Documents of 1998 in order of presentation:
1) Written Statement to the Commission on Human Rights, April 1998
2) Oral Statement to the Working Group on Minorities, May 1998
3) Oral Statement of Ida Hakim to the Working Group on Minorities
4) Written Statement to the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, August 1998
5) Oral Statement to the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
1) Written Statement to the 54th Session of the Commission on Human Rights
Provisional Agenda item 14, Specific Groups and Individuals (b) Minorities
1. Recognizing that the African National Minority in the U.S.A. has suffered destruction of its ethnic, linguistic, religious and national identity and has been forced to assimilate into the ruling white majority culture: the so-called African Americans make up approximately 12 percent of the U.S. population. They record a 443 year history of slavery, apartheid, and racial discrimination, including 222 years under the authority of the U.S. Government which conferred citizenship upon them without consultation or democratic choice. The U.S. Federal Government officially participated in slavery and in forced cultural assimilation. U.S. State Governments officially participated in slavery, apartheid and racial discrimination. The single attempt to repair the damage of these crimes has been an Affirmative Action program which gave preference not only to African Americans, but to other minorities, women and the disabled. Due to the opposition of white male Americans, and the resulting action of the U.S. Supreme Court, Affirmative Action as a special measure to repair past human rights violations against African Americans, has ceased after 30 years.
2. Knowing that in 1994 a respected African American leader, the Honorable Silis Muhammad, delivered a communication to the U.N. on behalf of African Americans under Communication Procedure 1503: this document offered evidence of human rights crimes, with particular reference to ethnocide and forced assimilation, and it prayed for U.N. assistance, and called for reparations. Regretting that the Working Group on Communications determined that this document failed to show a consistent pattern of gross violations of human rights; and asserting that the enslavement and forced assimilation of African Americans is a part of world history, known to the United Nations, our organization requests that the aforementioned communication, dated March 18, 1994 and entitled Petition for U.N Assistance Under Resolution 1503 on Behalf of African Americans in the US.A., be examined by the Commission on Human Rights, and its prayer taken into consideration. This communication can be consulted at the Secretariat (see E/CN.4/1997/71 item #C.23).
3. Understanding that the most destructive violation of the human rights of African Americans remains ethnocide and forced assimilation into an alien culture: despite the attempts of American media to portray "happy American blacks" and "wealthy black athletes" the culture of the majority of African Americans is a post slavery culture. Many African Americans have long sought a separate identity, and they have long sought to distinguish themselves from the majority population through unique musical and cultural development. Some African Americans have tried to identify with the African continent and have found that their long absence and forced removal has made them unable to re-connect. African Americans are, in essence, a homeless nation without identity, exploited as a servant class. Increasingly they are being forced into criminal or suspect status.
4. Realizing that African Americans have been represented by a government of their own design for 67 years, with citizenry submitting to their own courts of law and protected by their own military: the Honorable Silis Muhammad, C.E.O. of the Lost-Found Nation of Islam is moving toward independence from the U.S. Government. The Lost-Found Nation of Islam seeks reparations and self-determination. The struggle of African Americans has been a long one, representing over 400 years of resistance and uprisings against repression, torture, duplicity, lynching and murder, political intimidation, harassment and disruption and forced assimilation. That this struggle is finally reaching its culminating stages is evidenced by the submission of the aforementioned petition to the United Nations under Communication Procedure 1503, and the movement of the Lost-Found Nation of Islam toward independence.
5. In full consideration of the above, we believe that the African American people suffer from gross, systematic and persistent violation of their human rights, particularly their right to self-determination and right to remedy for past and ongoing gross human rights violations. Our organization is concerned with the protection of the human rights of the African National Minority in the U.S.A. We encourage awareness of the potential for racial conflict and violent suppression of those who are seeking independence and reparations. We urge the Commission on Human Rights to assist African Americans in their efforts to recover from official U .S. policies of enslavement, apartheid and forced assimilation.
