Fidel Castro: A Friend of Revolutionary Movements & Leaders

by Ashahed M. Muhammad

January 1, 2009 marks the 50 year anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. In viewing many of the articles written regarding the United States and their view of Cuba and its president Fidel Castro, they miss the mark, often focusing on the fact that Cuba practices Communism. While his strident opposition to capitalism in a capitalistic world is definitely a reason, another reason is that Fidel Castro has backed many revolutionary movements with resources.

He is hated by the government of the United States of America and this is simply accepted as fact, however, many lack a fundamental understanding of the history of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution. As a law student at the University of Havana, he was a key leader of the student-led radical nationalism that swept Cuba during the mid-40s. Fighting against corruption and injustice, he had been detained, questioned on numerous occasions and ultimately was imprisoned for his revolutionary activity.

At that time under the leadership of General Fulgencio Batista, Cuba was a place where gambling, corruption and prostitution were the order of the day and many powerful Mafia chieftains had considerable financial investments there. So, many wanted to move the country away from being a playground for the rich and the Mafia.

In 1952, Castro prepared to run for political office as a part of an anti-corruption coalition of political forces. Support for the rebel political movement was strong, but Batista—who had actually been out of political office for several years and living in Florida—returned and staged a bloodless coup using his influence. The Batista-led regime insured that corruption and vice remained unabated as the masses of the people continued to suffer under oppression and mired in a collective quagmire of poverty. The Batista regime shut down universities and outlawed any dissident political parties thinking this crackdown would squash the idealism of those who had been energized by the hope that their people could benefit from revolutionary action.

Castro continued to organize an opposition guerilla army. During a two-year battle, Batista ordered the killings of many thought to be rebel sympathizers in a brutal attempt to squash the revolution. Many were tortured and imprisoned and it is estimated that over 20,000 were killed.

There was an unintended and unanticipated backlash leading to the sharp growth of popular support swaying in favor of Castro’s revolutionary movement. After 25 months of fighting, General Batista and his henchmen fled on New Year’s Eve. In the first week of January 1959, Fidel Castro entered Havana, Cuba as the triumphant revolutionary leader of the people.

During Fidel Castro’s first goodwill tour and visit to the United States, specifically New York in 1960 as leader of Cuba, Castro stayed at the legendary Theresa Hotel in Harlem and used it as his temporary base of operations from which he conducted meetings with national and international leaders such as Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Malcolm X and Nikita Khrushchev of what was then called the Soviet Union.

Fidel Castro returned to Cuba continuing his plan to lead his people to independence by setting up businesses that would be owned and operated by the Cuban people. He kicked out the American corporations and initiated a program of educational reform insuring that all Cuban people, young and old, urban or rural would be able to read.

In March 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower enlisted members of the exiled Cuban community living in the United States, initiating a secret training program for those who would be willing pawns and tools of the United States government to attempt to overthrow Castro. It was discovered that many exiled Cubans enlisted as pilots using American airplanes to bomb their own people in Cuba, killing many civilians and destroying many of Cuba’s natural resources. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States of America continued to hatch plans to assassinate Castro and his key aides and leaders in order to destabilize the Cuban government, leading to the most notable military attack directed at Cuba by the United States, the historic Bay of Pigs Invasion in April 1961. The attack was repelled in 72 hours. Opposition groups financed by the United States were defeated and the United States was humiliated.

Fidel Castro continued to steadfastly back revolutionary movements across the globe. In support of the Vietnamese rebel movement led by Ho Chi Minh in 1971, Castro’s government sent medical supplies and food to the Vietnamese rebels and also trained teachers, doctors and farmers. In support of the Chilean revolution of Salvador Allende in 1973, Fidel Castro declared solidarity. The United States saw this as a threat and, through the CIA, backed a coup led by Augusto Pinochet that ultimately led to Pres. Allende’s death and the installation of a puppet government responsive to the needs and desires of the United States of America.

Cuba backed the Sandinistas in the Nicaraguan Revolution in 1979 giving aid and assistance to the military, as well as health care and industry. Fidel Castro was a good friend and supporter of Grenada's Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. Ideological factionalism led to disunity and provided an opening for the United States to mount a successful invasion and regime change in Grenada in 1983, in what was called Operation Urgent Fury.

Many Cubans consider Africa as a mother country and are not ashamed of their African roots. Fidel’s revolutionary ideas spread to many rebel leaders and political movements in Africa and abroad such as Sekou Toure of the Republic of Guinea; Amilcar Cabral, leader of the rebel movement against the Portuguese imperial forces; and Julius Nyerere, the first president of the United Republic of Tanzania.

Many were shocked and surprised during Nelson Mandela’s triumphant trip to the United States after being freed after 27 years of unjust imprisonment when he refused to disassociate himself from Fidel Castro, due in large part to Castro’s military support for Angola’s push for independence from Portugal, which began in 1975.

The United States, again through the CIA, along with the apartheid government of South Africa, tried to maintain colonial control. Castro sent 36,000 troops to assist along with doctors, teachers and engineers, playing a key role in the Angolan revolution. He actually directed military operations from Cuba during the conflict. After military battles lasting over a decade, the South African Army was defeated in Angola—which was considered to have hastened the demise of the apartheid government of South Africa.

Fidel Castro is a symbol of post-colonial revolutionary success. Through the fall of the Soviet Union, which led to the loss of much of the Cuba’s financial backing, the people stand with Castro and now are beginning to receive financial support and business investment from other nations. Castro is loved by the people and leaders throughout Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. When the final testament of his life is written, Fidel Castro will be considered a freedom fighter advancing revolutionary movements across the globe.


Mychal Bell suffers a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Accidental or failed suicide attempt?

When I originally heard the news this morning about 18-year old Mychal Bell accidentally shooting himself in the shoulder, immediately, my journalistic instincts kicked in.  I emailed the Southwestern Regional correspondent of the Final Call Bro. Jesse Muhammad and asked "Did Mychal Bell accidentally shoot himself, or was it a suicide attempt?  He responded that he was looking into it and was waiting to hear back from Mychal's father to get the scoop. 

