Volume 8, Number 13 September 4, 2005
"March towards relief"
by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Muímin Muhammad
On May 3rd of 2004 the Honorable Louis Farrakhan warned President Bush that he needed to pull the troops out of Iraq or the US would be hit with destructive weather. The hurricane season of 2004 was unusually active and destructive for the US as documented in the "K.R.I.S.T. Newsletter" article of November 8, 2004 entitled "The Hand of God: Hurricanes and Mighty Snow" at www.MuhammadFarms.com. If we could read a message in the track of those 2004 storms, what message can we learn from Hurricane Katrina?
According to the news commentators Katrina could be the most destructive, expensive and deadliest storm ever to hit America. Katrina hit densely populated areas where the majority of the people who were left behind were Black. Yet the story about Katrina really began after she had passed over. The real story is how the people and in particular the US government responded to the calls for help from her citizens.
I, like many others sat and watched this tragedy unfold as the mayor of New Orleans begged for help from the federal government. The news commentators and other government officials first began by blaming those who did not leave for their own suffering. The hurricane hit New Orleans on Monday but the National Guard troops bringing food and water did not arrive until Thursday afternoon. By that time people were dying from the heat, lack of medical care for the old and infirmed, sanitation conditions were unhealthy and the peopleís faith in their government had been broken.
The ironic part of this tragedy is that it was both predictable and how to handle such a situation had been rehearsed at least twice by federal disaster agencies right in New Orleans. So that bad response is either because the government was surprised and could not respond or the government responded according to plan. If the government responded according to plan, then what was that plan?
CNN interviewed a former city planner for New Orleans and she said that the flooding and destruction of New Orleans could have a silver lining. She said that many of the houses in New Orleans that were in the flood prone areas were paid for, yet uninsured. There were plans out there to remove old houses, bring in more dirt to raise portions of New Orleans, then rebuild on higher ground. This could not be done before because they could not get those people living there to leave. Now of course many of those homes will be condemned and demolished by the city, so that they can get on with their "urban removal" and gentrification plans for the over 70% Black city.
The US Supreme Court has made a ruling which allows city governments to seize property under eminent domain, then resale it to private investors for economic development projects. In other words private property is no longer private, just leased like in some communist countries. Now this new ruling can be put into full effect and utilized in one of Americaís largest cities.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has warned our Black elected officials, especially our mayors, that they have been put over "declining affairs." By the time a Black man or woman gets into the mayorís seat there is no more money in the coffers and the infrastructure and economic base of that community has already deteriorated to an almost unrecoverable point. This is what Mayor Ray Nagin has faced since he has been in office and made most pungent in this crisis. Over and again we heard him cry out for help. We heard conflicting stories about when the repair began of those two levees that caused the flood of his city.
Mayor Nagin told many of the stranded citizens on Tuesday to go to the Convention Center to receive help. Yet FEMA claimed that they did not know any one was down there until Wednesday. No food or water reached those people until the mayor blew up and told the people to "march towards relief" to the unflooded west bank. The mayor became the mouth for Katrina and gave the Black people of New Orleans and America their marching orders, "march towards relief." Donít wait on the US government to help you. Help yourself or as we say, "do for self or die a slave."
From our vantage point at Muhammad Farms, we know that the Nation of Islam in Georgia had taken in some 40 families and the Baton Rouge, LA mosque is caring for more than 100 refugees. To offer help, you can contact the Southern Region office of the Nation of Islam at 404-344-9399.
Mayor Nagin could be the grand martial for the 10th Anniversary of the Million Man March to be held in Washington, DC on October 15th of this year as he leads those stranded poor people from the beginning of their march out of New Orleans and the poverty stricken cities of America towards relief.
A hurricane disaster has morphed into a racial wake up call where the difference in how Americans are portrayed in the media and how the government responds in a crisis can not be denied. Kanye West spoke of this difference when he pointed out that when whites are shown carrying supplies they are finding supplies while Blacks are "looting".
Thank God that Mayor Nagin ordered the mandatory evacuation of New Orleans before the hurricane struck, while President Bush was on vacation. However, so far Mayor Nagin is not being portrayed as a national hero, instead the news commentators labeled Mayor Nagin as "out of control" when he used profanity to cry out for help and get things moving. President Bush when he finally arrived did not proclaim Mayor Nagin a national hero as he did with Mayor Gulianni.
Now it will be interesting to see if the Bush administration allows two of its sworn enemies, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, to help the flood victims or will the government stop them the way she stopped Momar Quadaffy when he offered to financially help Black America. It now seems that it takes an act of God to bring out what is real in the hearts and minds of the people, so that people can make decisions and plan for their future based on truth instead of speeches.
Katrina answers the question of whether Black people need a "movement". We need a movement towards a plan for the total freedom and liberation of our people as Minister Farrakhan has proposed in the form of the Millions More Movement. Go to www.MillionsMoreMovement and register. "March towards relief."