2) Oral Statement to the Working Group on Minorities, Fourth Session, May 1998
Agenda Item 3 (b) Examining possible solutions to problems involving minorities
including the promotion of mutual understanding between and among minorities and Governments
Greetings to Professor Eide, Members of the Working Group, Representatives of States, NGO's, Scholars, and Guests:
My name is Silis Muhammad. I am a spiritual son of the late Honorable Elijah Muhammad (peace be upon him). Oh, how much he did for us: the so-called African-American, and perchance too for humanity.
Our question is whether the national minority, the so-called African- Americans, are in possession of their inalienable human rights.
Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the United States of America has ratified, states, "In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language."
Here, the so-called African-Americans are not in possession of their human rights. They were taken away from the culture of their origin. The slave ship took them from their place of beginning, as you scholars well do know. The slave master did not return them to their culture, nor did he bring their culture and teach it to them. Nor has the American government, to date, sought to teach them their culture, or return them to it. They are absent the knowledge of their cultural beginning.
The slave ship took them away from their ancestral religious belief. They were dislodged from the knowledge of their lineage to Allah, God. The slave master taught them of his religion ultimately, and of his lineage to a supreme being whom he refers. to by the name of God. The federal or local governments of America did not teach nor make provisions for the so-called African-American, or slaves, to learn the knowledge of their transmissible religious belief. They are absent the knowledge of their ancestral tradition of religion.
Regarding their original language, there were not any provisions set in motion by the local and federal governments of America for them to cultivate and continue speaking their language. To the contrary, provisions were set in motion to prevent them from speaking their language, originally. They were intentionally separated from one another, with total disregard, during slavery such that they would not be able to speak their language. Ultimately, they lost the knowledge of it.
Thus, to the extent that they were deprived of their culture, their religion and their language, they are not in possession of their human rights. Moreover, to the extent that they, especially during the period of chattel slavery, were constrained by the laws, the culture, the religion and the language of the Anglo-American, they lived, and to this day live, under a tyrannical government. By the acts of forced assimilation the Anglo-American has sought also to subsume the so-called African-American into its Constitution.
The human rights, the desires and the perpetual existence of the national minority are not embodied in the majority Constitution: which, from its origin, is absent any input of the national minority .The laws arising from America's majority Constitution do not embody the living will of the national minority.
Thus, we feel we cannot intelligently argue the issue of (a) violation of our human rights. While we are human, we have not been in possession of (our) human rights for the past 433 years. Our human rights were willfully destroyed, utterly. They were destroyed by the slave masters, under the auspices of the United States central and local governments, during our long sojourn as slaves in America.
The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that recognition of the inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Here, at the beginning of the histories of the so-called African-American, the enslaved Africans brought to America were defined in the same terms as the "cattle" belonging to the Anglo-American rulers. Thus, our rights were those of their "cattle"; ours were not human rights.
It is everywhere known, amongst the scholars, that the clause in the Anglo-American Declaration of Independence which states, "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..." did not and does not apply to slaves and to the formerly enslaved.
Embodied in a people's Constitution is the living spirit of their past woes (afflictions), present
wants, beliefs, hopes and the insatiable perpetual will for the control over their own future.
Scholars know well that the essence of the spirit of America's Constitution can be found in the Declaration of Independence. At the time of the formation of America's Constitution and the insertion of the spirit of that clause, so-called African-Americans were slaves. While they were indeed human beings, they were not accorded the respect of being human.
Thus the clause had reference to the Anglo-American sentiments towards the King of England, apparently. The slaves of the Anglo-American, on the eve of the founding of its Constitution, were not members of the same will.
The will of the formerly enslaved so-called African-American, the afflictions, the present wants, beliefs and the aspirations for future hopes were not and are not, today, embodied in spirit in the Constitution of America. The "living will" of the former slave --the present day so-called African-American, cannot be subsumed in the Constitution of America. It is a human right impracticality .It is unrealistic, and therefore a moral wrong: when and wherever it is imposed.