For some background, Mychal Bell was the central figure of the case of the "Jena 6" which galvanized grass roots activists and others like no other social justice case in recent memory. 

Jesse text messaged me saying that the lawyer is still saying that it was an accidental shooting, however, Suzanne Malveaux just reported on "The Situation Room" that the story of Mychal Bell may have indeed taken a tragic twist. CNN is reporting that Mychal was arrested on Dec. 24 for allegedly shoplifting about $370 worth of goods from a Louisiana mall.  After his arrest and subsequent release after $1,300 bond, Mychal, according to police reports, had been talking the past few days about the intense media scrutiny he had been under and remarked "he did not think he could live anymore."

I later received confirmation in a phone call from Brother Jesse who spoke with the family and it is true, Mychal Bell attempted to commit suicide. Additionally, medical complications have developed. One of his lungs collapsed and it is possible that he might not make it. 

Pray for Mychal, his family and  the other members of the "Jena 6" and their families.

Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney & Free Gaza Humanitarian missionaries allegedly attacked by Israel

View a video account from Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney:


President-elect Barack H. Obama and his well deserved vacation

(Photo courtesy: BarackObama.com)

Everyone who works hard deserves a vacation. Since he was elected on Nov.4, 2008, there is no denying that President-elect Barack H. Obama has been working hard.

A nearly full cabinet of highly-qualified individuals, almost 70% of Americans have been pleased with the way he has handled himself and the choices he has made and even Religious Right stalwart Pat Robertson has praised him for his cabinet picks. (For whatever that's worth!)

As I watched AC360 on CNN and some of the news coverage of President-elect Barack H. Obama's vacation in Hawaii, I was really glad that he actually took some time off to spend with his family. Their life has already changed immeasurably, and after January 20, 2009, it will definitely never be the same for Mr. Obama, his wife Michelle and his two daughters.

There are so many high expectations, so many promises to be kept, so many problems to be solved. He is inheriting a terrible mess caused by 8 years of GWB (Guns, War and Bloodshed) and his administration.

It will be interesting to watch. It already has been, and he hasn't even taken the Oath of Office!


More from April Ryan's interview w/ Minister Farrakhan

Here is an extended clip of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan breaking down the situation in Zimbabwe, America's corruption, and touching on the corruption scandal in Chicago surrounding embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who incidentally is preparing to speak to the press and the public at a press conference today at 2PM in Chicago.

This clip is a little over six minutes long and it was excerpted from an interview with American Urban Network's April Ryan.

Farrakhan speaks with April Ryan

Urban Warfare in America: White Supremacists in Law Enforcement and Military?

by Ashahed M. Muhammad

(FinalCall.com)--Plans announced by the U.S. Department of Defense to have 20,000 additional uniformed troops dispatched in America by 2011 have been met with criticism from former veterans, law enforcement officials and rights activists concerned that it represents the latest development in a continued blurring of the lines between law enforcement and military operations.

“We are very concerned about the possible constitutional violation of posting active duty soldiers in the United States in a police function,” said Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense. “We should be very concerned that President George W. Bush is trying to violate the spirit of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution by permanently basing active duty troops in the United States with the mission of performing police roles.”

Pentagon officials recently announced plans to bolster the security efforts of state and local law enforcement agencies in the event of a terrorist attack by creating “rapid-reaction forces” that would be able to intervene in attacks or other domestic disturbances likely to result in mass casualties.

Critics have asked if this “rapid-reaction” is really emergency preparedness, or is it actually a part of the gradual and continual escalation toward martial law that has occurred under the Bush Administration moving America closer towards a police state?

Read the entire article here:


One question, a suggestion and an update

QUESTION: Why is Bernie Madoff who "made off" with $50 billion is able to walk around his $7 million dollar apartment located on Park Avenue in NYC?

SUGGESTION: Minister Farrakhan's message yesterday at a anti-violence rally for youth in Chicago should be heard by every parent across the United States who loves their children and does not want to see them victimized by senseless acts of violence.

UPDATE: Minister Farrakhan was just interviewed by BET's Jeff Johnson for about 1 hour.


April Ryan of the American Urban Radio Networks interviews Minister Farrakhan

An Exclusive and Comprehensive interview of Minister Louis Farrakhan by American Urban Radio's April Ryan

Text from her website located at http://aprildryan.com/

"Alleged corruption around the world has Chicago resident, Nation of Islam Minister, Louis Farrakhan speaking out and on fire. He spoke recently at his home on the situation in Zimbabwe. Farrakhan recalled President Mugabe as the former freedom fighter, a man who once tried to tear down the apartheid system in South Africa.
President Bush is asking Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to step down again. This statement is in response to the deadly cholera outbreak there. Minister Farrakhan also speaks to the pay for play allegations involving Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat."

Go to http://aprildryan.com/ for portions of the interview.


Updates: Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Free on Bail

CHICAGO-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is now free after posting $4,500 bond.

United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said the arrest was made to put an end to a "political corruption crime spree."

In the 76 page federal complaint against the Blagojevich you can read the sordid details. Once you see it, you will understand why there aren't many who believe that Blagojevich will escape jail time.

Pretty much everyone is trying to figure out the identities of the five [Senate Candidates] whose actual names do not appear in the report.   

In no particular order, the names bounced around have been, top Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett, Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., and Rep. Danny Davis and Illinois Lt. Governor Pat Quinn.   None of the aforementioned individuals have been accused of any impropriety yet, however, strong circumstantial evidence is pointing to one individual in particular, who will probably be going down as more evidence is uncovered and released.

Pres. Elect Obama has not been implicated in any wrongdoing whatsoever.

Speaking at the press conference, Robert Grant, the FBI's special agent in charge in Chicago said at around 6AM this morning, they called Gov. Blagojevich.  Agent Grant said he woke Blagojevich up and let him know there was a warrant for his arrest.  He said Gov. Blagojevich asked "Is this a joke?" Grant replied no, and also said they wanted to do it quietly so as not to wake Blagojevich's children and with as little media attention as possible.  When asked if Gov. Blagojevich was handcuffed, Agent Grant simply replied "Yes, which is our standard procedure."

