump realizes that the penalty of rejection is death of the nation, then let’s make a deal. You know the art of the deal,” he said.

U.S. gov’t targets Nation of Islam

Saviours’ Day is the annual celebration of the birth of Master Fard Muhammad, the long-awaited Mahdi of the Muslims and the Messiah of the Christian faith.

He was born on Feb. 26, 1877 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and came to North America with the sole purpose of raising the Black man and woman of America from mental and spiritual death, fulfilling the scriptures that God would come for a people in bondage for 400 years and He would judge that nation.

After teaching his top student, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, for a little over three years, Master Fard Muhammad left the work of resurrection to The Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad worked for 40 years absent his teacher and built the most productive group of Black people in America and impacted the movement for Black liberation around the world, even though the U.S. Government sought to destroy it every step of the way.

Forty-two years ago, the world thought the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was dead, Min. Farrakhan said of his teacher. They tried to bury my teacher, not only in a grave but to destroy his works that the name of the Nation of Islam would no longer be remembered in us, he said.

He said the conspiracy to kill his teacher was between the U.S. government, hypocrites among NOI ranks and members of the Arab world.

The Minister would come to recognize that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was physically alive and made that announcement in 1981 during the first Saviour’s Day celebration in his rebuilding effort.

“I made a declaration that took a lot of courage,” he explained, adding that many of his friends pulled away from him. “I offered the (Muhammad) family to exhume the body. If you can prove the body is Elijah Muhammad, I will stop teaching,” he offered.

“Thirty-nine Saviours’ Days after, here we are,” he said.

The Minister said the NOI has mosques or study groups in more than 130 cities, in the isles of the Caribbean, in counties of the United Kingdom, Africa and others.

“We have been opposed by the most powerful nation on earth, and don’t forget her little brother Israel,” he said.

“We had to grow from nothing to bring back the name and teaching of the greatest Black man to ever walk among us, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. To see the Nation of Islam come back is a miracle,” he said.

Min. Farrakhan challenged the audience to consider how his teacher, who only completed the third grade, was able to produce giants like Malcom X, Muhammad Ali and others who were respected leaders in their city.

Malcolm and Ali’s growth were aborted because they left their teacher, he said. They tried to abort me from my class, but I stayed with my teacher, he said.

The beaming Minister offered thanks to the First Lady of the Nation of Islam, Mother Khadijah Farrakhan, his families and children and “to all no matter how small your contribution” to building the Nation of Islam.

He thanked Student Min. Troy Muhammad and the Believers of Mosque No. 1 in Detroit and the staff of Mosque Maryam in Chicago “for aiding us in Detroit to produce this marvelous crowd” that filled the arena and three overflow rooms.

He thanked the Executive Council of Laborers that “guides and governs” the Nation of Islam. “Why a council?” he asked? “Because power destroys those not made to handle it. Organizations run by personalities that are dictatorial … not any of you know enough to dictate that which brings about true freedom, justice and equality to the people you serve,” he said.

The price of a name and Kobe’s death

Min. Farrakhan discussed the trials of his grandson, Mustapha Farrakhan, Jr., who was denied access to a career in the NBA because of his name Farrakhan. He also discussed the death of basketball great Kobe Bryant.

A basketball standout at high school and a co-captain of the team at University of Virginia, the Minister said “we thought for sure (Mustapha) would make it to the NBA. The only thing wrong with him was he had a name that White folk were terrified over.”

He offered that those with the name could give it up, but they’d lose the respect of people. “You give it up for something you think is a privilege to curry some favor for something you desire to better your life. But I’m assured that my name will live down through the generations,” he said.

Upon hearing about the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and others killed in a fiery helicopter accident, Min. Farrakhan said he became quiet to ask God for the deeper meaning of the death in order to comfort Kobe’s family and those who loved him.

The Minister said by taking Kobe’s life in the way it happened stopped the world of sport and play. He said people don’t consider enough that God is the sovereign of our lives and that no soul dies without His permission.

We focus on the sadness of the tragedies and one minute you’re a believer, the next you have doubt and when anger sets in you become a disbeliever, he said.

“The lesson in Kobe’s death is God wanted us to focus on Kobe to see the sacrifice of Kobe as a teenager coming into the league from high school and his constant focus on improving his craft,” Min. Farrakhan explained. “I want us to think about ourselves because each of us is a creation of God in which he has deposited a treasure.

With the image of Kobe at the center of a constellation of basketball greats like Michael Jordan, Lebron James and other, the Minister said, “The duty you have is to exploit your gift, evaluate its value and use it to help others for the glory of God,” he said.

The outspoken leader also weighed in on the controversy around news personality Gayle King’s interview with WNBA star Lisa Leslie that probed alleged rape allegations against Kobe.