"Inalienable rights" is a power that the majority of African-Americans do not feel, or do not even know they should feel. Their human rights having been demolished, they do not feel the spirit of being protected by the law which arises out of the Constitution. They can merely hope for protection of the law. Justice and peace are powers which only the few hand picked African- Americans can today enjoy, from time to time; but, they too are reminded quite often, that the Anglo-American's power is the only established recognized political power and authority in the United States.
Therefore, this statement is a request for United Nations assistance in the establishment of a forum (perhaps under the auspices of the Sub-Commission), so that the so-called African- Americans' grievances can be expressed, systematically and officially recorded, evaluated and remedied. The type of forum requested is similar to the one opened for the Aboriginal peoples in Geneva. We wish that the United Nations will establish a forum within the boundaries of the United States, preferably in the state of Georgia, in the city of Atlanta.
Only a limited few so-called African-Americans are knowledgeable of their internationally protected human rights. Among those who are, the members of the Lost-Found Nation of lslam can be counted. They were organized under the leadership of the late Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and taught to reclaim their own --their human rights.
The United States' central and local governments promote such negative propaganda against the late Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Lost-Found Nation of Islam that many so-called African-Americans, who aspire to recapture their human rights, are fearful of association with this group. They fear harassment from the society and the authorities and that they will lose the blessing of "crumbs" given them by the Anglo-American. They are unaware that they have the protection of the General Assembly's proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The United States ordained slavery and forced assimilation upon captive Africans for more than 400 years. America's educational system, its socialization system, coupled today with forced assimilation, have persuaded many so-called African-Americans to believe that they are full and equal citizens of America. The United States Government wishes to persuade you and the world, today, that African-Americans are full and equal members of America's society, enjoying inalienable human rights. Their propaganda is so persuasive and effective that even some so-called African-Americans believe that the self-determination of the Anglo- American is their very own.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, "disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind " America's disregard and contempt for human rights ought to be seen by the U. N. as she has dispossessed us of our culture, religion and language and forced assimilation upon us. Indeed it is barbarous, and it denies us the full enjoyment of freedom.
"Whereas," according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, "it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that his human rights should be protected by the rule of law."
The million man march on Washington D.C., 16 October, 1995, while not falling within the class of a full blown rebellion, does evidence that the so-called African-American is emerging from the period of political domestic democratic-fictionalization. Also, evidence of a growing discontent with America's social, economic and political behavior towards African-Americans can be observed by the million woman march, which took place in Philadelphia, 25 October, 1997. In addition, further evidence of the eve of rebellion of the so-called African-American against the U.S. can be observed by the upcoming million youth march. It is planned to occur 17 September 1998 in Harlem, New York.
African-Americans have looked toward and exhausted all remedies made available by the majority government, albeit, it is viewed as the oppressor. It is necessary and desirable that now African-Americans begin to look towards the United Nations and to the international community for its technical, political and economic assistance, in advance of open arms, and organized resistance to a constituted government. America' s government is, particularly in the eyes of our youth, viewed as a tyrant; and tyranny, practiced by a government or its agents, according to international law, makes that government illegitimate.
It is the belief of many, and it has been widely taught by the late Honorable Elijah Muhammad that "blood will flow in the streets of America as high as a horse's bridle." The Rodney King verdict of 29 April, 1992, ignited bloodshed in not less than ten major cities in America. But the Watts incident may more clearly illustrate the point. Only one Black male was initially killed by police officers, August of 1965 in Los Angeles, yet more than ten additional major cities in America were inflamed into rioting and demonstrations as a result. There was much bloodshed.
The United Press International reported 34 persons killed and 1000 persons injured in Los Angeles alone. As an eye witness, I am representative of the one thousand (1000) persons whose blood was shed. From the butt of a shotgun, swung by one of the hundreds of officers and military soldiers, my scalp was lacerated, my face dripped with blood. Of the thousand injuries sustained in Los Angeles during the six day period of that bloody inferno, mine was perchance the least. An incomparable holocaust is today, on the horizon. That which we have pointed you to is like unto the fever which precedes the cold, or in this instance a decisive flu.
Knowing this, cannot the U. N. open a forum for this national minority in its host country?