This is the second Illinois Governor in a row to have problems with corruption.  Mr. Blagojevich's predecessor, former Gov. George Ryan is currently in jail right now for influence peddling and corruption.

Here is a link to the federal complaint against Gov. Blagojevich that was distributed at this morning's press conference.  You can read the sordid details and experience the colorful language for yourself!

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Taken Into Federal Custody

CHICAGO-Embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who had been dogged by allegations of impropriety seemingly since day one in office was taken into Federal custody at his north side home earlier this morning.

There is a 11A press conference scheduled for the Dirksen Federal Building.

It had been alleged that Gov. Blagojevich engaged in "pay to play" politics and it had recently been reported that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., had emerged as the front runner for Pres.Elect Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat.   But according to the Federal criminal complaint, it appears as if Gov. Blagojevich held out to possibly fill the seat himself.

We have a copy of the Federal criminal complaint and will reporting on the developing events.


Take Another Look: Why not RICO for the Corporate Tycoons? No Bailout for the "Big Three" Automakers.

Like many of you, for the last few weeks of "America's Economic Downturn" the series, I have watched the irresponsible blame game, listened to the increased use of deceptive language and I have viewed the fake remorse of demonstrated by high priced corporate executives and paid for politicians.

I have listened to the very real outrage voiced by those who find themselves in the "middle class" as well as those suffering the worst - the working poor.

Why should the "Big Three" automakers: Ford, General Motors and Chrysler be rescued or "bailed out" because of their poor performance?

A majority of the financial analysts agree that in the short term, the failure of these three companies would have a detrimental effect on the American economy and consumer confidence would take a hit, but is it possible that in the long run, allowing the companies to go under would actually have a positive effect thus improving the economic situation?

First of all, giving the "Big Three" a financial bailout does not necessarily mean that these companies will return to health because their problems are systematic and operational in nature.
Toyota and Honda manufacture many of their vehicles at auto plants all across the United States. They are not standing in line asking for a federal financial bailout are they?

Evidently, there is something the executives at Toyota and Honda are doing right that keeps their employees happy and their cars on the road with a high level of customer satisfaction. Additionally, Toyotas and Hondas maintain high resale value and obviously, consumers like that. Why? Because first and foremost, people want quality products that are reasonably priced. This is not only true in America, this is true of consumers all across the globe.

America likes to portray itself as the quintessential capitalist model. A free market initiative society where anyone can make money if they try hard enough, but is this really true?

It seems to me that in a free market society, companies should be awarded for quality and innovation and not bailed out for improper management and lack of vision. And furthermore, I believe that all of the high priced corporate executives should have to surrender (or at least put up for collateral until things get straightened out) some of their cars, planes and properties, such as their huge villas and luxurious vacation homes in exotic locations all over the globe.

Perhaps they should be dealt with according to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act also known as RICO, especially if high level executives knew that the companies were hemorrhaging money, and continued to keep their common low-level blue collar workers in the dark.

In all financial schemes, those at the bottom of the pyramid always end up carrying the burden for those who are at the top. It is time to eliminate the pyramid schemes and move on to something better, something that destroys the old ideas and replaces them with newly refined minds filled with innovative ideas so that they can be free to implement their sharper visions.


President Elect Obama set to announce New Mexico's Bill Richardson as Commerce Secretary

A reliable source has told me that in a press conference tomorrow, President Elect Barack H. Obama is set to bring his 3rd vanquished political opponent into the fold when  he announces New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as his nominee for Commerce Secretary.  Richardson has formerly served as ambassador to the United Nations and as the Secretary of Energy under President Bill Clinton.

So far, Joe Biden picked as his Vice-President, Hillary Clinton picked as his Secretary of State, Bill Richardson picked as Commerce Secretary. 


President Elect Barack H. Obama announces key members of Nat'l Security team

President Elect Barack H. Obama speaks at press conference on Dec. 1 announcing members of his national security team.
 Photo: Kenneth Muhammad

CHICAGO-President Elect Barack H. Obama rolled out his national security team in a press conference today downtown.

He announced the nomination of Sen. Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, selecting  Robert Gates to remain as Secretary of Defense after 2 years in the Bush Administration, Eric Holder as Attorney General, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security,  Susan Rice as Ambassador to the United Nations and Gen. Jim Jones, USMC (Ret.) as National Security Adviser.

"In this uncertain world, the time has come for a new beginning – a new dawn of American leadership to overcome the challenges of the 21st century, and to seize the opportunities embedded in those challenges. To succeed, we must pursue a new strategy that skillfully uses, balances, and integrates all elements of American power: our military and diplomacy; our intelligence and law enforcement; our economy and the power of our moral example. The team that we have assembled here today is uniquely suited to do just that. They share my pragmatism about the use of power, and my sense of purpose about America’s role as a leader in the world," said President-elect Obama.


Yes..It is the legendary Jim Kelly from "Enter The Dragon"

Ashahed M. Muhammad with the legendary Jim Kelly from the classic movie "Enter the Dragon" after the State of the Black World II in New Orleans, Louisiana on November 23rd 2008.
(Photo by Ansar Muhammad)


Minister Louis Farrakhan, Jeremiah A. Wright and Pres. Elect Barack H. Obama will forever be linked.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright and The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan embrace as Haki Mahdubuti looks on at the Legacy Awards ceremony.
(Photo: Rashid Muhammad)
At the Legacy Awards ceremony held last night by the Institute of the Black World at the State of the Black World II Conference, among those honored were The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright.

To see both men sitting on the stage together was gratifying and for many of those in attendance, probably surreal. You heard so much about both men during the election cycle as the right wing media tried to use both men to hurt the presidential campaign of Barack H. Obama.

Minister Farrakhan has been demonized by the controlled media for nearly three decades, and Jeremiah Wright got a serious dose of the media's manipulation during this presidential campaign.