The Minister explained his love for Ms. King and her accomplishments, but she was used by the White media to besmirch Kobe’s memory.

He said she defended Charlie Rose, a White broadcaster accused of sexual harassment. Kobe did so much good in his life, couldn’t you find something good to say, he asked?

He defended rapper Snoop Dogg’s angry rebuke of Ms. King, adding that he doesn’t approve of any man calling a woman the “b” word, which Snoop Dogg did.

But “in his anger I defend him from the Holy Qur’an,” he said. “When somebody feels hurt and uses hurtful speech, it is justified.

“What you did was so unnecessary. He was hurt, and we are hurt,” he said. “You can regain your place with us but not by justifying what you did. Why don’t you just repent and say you’re sorry.”

Tuesday, February 11

From The Final Call Newspaper

Saviours’ Day 2020: A special homecoming

CHICAGO—Saviours’ Day, the annual Nation of Islam celebration and crowning event of Black History Month, is coming back to where it all started for the groundbreaking Islamic movement—Detroit!

Jumu’ah Congressional Prayer service at Saviours’ Day 2016 led by Imam Abdul Malik.

Thousands of followers of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad under the leadership of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and their supporters, visitors and guests from the U.S. and abroad will convene Feb. 21-23 for a full weekend of workshops and activities for all ages at the TCF Center located at 1 Washington Blvd. in Detroit.

The highlight of the weekend will be the keynote message of instruction, divine guidance and warning by Min. Farrakhan on Sunday, Feb. 23 at the TCF Center. Doors open at 12 p.m. EDT and the program will be broadcast live via internet at NOI.org starting at 2 p. m. EDT. Min. Farrakhan’s message is titled, “The Unraveling of a Great Nation.”

Audience claps during Saviours’ Day 2014 pro- gram.

Saviours’ Day is the commemoration of the birth of Master W. Fard Muhammad, the Messiah of the Christians, Mahdi of the Muslims and teacher of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He was born February 26, 1877 in the Holy City of Mecca in Arabia and traveled to America in search of the Black man and woman of America to teach and resurrect them from a “dead” state caused by over 400 years of systematic oppression, slavery and brutal mistreatment.

Youngsters enjoy playing chess at 2016 Saviours’ Day.

Detroit is where Master Fard Muhammad and the Hon. Elijah Muhammad first met in the early 1930s and where the first temple—as it was called then—of the Nation of Islam was established.

The last two years Saviours’ Day was held in Chicago, where Nation of Islam headquarters is located. There is tremendous anticipation and excitement that the convention this year is returning to the city of its birth as the global movement approaches 90 years since its founding and the coming of Master W. Fard Muhammad.

Joe Louis Memorial In Detroit.

Saviours’ Day 2020 is also a milestone in the ministry and mission of Min. Farrakhan as it marks 65 years since his acceptance of his teacher’s message and becoming a follower of Mr. Muhammad. This also marks the 45th year of Min. Farrakhan working in the absence of his teacher.

There will be workshops on Friday and Saturday featuring panelists and facilitators that are experts in various areas and based on The Muslim Program of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad found on the back page of The Final Call newspaper.

Workshops will include a wide range of topics including: agriculture, real estate and land acquisition, marriage and courtship, youth summit, mental and physical health and various aspects of the Nation of Islam’s Nine Ministries. A special screening of a feature film, Pushout: Crimilization of Black Girls in Schools will be shown on Friday and Saturday. The Nation of Islam Historical Exhibit and Mother Khadijah Farrakhan’s Children’s Village will also be featured. Friday night features The Final Call Newspaper 40th anniversary celebratory black-tie banquet and there will be a special town hall meeting at the Shrine of the Black Madonna on Saturday afternoon titled, “The Black Man and Woman Must Consider Separation.”

Detroit skyline

Detroit is a special city not just because it is the Mecca of the Nation of Islam and where it was founded, but the city is also the Mecca for Black people in general, explained Student Minister Ishmael R. Muhammad, national assistant to Min. Farrakhan.

“The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam is happy and proud to return to the city of our birth and establishment as the Nation of Islam. We celebrate the birth of a Saviour and commemorate 90 years of the Nation of Islam,” he said.

See pages 17, 34, 36, 37, back page and visit www.noi.org for more information and updates on Saviours’ Day 2020 including registration, Final Call banquet tickets, Sunday tickets, hotels, workshops, Children’s Village and more.

Tuesday, February 4

From The Final Call Newspaper

Can anyone stop ‘King Trump’?
By Barrington M. Salmon Contributing Writer @bsalmondc

Donald Trump and the Republican Party may have won the impeachment battle against the president by blocking witnesses and standing together, but critics say it will prove to be a victory that takes a heavy toll. The loser, they say, is the United States.