We pray our human rights, politically and amicably can be recaptured, our rights to self determination rectified and the damages which we have sustained be awarded in great measure in order to accomplish the cathartic cleansing mentally, emotionally, and physically of our 400 years of long-suffering.
The fate of America is hers alone. We took no part in its political architecture. We were her victims. We do not have a land which we can call our own, and our human rights are not in our possession. In the absence of our own unique political machinery, they cannot ever be because we do not govern self. America has never reinstated unto us that human right. Our destiny is to this day under the control of the Anglo-American's political machinery.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes "it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations." Here, at the U. N., nations, like people, can develop friendly relations. However, during the developmental process there must exist some measure of mutual respect for one another.
There is no question that the United States of America is well respected. On the other hand, what do African-Americans, as descendants of slaves, have or possess that would command respect from the government of the United States? This government has in the past, and still currently withholds from us possession of our human rights. Thus, having been dispossessed, we will not be a respected people unless a forum is established wherein our human rights are rectified and our injuries remedied, by some force, miracle, moral or legal intervention of the U. N.
We pray that the U.S. Government not be given the tacit approval of the U. N. to subvert the opening of a forum wherein African-American grievances can be expressed, systematically and officially recorded, evaluated and remedied.
Our prayer is for the recapture of the possession of our inalienable human rights. Moreover, we solemnly pray to be heard by the U. N. and its member States, the Supreme collective human political body, and the consummate aggregated Judge of the earth.
Thank you Professor Eide, and members of the Working Group for offering the opportunity of participation. May this intervention warrant your action.
NOTE: Available at the Secretariat: Reparations Petition for United Nations Assistance under Resolution (1503) on behalf of African- Americans in the United States of America, 1994, by Mr. Silis Muhammad.
3) Oral Statement to the Working Group on Minorities, Fourth Session
May 1998, Agenda Item 3 (c)
My name is Ida Hakim. I am the Chief Executive of a non-governmental organization. It is an honor to be here, and I sincerely thank the Working Group on Minorities for allowing participation of N.G.O.s.
Regarding the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities: I humbly draw your attention and the attention of the Working Group to the possibility that the Declaration does not recognize the unique problems of the National Minority that we are concerned with.
Our organization has been working primarily within the United States of America. Our area of concern is human rights violations affecting National Minorities. Of particular concern to us are the violations of the human rights of African-Americans which began with the slave trade some 400 years ago, and which continue as ongoing legacies of slavery in the United States of America. Our organization is capable of collecting evidence, conducting studies, and educating the people of the United States about human rights and the responsibility of restoration and reparations. But since many of us are from the majority population, we do not claim to be authorities on what will have to be done in order to bring about a solution to the ongoing problems.
We have been listening, instead, to the solutions that are coming from within the African-American community. As grassroots observers, we have the privilege of seeing which leaders understand the meaning of self-determination, and which leaders teach about human rights. Among a people so exploited and abused as are the African-Americans, there is need for a leader with rare humility and brotherly love. Consequently, we are very pleased to see that Mr. Sills Muhammad has made himself available to participate in this session of the Working Group. Mr. Muhammad has written and lectured for years on human rights and solutions for the problems which began with the slave trade. He is someone we would describe as a leader arising from the essence of the people.
We were especially grateful when we read the resolutions of the 1997 session of the sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, and saw the Sub- Commission's recognition of the fact that African Diaspora communities in the Americas continue to suffer from the legal, political and economic legacies of the slave trade. We noted that the Sub-Commission called upon the Working Group on Minorities to consider how it might usefully address these legacies. It is our prayer that in this session, the Working Group will find ways that the United Nations can intervene and assist African-Americans.
The importance of United Nations intervention and assistance on behalf of National Minorities has been amply demonstrated in the case of the Indigenous Peoples. We are seeing more and more instances where compensation has been made, land has been returned, and cultural and religious artifacts returned to the people from whom they were stolen. Perhaps because of the support and educational efforts of the United Nations, Indigenous Nations are reviving and passing on their language, validating their true history, and remembering and appreciating their ancestry. For them recovery seems possible. They are fortunate to have land, culture, ethnic identity, religion and language to reclaim and restore into modern times.