These three men will forever be linked when this particular period in the history of Black people is told to future generations. As you know, Pres. Elect Obama had to denounce and reject and repudiate them both but despite that, they are standing strong.

After graciously thanking many of those joining him on the stage, Rev. Wright turned to Minister Farrakhan and delivered special words of thanks and appreciation on behalf of Black people.

“One of many things that the media got angry about back in April is that I would not let them tell me who my friends were, and because the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is a friend of mine,” said Rev. Wright adding that during the controversy, the Fruit of Islam provided security for him others Nation of Islam members, specifically Jamil Muhammad and Akbar Muhammad stood in support of him.
“And while they were using me as the whipping boy, they were waiting on him (Farrakhan) to say anything. Anything. He held his peace in order that Barack might be our president. My brother, we owe a debt of gratitude that we can never repay.”

The two men then stood, embraced as the crowd of about 400 cheered wildly. Rev. Wright went further into his thoughts and feelings about the presidential election and Barack H. Obama's historic victory in an exclusive interview that I conducted with him shortly after the awards ceremony.

Others present and receiving awards were revolutionary poet Sonia Sanchez, publisher and author Susan Taylor, Haki Mahdubuti, Dr. Maulauna Karenga, activist Willie "Mukasa" Ricks and Dr. Adelaide Sanford.


SOBWC II: The Role of Blacks in the Diaspora in rebuilding and fortifying Africa

The Pan African Policy Forum I: The Role of the Diaspora was an excellent forum with plenty of valuable information shared. Yes, it did start 45 minutes late, but why focus on the negative? (smile)

Moderated by award winning actor and outspoken activist Danny Glover, the forum discussed the role of displaced Africans in helping to build Africa.

This is not a difficult concept to understand. A portion of my forthcoming book "The Black Principle: Prepare to Rule" deals with the fact that Blacks in America can do for Africa exactly what Jews in the United States do for Israel. We can act as a social, economic and political support system that strengthens the diplomatic position of Africa on the world stage.

We can establish powerful and effective lobbying groups that look out for the best interests of our people at home and abroad. Every other group interested in self determination does it and we can too! In fact, it is an imperative. We must do it.

During the forum, Ambassador Dudley Thompson defined the term Diaspora as people of African descent who are not living in Africa and said that all Black people—especially in America—should refocus their thinking on their origins. “Think of yourself as a non-residential African who happens to be livings somewhere else,” said the 92-year old pan-African scholar pointing out that Africa's financial situation keeps it powerless and still victimized by neo-colonialism. “If you are broke, you cannot be free whether you are a man or a country and that even applies to large (African) countries under the control of multi-national corporations,” he added.

If you have ever been to a town hall meeting involving Black people, you know that it can turn into an emotional gripe session and once leaving, nothing new has come about. This forum had the potential to devolve into that until Amb. Thompson hit the crowd hard and said "We need to stop agonizing and start organizing."

Dr. Ron Daniels said, "You can have unity without uniformity." This is undeniably true. As long as the same worldview and objective is shared unity can be achieved. This is what is commonly referred to as "operational unity." White people and other ethnic groups practice it regularly. Black people do not. The time is now for this to change.

Taking in information at the forum were the legendary Dr. Conrad Worrill, our great scholar warrior Dr. Leonard Jeffries and his wife Dr. Rosalind Jeffries Elder Willie "Mukasa" Ricks, radio talk show host Mark Thompson (a.k.a. Matsimela Mapfumo)

In addition to Ghana that has offered dual citizenship to Blacks in the Diaspora, a panelist mentioned that if you obtain a DNA test and it shows that your roots are in Sierra Leone, they will grant you a passport and declare you a citizen of that African nation. Want to know more?


The State of the Black World II is off to a great start!

The State of The Black World II Conference in New Orleans began with a Town Hall Meeting held at the Ernest Morial Convention Center on Thursday evening.

As I rode into the city, passing the New Orleans Superdome on my way to my hotel downtown, it was moving to actually see the place where so many of our people suffered during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I remembered seeing the vivid images of mothers asking for food and water for their small babies, elderly with a terrified look of panic, and others with an empty and dazed look on their faces.

The scenes at the Superdome reminded me of what we sometimes see on the faces of mothers and their children in parts of Africa affected by drought or famine, or perhaps in India after the tsunami.

The people are gone, the images, tragic memories and problems still remain.

The great irony is that it appears as if the downtown area- like most urban downtown areas appears to be built up with hotels and businesses, and the French Quarter is still a constant party, however, a majority of those displaced by Katrina are still in other areas, primarily Atlanta, GA and Houston, TX, because they are still unable to return to their old neighborhoods because the homes have not been rebuilt and the services in many areas are still uninhabitable some three years later.

Why couldn't some of the wealthy Black businessmen and women across the country unite and rebuild affordable housing for those displaced by Katrina?

Several hundred attended the town hall meeting and heard comments from Marc Morial who served as New Orleans mayor from 1994-2002, president of Bennett College, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, and political scientists Dr. Ron Walters, pan-Africanist activist Mtangulizi Sanyika was also on the panel. The discussion was moderated by radio hosts Bev Smith and Mark Thompson.

I will be bringing you the latest on the "Pan African Policy Forum" taking place later today featuring award winning actor Danny Glover as well as main session tonight dealing with "The Future of the Black Freedom Movement: A New Generation of Leadership."

Spotted at the conference: Rev. Jeremiah Wright, African affairs commentator and radio talk show host Akbar Muhammad, the Nation of Islam's Jamil Muhammad and hip-hop journalist Davy-D.
(I know you are wondering, Rev. Wright was not making media comments, however, he received a tremendous amount of love and greetings. He appeared in good spirits, and was gracious enough for a few photos. The above photo was taken by The Final Call's very own Jesse Muhammad.)

Any questions or comments, let me know.


