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50 years since Malcolm’s passing

By: 
Parry Singh Mudhar

February 20, 2015

This February 21 marks the 50th year since Malcolm X's passing. Although there are many who choose to ignore his place in history and recall his influence only in the most vile regards, we need only to look to the communities in which his words and actions of self determination and cultural pride helped uplift.
 
With national school, streets, and libraries named in his honor, when one looks outside our window into the international setting into Latin America, Asia, and Africa where communities gathered to hear his words, it is impossible not to hear his voice in the struggles these countries face today.
 
Anti-racist
One of the most sincere aspects of Malcolm's life was the ability to reinvent his frame of mind and evolve his way of thinking while admitting the flaws is his past views. Who would have thought that the incarcerated drug dealer and thief would become a major leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI), condemning America and Europe for its sub human treatment of the African Diaspora while preaching the Nation's views of Black supremacy, trying to uplift the lives of those who were told that their lives were worth less than the dirt underfoot.
 
As he said “Being here in America doesn't make you an American.... No I'm not an American, I'm one of the 22 million black people who are the victims of Americanism. One of the 22 million black people who are the victims of democracy, nothing but disguised hypocrisy.... I'm speaking as a victim of this American system. And I see America through the eyes of a victim. I don't see any American dream; I see an American nightmare."
 
As the US escalated its war on Vietnam, Malcolm exposed the hypocrisy of sending Blacks to kill or be killed abroad while condemning their right to defend themselves at home: “If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it is wrong to be violent defending black women and black children and black babies and black men, then it is wrong for America to draft us, and make us violent abroad in defense of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country."
 
He was also scathing of minor reforms that passed themselves off as significant progress, saying “You don't stick a knife in a man's back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you're making progress.”
 
Revolutionary
Who would have thought that this outspoken NOI leader who yearned for complete segregation of Black and White America would then travel the world, see the unity of race during his pilgrimage to Mecca and return with a revolutionary perspective to say, "It is incorrect to classify the revolt of the Negro as simply a radical conflict of black against white or as a purely American problem. Rather, we are today seeing a global rebellion of the oppressed against the oppressor, the exploited against the exploiter.” As he said, “I for one, will join in with anyone—I don’t care what color you are—as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth."
 
It is a hard fact that the United States Government and the Nation of Islam kept a close watch on Malcolm, and as death threats turned to mysterious house fires Malcolm persevered with his message of unity of the masses and strength to overthrow those who have oppressed and were unwilling to change their actions against their fellow Americans.
 
Although it seems as though the civil rights leaders of the Americas were larger than life figures, they were activists who needed the support of the people and who were a part of the people that they represented. They were the true leaders, who brought about change "by any means necessary."

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