Protesters hold signs and sing outside the U.S. Capitol Jan 31, in Washington, as Senators continue the impeachment trial for President Donald Trump. Photo: AP Photo/Steve Helber

Democrats blasted Republicans for what they called a “sham” Senate trial and critics worry what a Trump acquittal portends for a nation whose president has demonstrated he can do whatever he wants with little to no consequences, checks or balances.

Closing arguments from Mr. Trump’s legal team and House Managers concluded Feb. 3. At Final Call press time, the country was prepared to hear from President Trump during his Feb. 4 State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress with a looming Feb. 5 Senate vote to officially acquit him.

On Jan. 31, Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were able to fend off the furious month-long efforts of House Democrats to convince senators to allow witnesses to testify in the impeachment trial of President Trump.

In the end, the compelling evidence presented by House managers detailing President Trump’s abuse of power and his attempts to convince Ukrainian government officials to launch an investigation designed to politically damage potential rival Joe Biden meant nothing. Members of the president’s defense team argued that the commander-in-chief had not committed any impeachable offenses, could not be prosecuted or impeached for his behavior, whatever it is, and—as retired Harvard Law School Prof. Alan Dershowitz asserted, President Trump could not be impeached if the actions he took were “in the public interest.”

Demonstrators hold signs outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 31, during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Photo: AP Photo/Julio Cortez

One by one, undecided “moderate” senators, Lamar Alexander (Tennessee), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Cory Gardner (Colorado) and Martha McSally (Arizona) announced they would not vote to allow witnesses to testify. Following that, the Republican-controlled Senate voted 51-49 to disallow witnesses after Democrats failed to persuade four Republican moderates to join them. With no witnesses to hear from, the trial proceeded to wrap up.

‘Nothing will change’

Even as the trial concluded, constitutional scholars, ethicists, historians, certain elected officials and others expressed dismay at the decision by Sen. McConnell and his fellow Republicans to eschew non-partisanship and abrogate their constitutional responsibility to be a check and balance on the executive branch. Many lament the damage Republican defenses of the president have and will have on Congress, other American institutions and the body politic.

Ohio native Maureen Curran, a lifelong Republican, has been frustrated since Mr. Trump ascended to the White House. As she watched the trial proceedings, she has become more disillusioned.

“We know it’s not going anywhere,” the neonatal nurse and self-described moderate Republican said of the impeachment trial. “I guess I’m disheartened. I’m not sure what Trump’s hold is over these people. He’s not as powerful as they think. I’m not afraid of him. If I was an elected official, I would lose my job with dignity. At some point in your life you have to have personal pride. If this was Obama, I’d be saying the same thing,” she said.

“Everyone has already made up their mind. They are voting party instead of country. They work for us but seem to have forgotten that. The country is tired of all this. Nothing is going to change, and the Senate won’t impeach or remove him.”

“With no censure he will go on, do more questionable things and say, ‘I did it. So what?’ ” she said. “As a citizen watching this, it’s discouraging, disheartening. This makes us really realize that neither party has us as a priority. It’s really sad. We have been reduced to this. He doesn’t represent my father or I.”

Veteran labor organizer Bill Fletcher, Jr., thinks the corruptness of the impeachment trial process will energize anti-Trump resistors.

“The substance of the charges is documented and has been proven. The substance is what the Democrats presented,” Mr. Fletcher told The Final Call. “For a long time, I was against impeachment until Ukraine. It was so blatant.”

“He will always be the impeached president and he is forever hurt by this, but it is dangerous with Donald Trump because of his fragile ego. He can say that the elections were stolen and people will hit the streets. It’s entirely possible that he’ll declare martial law or choose to ignore the results if he loses in November,” added Mr. Fletcher.

A District of Columbia resident, who said she’s been watching the impeachment hearings and trial, was frustrated and dismayed by the Republican senators’ failure to do their constitutional duty.

“I’ve been watching and listening. It’s really disappointing that Republicans have chosen Trump and their long-term interests over that of the country,” said the attorney and business executive, who because of the toxic nature of political discourse requested anonymity.

“They have used false process arguments to acquit him. At the agency level, institutional knowledge is leaving, there’s a brain drain, a lack of talent and them polarizing people who are staying. The attack on the Constitution is a real problem. They’re making sure that the Constitution is radically impacted. Constitutionally, getting anything done will be hampered for a generation,” she added. “There is a record number of people without health insurance, the financial recovery has never been a reality for poor people and when we consider the impact of dismantling the state on ordinary Americans … .”

She and any number of Trump administration critics argue that cabinet officials and others who support his agenda are dismantling agencies, weakening laws, reversing or trying to erase Obama era regulations, eviscerating environmental and labor and workforce protections and packing the courts with nominees who are arch-conservative but mostly unqualified, activist jurists. Many refuse to answer whether they consider Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade as settled law.