The State of the Black World II Conference in New Orleans, LA Nov. 19-23

Sponsored by the Institute of the Black World and themed "Return to the Source: Restoring Family, Rebuilding Community, Renewing the Struggle" the State of the Black World II Conference will be held in New Orleans, LA Nov.19-23.

Speakers confirmed by SOBW II organizers include Bev Smith, syndicated talk show host on the American Urban Radio Networks; Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College; Marc Morial, president/CEO of the National Urban League; Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, president of the National Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; Rep. John Conyers, Jr., dean of the Congressional Black Caucus and chair of the House Judiciary Committee; Dr. Elsie Scott, president/CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Dr. Maulana Karenga, creator of Kwanzaa and professor of Africana Studies and chairman of Black Studies at California State University at Long Beach; Dr. Ronald Walters, professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland; Charles Ogletree, Harvard Law professor; and Danny Glover, actor and humanitarian.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is slated to deliver the keynote address closing out the conference on Sunday, Nov.23 at The Morial Convention Center: 900 Convention Blvd. New Orleans, LA.

For information on workshop schedules and accomodations visit http://www.ibw21.org/


Obama resigns from Senate, meets w/ vanquished Republican rival McCain on Mon. Nov.17

President-elect Barack H. Obama at a press conference on the campaign trail.
Photo: Leila Khaled

Below is a statement from President-elect Barack Obama announcing his resignation from Senate:

"It has been one of the highest honors and privileges of my life to have served the people of Illinois in the United States Senate. In a state that represents the crossroads of a nation, I have met so many men and women who've taken different journeys, but hold common hopes for their children's future.
It is these Illinois families and their stories that will stay with me as I leave the United States Senate and begin the hard task of fulfilling the simple hopes and common dreams of all Americans as our nation's next President," said President-elect Barack Obama.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will appoint Obama’s replacement. Names circulating and said to be under consideration are Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Tammy Duckworth, head of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and Emil Jones, retiring president of the Illinois state Senate and Barack Obama’s mentor.

Obama's Senate Office remains open for a period of time, not to exceed 60 days after his resignation. According to his presidential transition office, many loose administrative ends and some archiving will take place during that time.


Details of Riz Khan's interview with Farrakhan on Al-Jazeera today, Nov. 13

Today, Nov. 13, Riz Khan speaks to one of the most influential voices in black America, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Watch the show live at 2030 GMT, with repeats at 0030 GMT and 0530 GMT.
Live @ 3:30pm Eastern 2:30pm Central 1:00pm Mountain 12:30 Pacific

Re-runs 4 hour later and 9 hours later

You can watch Al-Jazeera live over the Internet by using the LiveStation Internet TV Player.

The player is available for download @ http://www.finalcall.com/absolutenl/t.aspx?n=200&l=298

Install the LiveStation player and you will be set.


Farrakhan congratulates President-elect Barack Obama

CHICAGO—After nine months of silence regarding the historic presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan spoke the words that many have been waiting to hear him say.

“Congratulations are absolutely in order for President-elect Barack Obama,” said Min. Farrakhan as the crowd erupted in cheers and applause during his opening remarks on Nov.9 at Mosque Maryam, the international headquarters of the Nation of Islam.

Addressing a national and international media contingent and thousands viewing live via webcast, Min. Farrakhan answered many questions and ended a great deal of speculation surrounding his views on President-elect Barack Obama’s political ascendancy and the future of America.

“What happened (on Nov. 4) has energized the entire world of man and mankind in a way that has never been seen before in the history of political elections in the United States of America or anywhere else in those nations that are committed to the principles of democracy.”

Min. Farrakhan forbade all of his ministers from commenting on the presidential election after several statements during his February 2008 Saviours’ Day keynote address titled “The Gods at War” were deliberately taken out of context by some media outlets and other right wing political operatives in an attempt to cause mischief in hopes of sabotaging Mr. Obama’s presidential aspirations.

Dressed in dazzling bejeweled crimson and gold robes, Min. Farrakhan said he felt and saw the “oneness of spirit” that he has neither seen nor felt since the Million Man March in 1995 while watching the 250,000 people at Grant Park in Chicago celebrating this momentous occasion in the history of America on Election Day.
For a limited time, the free webcast can be viewed here http://www.noi.org/webcast/ and full coverage will be available in this week's editon of The Final Call.
(Photo - Kenneth Muhammad, The Final Call)


Farrakhan Speaks on Nov. 9th 2008. Subject: "America's New Beginning; President-Elect Barack Obama"

"America's New Beginning; President-Elect Barack Obama"

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan will deliver a major international address live from the national headquarters of the Nation of Islam, Mosque Maryam in Chicago, IL., on November 9th at 10AM Central Time.
The title of his address is: "America's New Beginning; President-Elect Barack Obama."
Minister Farrakhan's address will be his first public comments since the historic election of President-Elect Barack Obama and will be carried live via webcast at: http://noi.org/webcast/.


The American Electorate Again Rejects the Presidential Candidate with More Military Credentials

I think it is important to note that the American electorate continues to vote against the presidential candidate with the most military service and record of accomplishments.

In 1996, Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole (U.S. Army 1942-1948 receiving Two Bronze Stars, and Two Purple Hearts) lost to Democrat Bill Clinton.

In 2000, Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore (U.S. Army 1969-1971 during the Vietnam War) was defeated by Republican George W. Bush.

In 2004, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (U.S. Navy 1968-1972 during the Vietnam War receiving a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and Three Purple Hearts) was defeated by Republican George W. Bush.

In 2008, Republican presidential candidate John McCain (U.S. Navy - Aviation Division 1958-1981) was defeated by Democrat Barack H. Obama.

Reflections on Mr. Barack H. Obama's Historic and Successful 2008 Presidential Campaign

Congratulations to Mr. Barack H. Obama
The 44th President of the United States of America*

(Photo: Ashahed M. Muhammad)

*As a point of clarity, when he takes the Oath of Office on Jan. 20, 2009, Mr. Obama will become the 44th President of the United States of America. Technically, GWB (Guns, War and Bloodshed a.k.a George W. Bush) remains President of the United States until that date.

