Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Malcolm X

I just finished the autobiography of Malcolm X. It is a book I strongly recomend to everyone, and since as a muslim I found special sweetness in it. I strongly recomend it for Muslims specifically for Muslims.

At this stage. I had developed an interest in the story and development of Malcolm X throughout the different stages of his life. From his humble poor beginings as part of a disintegrating family, then to a small town hick new to the big city of Harlem who then is completely absorbed into the fasad (corrupt) lifestyle of drugs, crime and women. Then again his almost miracolous metamorphasis into an outspoken principles number 2 in the national of Islam, and finally to a strong confident sunni muslim who- while still very assertive and powerful in his words and actions- embraced an inclusive ideology of all africans and all good human beings.

Prior to reading this autobiography. I had read his elder sister Ella Mae Little's biography of Malcolm titled "seventh child". While it did not give as many insights as the actual autobiography. I still found it vital to getting insight into Malcolm from a third person prespective. I also read Spike Lee's book about making the X movie which is also a book I highly recomend reading.

What emerged for me here is a person who was the epitomy of corruption and vice. Someone who, according to my very good friend Tarek (he mentioned it many many times), "was a hustler in Harlem". The king of the darkness of one of the most dangerous places in the US at the time. To a person who came to live his life so strictly to his principles that he was resigned to death BECAUSE of this, and in his dying the verse Allah swt mentions is based on this man.

من المؤمنين رجال صدقوا ما عاهدوا الله عليه فمنهم من قضى نحبه ومنهم من ينتظر وما بدلوا تبديلا

Which translates (very roughly to) "Of the believers, there are men who were truthful to Allah in the covenant they undertook. So some of them died while on this covenant, and some of them are waiting, and they are not going to change [their covenant]).

Some may attack me for making this comparison, but whenever I read about Malcolm X I remember the life of Omar bin Alkhattab RA. Another man who lived a life of vice and violence, a man who was known for his brutality and alcoholism. After becoming Muslim this man became one of the greatest leaders in history. Omar was also assassinated.


On another note. I thought the interaction between Malcolm X and the media of the 1960s was very intersting. Given the nature of the media now and the extent of its power and corruption at the same time.
During Malcolm X's time, he was demonized by the media, and from what I gathered from the books I mentioned. Although he was generally adored outside of the US. He was generally hated by the majority of whites and a large sector of the african american community in the US. I was not clear when public opinion swayed to his side. Was it after his return from mecca a sunni muslim ? or was it after his death ? Famous people are generally more appreciated after their death.
Interesting point.

Another point, can there be a person in Australia who can lead and unite Muslims into one political social entity that establishes services and holds voting power ? Things are different here of course than in the US 1960s. We have it much better.

Think about it though. Muslims in Australia are hopelessly lost and disunited. Politicians and media outlets slap us left, right and center and we can't do anything about it. Yet with all our 400 000 all over Australia we can't even celebrate Eid on the time day. Can there be a leader to unite us ?

Maybe... we're not meant to be united. Maybe our unity is in our diversity. huh ? huh ? didn't I just blow your mind ? I know right !

Also, the nation of Islam had two million followers out of a possible 23Million Afro Americans. So there wasn't a complete unity there as well.

I am however seeing in the younger generation iniatives to unite and to act as one. Some of those intiatives taking inspiration from (who else) Islamic Organisations in the US. A few weeks ago I intervewed a young lady laywer that was part of a sydney chapter of a muslim legal network. Today I met with a brother who was part of a muslim health collective in NSW. These new types of collectives are a fresh change from the outdated groups where a person or a mosque is the center. Instead they form around a need in the community, and they join hands regardless of school of thought.

I've digressed a couple of times so far. I think I'm going to call it a night.

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