Putting rights issues through the looking glass. Not seeking answers, just some food for thought to see whether things could be any different!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The "X' Factor in Malcolm X

If there is one person who matches up to the charisma and stature of the great civil rights activist and humanist, Martin Luther King and created a similar kind of impact in the civil rights movement in America, it is Malcolm X. But the similarities in objective and differences in approach that the two men represented is striking.
While King was an avid supporter of non violence, Malcolm X believed and preached "by any means necessary". Malcolm was a brilliant student and aspired to become a lawyer but his teacher told him that it was not a realistic goal for a nigger. He lost interest in education; became a petty thief and then indulged in bigger crimes like drug peddling etc. He was arrested and sentenced to imprisonment for 10 years. It was in prison that his life turned around. He started reading and followed the path of self enlightenment. It was at this time that he converted to Islam. He also changed his name from Malcolm Little (his slave name) to Malcolm X (His tribal name).
He became a preacher with the Nation of Islam and he increased its membership from 500 to 30,000 within a decade. It was he who inspired Cassius Clay to become Muhammad Ali. Later, he formed his own organisation, the Muslim Mosque Inc. He spoke out against racism and discriminatory government policy towards African Americans and worked for their empowerment.
He was shot dead by detractors at a public meeting in 1965 when he was just 36 years old but his legacy continues. Forty years after his assassination, the name Malcolm X means strength and courage to many a poor, downtrodden person in America. His is a story of the rise of a man from a life of crime and hatred to that of a respectful leader of men who gave his life for his people.
To know more about Malcolm X, read his autobiogaphy, co-written with Alex Haley. It is a very powerful book and represents some of the real concerns of today. You can also watch the film on Malcolm X by Spike Lee, starring Denzel Washington. (The similarity between them is scary..one would think they are twins!)
You can visit the official website of Malcolm X at http://www.cmgww.com/historic/malcolm/index.htm
and another website called http://www.malcolm-x.org
to learn more about the great man....
To sign off with a line from the great man whom I so admire.....
"Power in defence of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppresion, because power, real power come from our conviction which produces action, uncompromising action."