One of my personal historic moments from the Obama campaign.

Here are some photos I took of President-elect Barack H. Obama on July 15, 2007. He spoke at the Vernon Park Church of God on the South Side of Chicago and afterwards, held a press conference.

At the time, he was trailing Sen. Hillary Clinton in the polls. For the most part, many (including the mainstream media) had bought into the "inevitability" narrative advanced by the Clinton campaign.

The reality of the matter was that his campaign had just begun to pick up steam. In fact, the Obama campaign had just announced a couple of weeks earlier on July 1 that his campaign raised $33 million during the second quarter of 2007, compared to $27 million for Clinton.

Sen. Obama was circumspect and pragmatic in his approach to many of the politically nuanced issues emerging as the main topics of the presidential election for both Democrats and Republicans. As the members of the press asked him questions, he was composed and clearly articulated his views.

(Photo: Ashahed M. Muhammad)

Concerning the War on Iraq he said:

"There are no good options in Iraq at this point. There are bad options and worse options. I think the worst option would be to perpetuate our current military occupation there having our troops on the ground. They have become a magnet for terrorist activity, they are fanning the flames of anti-American sentiment and they are taking pressure off the Iraqi factions to come together and arrive at a peaceful accord."

Now, with an overwhelming landslide victory in the Electoral College, a healthy majority of the popular vote, a Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, he should have the opportunity to make his vision a reality.

Here is a link to the article I filed after Obama's July 15th speech and press conference: http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/article_3789.shtml


White Suburban, boy's body found in Chicago, possibly Jennifer Hudson's nephew

CHICAGO—Police have found the White 1994 Chevy Suburban sought in connection with the deaths of the mother and brother of award winning singer and actress Jennifer Hudson.

Sadly, officials from the Chicago Police Department and Cook County Medical Examiner's office have confirmed that a young boy's body was found in the back seat of the Suburban.

It may be the body of 7-year old Julian King who was discovered missing shortly after the bodies of Hudson's mother and brother were found at the family's home in Chicago. The family is reportedly on the way right now to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office to positively identify the body.

A vigil is planned for today at the Pleasant Gift Baptist Church in the 4500 block of South Greenwood Avenue.

Details in this tragic case are forthcoming.


Farrakhan's Oct.19 Message titled "A New Beginning" now available on demand

The full version on-demand webcast of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan's Sunday, October 19th 2008 Holy Day of Atonement message titled "A New Beginning" is now available at www.FinalCall.com.

Use the following link to access the on-demand webcast:


Farrakhan takes message of Atonement to inmates at Cook County Jail

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan speaks to inmates at Cook County Jail on Oct. 16, 2008 to commemorate the 13th anniversary of The Million Man March in Washington, D.C (Photo: Kenneth Muhammad)

CHICAGO—The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan spoke to hundreds of inmates at Cook County Jail on Oct. 16 to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the largest public demonstration in U.S. history, the Million Man March in Washington, D.C.

Though confined to correctional facilities, the prisoners remained dignified under the ever present watchful eyes of the prison guards who also listened closely to the words delivered by Min. Farrakhan.

During his message to the men lasting about one hour, Min. Farrakhan recalled the peaceful atmosphere and the displays of unity and brotherhood on Oct. 16, 1995 and said that what we experienced for those 14 hours could be experienced forever if we collectively decided to implement the eight steps of atonement.

“All of you who are listening to my voice are better than what you have shown yourselves to be,” Min. Farrakhan said to the Black and Latino prisoners who gathered to hear his words. “The enemy wants us to think we are enemies of one another when we are in fact natural brothers of each other,” he added.

Min. Farrakhan pointed out to the inmates that their lack of unity has resulted in warfare and killing between Blacks and Latinos who are part of street organizations. He said the lack of opportunities and training along with improper choices have also contributed to increased levels of incarceration.


Minister Farrakhan has invited an array of religious, political, social, business leaders and international guests from Africa, the Middle East and beyond to attend the Oct. 19 re-dedication of the movement’s flagship Mosque Maryam in Chicago. The dedication follows a major renovation of the historic south side house of worship and will include a message that reflects a deeper exegesis of the teachings of the 78-year-old Islamic movement. Minister Farrakhan's October 19th message titled "A New Beginning" will be available live via webcast at http://www.finalcall.com/Oct19Webcast.


Another "Jasper-style" dragging death in Texas?

Investigative journalist Jesse Muhammad who covers the Southwest Region for The Final Call Newspaper is investigating reports of another "Jasper-style" dragging death of a Black man.

This time in Paris, Texas.

Read about it at his blog located here:



Take Another Look: America's Financial Crisis

I'm no economist, but in late March of this year, I wrote an article titled "America's Economic Downturn: Is the worst yet to come?" The article appeared in The Final Call and was also picked up in many Black newspapers across the country. As I read over it again after not having looked at it for a few months, I noticed that many of the companies in the news now were already identified as being in trouble back then! The point was made then as it is being made now that America’s involvement in global military conflict is primarily to blame along with America’s uncontrollable greed.

That being the case, it is important to note that many analysts still continued to sell the false reality of America’s corporate strength while President Bush and the corporate swindlers continued to play along with the financial analysts.

Well connected CEOs walked away with millions.

This current financial crisis did not appear out of the blue, even though that is what they would like for you to think.

(To read the March 2008 article referenced above, go here:

Carefully watch the news and how this crisis is reported over the next few weeks as we draw nearer to the presidential election. The Right wing conservatives will try to spin this current reality by saying the risky loans were made in order to help Blacks and Latinos obtain home ownership. You see, everyone has it all wrong by attributing ill motives and greed to those who ran those companies and lending institutions into the ground. These companies weren’t targeting Blacks and Latinos for sub prime loans and other forms of predatory lending. They weren’t doing it because it was financially lucrative. No. No. No. You see they were trying to help Blacks and Latinos obtain “The American Dream.”