“Trump has given life and breath to White supremacy,” she said. “Can we put someone in place to replace the infrastructure? I’m a hyper-realist. We won’t see a radical restoration of racial justice whoever we elect, but he might put it back the way it was. At a bare minimum, we need some restoration (of norms and institutions). I think we’re in a worst situation than when Michael Brown died. What happens next?”

American conflict

Dr. James Pope, Jr., said America’s true and unvarnished nature has been laid bare. “You know the overwhelming thought I have as I balance my competing priorities is that we are watching, in live and vivid color, the reverberations of the myths that the United States was built upon: settler colonialism, narrow and contradictory notions of equality, justice, freedom and the implications of racial capitalism on human and natural resources,” said Dr. Pope, associate professor and program coordinator of Africana Studies at Winston Salem State University.

“I know this may be a bit more complex to understand by some, because we often are caught in the moment of crisis. However, every crisis is always rooted in a longer trajectory,” he added.

“What we are witnessing is the true face of ‘democracy’ that was born in the milieu of Western Europe defining itself, through the exploitation of itself and others. We cannot forget that the U.S. was an outgrowth of this internal strife between warring clans—the aristocracy—those who rule by birthright, as ordained by ‘God’ and those who challenged this birthright rule—a financial class. This conflict is and has been played out over time and space. However, the myths upon which each of these clans justified their existence are turning on themselves.”

“The system (Whiteness) is (re)consolidating, not for a narrow conceptualization of the now moment or for the election or some moral, just stand. The system is seeking a (re)consolidation in the face of a perceived threat to its mythical authority, the growing Black and Brown population, economic and planetary crisis and war,” said Dr. Pope, who specializes in comparative African and Diasporic history and politics as well as international relations.

In an interview he granted The Final Call three years ago, Mr. Fletcher said President Trump is being used by conservatives and the political and economic elite “as a blunt force object, an effective mechanism to move their long-term agenda” which is to ensure that power in America remains in the hands of a White minority.

Nothing has changed since he gave that interview, he said, in fact, since then, the fear and apprehension White people feel has intensified.

“This hardened right wing party is very aware of the coming environmental catastrophe and economic fragility and they are trying to secure power before the catastrophe. They are less concerned with the pretense of democracy,” said Mr. Fletcher, a talk show host, racial justice, labor and international activist and author.

He also argued that the political right has made race central to their organizing approach and message, and contends that fear of demographic change is driving the White nationalist agenda.

“There is a growing crisis within the settler state of the U.S., brought on by a convergence of economic, environmental and demographic factors. This is also a White nationalist revolt against everything we won in ‘60s,” said Mr. Fletcher. “As America experiences a seismic demographic shift and becomes browner, the fear of a Black and Brown planet and trepidation about the loss of power is fueling desperate efforts to thwart Black advancement, their access to the vote and political, social and economic power.”

“When you think about what Trump said during the election, he’s demonstrated how much there is to lose,” said Mr. Fletcher, chairman of the board of directors for the International Labor Rights Forum and executive editor of The Black Commentator. “Affirmative action, denaturalization—who are they gonna be coming after? Africans, Caribbeans, Asians and anyone who raises hell. We have a lot to fear and lot to lose.”

Political analyst and author Dr. Wilmer Leon, III said he has watched the tussle between Democrats and Republicans with fascination, especially when revelations from former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton’s upcoming book threatened to upend the trial. In Mr. Bolton’s book, which is expected to be published soon, he says he was in the room when Mr. Trump said he wanted military aid withheld from Ukraine until it agreed to investigate the Bidens. In the wake of that revelation, Mr. Trump strenuously denied that he said that.

“The whole tide shifted with Bolton,” said Dr. Leon, a talk show host, commentator and academic. “This is a struggle among elites in this country—financial versus military elites—and Donald Trump is in the middle of it. They’re fighting over domestic and foreign policy. The military don’t know if they can trust him because of North Korea and Iran and he’s wreaking havoc with tariffs and trade wars.”

With regard to the impeachment trial, Dr. Leon asked, “Are the Democrats playing to win or playing not to lose? I think they’re doing the latter. Losing means they don’t control the narrative.”

Sen. McConnell is customarily playing games and outwitting his Democratic counterparts, he observed. While there were reports that as many as 12 Republicans were said to be amenable to calling witnesses, most are too fearful of the president’s wrath and of upsetting his base, observers argued.

“Fear of the Trump base is real, but it depends on where you are,” said Dr. Leon. “The base is not really as big as people suggest but they are vocal and well-funded. The question is, are you strong enough to withstand his base?”