See how skillfully deceptive that is? And as they begin to frame the debate, it just may prove to be an effective strategy in a land where most people believe what is presented on face value without looking deeper into the reality.

After thinking about that for a minute, check out the brief video clip below (37 seconds) from a press conference including Rev. Jesse Jackson, Ald. Pat Dowell, Rep. Danny Davis and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Ask yourself, while the huge financial corporations are being bailed out, what is happening to "the least of these" the poor and those who were victimized by the rulers of the economic realm? Things are going to get worse before they get better.


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses the 63rd General Assembly of the United Nations

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad just completed his remarks to the 63rd General Assembly of the United Nations in New York.  The chairs usually occupied by the UN delegation representing the United States of America were noticeably empty, and the seats reserved for the Israeli delegation were empty except for what appeared to be a low-level staffer taking notes during the speech.

During  Pres. Ahmadinejad's 30-minute speech,  he touched on the situation in Iraq, African colonialism, the desire for Western hegemonic power, and Zionism's effect on the world.

Earlier, Pres. Bush delivered his 8th and final message to the UN.  Though most of the representatives appeared bored during his rambling speech, they still gave Pres. Bush a polite applause once he ended his remarks.

I'll bet you didn't know that Pres. Ahmadinejad is a blogger. This is not an endorsement, but it is very interesting to read some of the comments from across the globe.  If you are interested go to http://www.ahmadinejad.ir/

(In the photo to the top right, Pres. Ahmadinejad addresses a high-level meeting on the development needs of Africa titled "State of Implementation of Various Commitments, Challenges and the Way Forward" at the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. *UN Photo/Rick Bajornas )


Take Another Look at Human Rights: An Interview w/ Mazin Qumsiyeh

The Right to Return: An interview with Mazin Qumsiyeh

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD is an author, professor and human rights activist. He was recently in Chicago as a member of coordinating committee of the Palestine Popular Conference. He sat down with the Final Call’s Assistant Editor Ashahed M. Muhammad to discuss the complexities of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and the very successful Wheels of Justice Tour which sheds light on the realities on the ground in the occupied territories and passes through the midwest during the last two weeks in September.

The Final Call (FC): Can you tell us a little bit about the Wheels of Justice Tour?

Mazin Qumsiyeh (MQ):
The Wheels of Justice bus tour has been going on for about 5 years. It has traveled around the country to over 48 states and over 2,000 colleges and universities and over 250. It’s not too political unless questions arise in the Q and A session. These are people who are telling stories of what they observe in Iraq and Palestine. That is why I think it has been a very successful project.

FC: At the same time, there is a companion movement going on dealing with the boycott of Israeli produced goods and companies that do business in Israel, can you talk about that also?

Well, the Palestinian Civil Society called to action about three years ago and was initially signed by 107 organizations. It has since expanded to include over 5,000 organizations that support the call to action. It basically calls for boycotts, divestments and sanctions to be applied to Israel in the same way they were applied to South Africa during apartheid until Israel complies with International Law. That includes the right of refugees to return, ending the occupation and allowing Palestinian self-determination. Those Palestinian constants are what guides the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement around the world, which is growing very rapidly. It is a wonderful movement. We try to practice it as individuals by boycotting companies that support the occupation, for example, Motorola or Caterpillar that support the occupation and oppression of Palestinians.

FC: Now this conference focuses on the many sides of the discussion of the two state solution, the one state solution and the complexities and varied views. Talk to us a little bit about the purpose for the conference.

MQ: This particular conference is to empower Palestinians in the U.S., to assert our narrative and assert our rights with part of the Palestinian collective. There are some 300,000 Palestinians in the U.S. We believe that we are part of and parcel of this Palestinian nation, the Palestinian population. As such we have a right to participate in the decision making process. That is the focus of this conference and that includes the diversity of views. It’s just like there are diversity of views in Palestine itself. But we assert that we have the right to express this diversity of views. One panel addresses the one state solution. I myself wrote a book in support of the one state solution but I do not oppose people who support the two state solution as long as it complies with International Law and human rights. Meaning, the right to refugee should be respected (whether) you support the two state solution or you support the one state solution, Palestinians refugees have the right to return to their homes and lands.

FC: You mentioned that you were going back to live in Palestine, many are calling it a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza strip and the West Bank—terrible conditions. Your decision to go back there is based on what?

MQ: The conditions are very difficult, I would not say they are terrible. They are very difficult (but) they are not the most difficult. We have had more difficult times during 1948 and the massacre and killings in Palestine and the massacres that were being committed just about every week to drive the Palestinians out. There have been more difficult times in our history, but nevertheless this situation being difficult is actually more of an inducement for us to exert even more effort to correct it and acquire the justice and human rights that we all see.

FC: Is there is one thing that you think the Western world here, people who want to help who find solidarity with the struggle for self-determination for the Palestinian people, what would you like to get across to them that they may not know?

MQ: For people in the United States, especially, they need to know that without really facing up to the reality of what is going on in Palestine, the U.S. as an economic super power will be finished. It is already being diminished significantly. The AIPAC and Israel lobby in Washington has pushed us into a war in Iraq which cost us three trillion dollars. This is by the estimate of the Harvard economist who won the Nobel Peace economy prize.
Now they are talking about Iran—which will be even more costly. Our economy here has already gone down the drain from the housing crisis, with the dollar decline and all these things. That is what is relevant for people in this country to understand. The reality of how these things connect to them and not just because Palestinians are suffering—I do not want them to just feel sorry for us because there are a lot of people suffering around world.
I want the American public to see that unless they really face-up to the hijacking of the United States foreign policy by AIPAC and the Right wing extremists who are bent on the destruction of the world to create personal wealth for themselves—that the average American taxpayer is going to be basically fleeced.

FC: Thank you.

(For information about Mazin Qumsiyeh visit www.qumsiyeh.org. For more information about the Wheels of Justice Tour, visit www.justicewheels.org.)


Minister Farrakhan will discuss Islam in America and the life of Imam W.Deen Mohammed on the "Africa & the World" radio show hosted by Akbar Muhammad

Min. Farrakhan delivers comforting words to Imam W. Deen Mohammed's daughter NGina Mohammed at the memorial service on Saturday, Sept. 13 in Chicago, IL.

Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid, deputy director of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) and Min. Farrakhan  were among those who reflected on Imam W. Deen Mohammed's life and work  at the memorial service on Saturday Sept.13 in Chicago, IL.

The Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan will discuss this history of Islam in America, his relationship with the late Imam W. Deen Muhammad on the "Africa and the World" radio show hosted by syndicated columnist and foreign affairs analyst Akbar Muhammad.  The show begins at 6:30PM EST on AM 900 WURD in Philadelphia.  

Outside of the Philadelphia area, you can listen via the internet www.900amwurd.com.


Events in memory of the late Imam W. Deen Mohammed

The location for the Saturday, September 13th 11AM public community memorial service in honor of the late Imam W. Deen Mohammed has been moved. It will take place at the UIC Pavillion Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt, in Chicago, IL.

At this time, the Friday, September 12th 1PM Unity Jumah Prayer is still scheduled for the same location, The Homewood Hotel, 17400 S. Halsted, Homewood, IL.

Live Streaming Footage of today's Janaaza Prayer for Imam W. Deen Mohammed will begin at 1:45 PM Central at http://muslimjournal.webexone.com/

2008 Now Or Never​ - 9/11 Hip Hop First Responders Benefit Concert in NYC

I have been asked to pass on this information regarding an important Hip Hop benefit concert in NYC on 9/12/08.

2008 Now Or Never​ - 9/11 Hip Hop First Responders Benefit Concert in NYC

***This Concert is on September 12, 2008***

Located at The Madison, 27 W 24th Street (between Broadway and 6th)

1PM-​5:​30PM - Speec​hes from Forme​r Congr​esswo​man and Green​ Party​ Presi​denti​al Candi​date Cynth​ia McKin​ney,​ Hip-​hop legen​d and found​er of the Stop the Viole​nce Movem​ent KRS-​ONE,​ archi​tect and found​er of Archi​tects​ and Engin​eers for 911 Truth​ Richa​rd Gage,​ 9/11 1st respo​nders​,​ 9/11 famil​y membe​rs ,​actor​ and advoc​ate for a new, indep​enden​t 9/11 inves​tigat​ion Danie​l Sunja​ta,​ Loude​r Than Words​,​ We Are CHANG​E,​ and more.​

6PM-​11PM - 9/11 First​ Respo​nder Benef​it Show
Immor​tal Techn​ique,​ Talib​ Kweli​,​ Dead Prez,​ Saigo​n,​ Da Beatm​inerz​,​ Chip Fu, Dub Rock All Stars​ (Da Bush Babee​s)​,​ Loer Veloc​ity,​ Chann​el Live,​ Messi​ah,​ Tiye Phoen​ix,​ and Scanz​ come toget​her to help sprea​d the word that thous​ands of 9/11 first​ respo​nders​ are sick and dying​ and need our help.​


Family of Imam W. Deen Mohammed to Hold 2PM Press Conference

Today, Wednesday, September 10th at 2 p.m, the family of Imam W. Deen Mohammed, son of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad leader of the Nation of Islam, will hold a press conference on the passing of the Muslim leader at the Muslim Journal offices located at 1141 W. 175th St., in Homewood, IL.
For more information, contact family spokesman Sultan R. Muhammad, at (773) 540-6001 or email sultan@mpdstudios.com.


Minister Farrakhan, NOI releases statement on the passing of Imam W.Deen Mohammed


Official Statement from The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and The Nation of Islam on the passing of Imam W. Deen Mohammed


September 9, 2008
Contact: Minister Ishmael Muhammad
(773) 324-6000

CHICAGO—We mourn the loss of our brother Imam W. Deen Mohammed. We thank Allah for him and his great contribution to the ongoing work of Prophet Muhammad ibn Abdullah (P.B.U.H) and his work of helping to create a better understanding and image of Islam in America and throughout the world.

Our prayers and our thoughts are with the Mohammed family, with the followers and all those who feel our great loss.


PressTV - International News and Views

PRESS TV is the first international Iran-based news network to broadcast in English on an around-the-clock schedule. This is the latest of several news outlets seeking to provide balanced views of global realities. The recently-launched English channel for Al Jazeera and Venezuela-backed TELESUR have both been well received and are growing in popularity and availability.

According to PRESS TV officials, their Tehran-based headquarters is staffed by 400 media professionals from around the globe with an extensive network of bureaus and with 26 reporters employed at different locations worldwide, including Washington, New York, London, Beirut and Damascus, Abuja, Istanbul, Basra, and al-Quds.

The goal of PRESS TV is to “break the global media stranglehold of western outlets” and “show the other side of the story” by offering broad news coverage dealing with matters affecting the Middle East as well as other controversial news items with cutting-edge documentaries containing insightful commentary on political, social and economic aspects of current affairs.

PRESS TV has already proven to be a heavy counterweight to Western-dominated media outlets as the station has aired exclusive interviews with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; featured coverage relating to the African Union Summit in Accra, Ghana, which included comments from Sudan President Omar al-Bashir; as well as broadcast words from Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who offered to expand his country’s ties with African countries.

There are options for watching the channel live via the Internet, having news sent to a mobile device via text messaging, listening to an audio feed, and news delivery via email.

Visit the PRESS TV website at http://www.presstv.com/.


Mosaic TV - Broaden your news horizons

Mosaic TV - Broaden your news horizons

Mosaic features selections from daily TV news programs produced by national broadcasters throughout the Middle East. The news reports are presented unedited and translated, when necessary, into English.
Mosaic includes television news broadcasts from selected national and regional entities listed on the left. Some of the broadcasters are state controlled and others are private networks, often affiliated with political factions. These news reports are regularly watched by 280 million people in 22 countries all over the Middle East.

*Today, you can see coverage of Amy Goodman of Democracy Now and her arrest at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, St.Paul MN.