For them and other Minorities the Declaration is an honorable document and a necessary one. There appears to be, within the Declaration, a firm resolve to protect the interest of National Minorities, and a presumption that the National Minority will have some self identity to protect, or to return to. But the Declaration does not appear to recognize the unique problems of African- Americans. The African-American is unlike other National Minorities in that he has been a victim of complete and unrelenting destruction of his identity to the point where many victims do not even know how they have been damaged or why they suffer. This is a National Minority population whose heritage has been wiped away, and whose history goes no farther than a time period of being enslaved.
Article I, Section 1 of the Declaration tells us that "States shall protect the existence and the national or ethnic, cultural, religions and linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and shall encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity." The United States Government cannot possible achieve this end for its African-American population because it intentionally destroyed all remnants of the identity of its slaves and slave descendants. The Constitution of the United States, the Courts, the Legislature and the Presidents have all worked together to force the assimilation of captive, Africans into the alien European culture of the United States. From the arrival of the first slave ship until this day the captive Africans have not been self-determining as a Minority and as a Nation of People.
Today's United States Government wishes to persuade you that African-Americans are full and equal members of a mufti-cultural society .Their persuasion is so effective that even some African-Americans believe it is true. For example, whereas other Minorities in the United States feel a strong desire to advance their own cause and identify with the development of their own people, increasing numbers of African-Americans can be observed identifying themselves as "multi-cultural" rather than Black.
I ask you, how can African-Americans be full and equal members of a mufti-cultural society when the only culture they have is a post-slavery culture? They have no inherited land, no accumulated assets from their labor, they have no memory of their language, no knowledge of their relatives and ancestors, they have no knowledge of their religion. Instead they have a legacy of oppression, terrorism, poverty, anger, frustration, discrimination and deceit. The only independent help that has come to them, came through the late Honorable Elijah Muhammad. The inspired blend of religion and nationalism that he taught has sewn the seed of self- love and revitalization. Without his intervention the United States Government might have succeeded in completely assimilating, and thereby destroying the descendants of its slaves.
Once again, it is our prayer that this session of the Working Group on Minorities will mark the beginning of a change in world opinion about African-Americans. It is our prayer that the United Nations will intervene and assist in bringing about a solution for African-Americans before racial violence erupts cross the United States. And, it is our prayer that both the Majority and the Minority populations of the United States will be persuaded to work together to bring about a more just world where human rights are fully respected and truth is uplifted.
We thank the Working Group again for offering the opportunity of participation and we appreciate again the participation of Mr. Silis Muhammad on behalf of African-American people.
4) Written Statement to the Sub-Commission for the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities 50th Session, August 1998, Agenda item 2: Question of the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including policies of racial discrimination and segregation and of apartheid, in all countries, with particular reference to colonial and other dependent countries and territories: report of the Sub-Commission under Commission on Human Rights resolution 8 (XXIII)
Making reference to Sub-Commission Resolution 1997/5 on racism and racial discrimination: We would like to thank the Sub-Commission for its timely recognition of the fact that the four hundred year tragedy of plantation slavery in the Americas continues to be felt, and that African Diaspora communities in the Americas continue to suffer from the legacies of the slave trade. This resolution of the Sub-Commission gave encouragement to the so-called African-Americans in the United States of America. As a consequence, our NGO organization was able to introduce a representative of African-Americans, Mr. Silis Muhammad, to the Working Group on Minorities during their recent session in May of 1998.
Mr. Muhammad delivered a prayer to the Working Group that he had articulated some four years before in a 1503 Communication on behalf of African-Americans. His prayer was that a forum be established so that the so-called African-Americans' grievances can be expressed, systematically and officially recorded, evaluated and remedied. He asked that this forum be similar to the one established for the Aboriginal peoples in Geneva, but different in that it would be established in the U.S.A., the host country of the U.N. and the place in which 42 million descendants of enslaved Africans remain.
Recognizing that the Sub-Commission Resolution refers to plantation slavery not only in the U.S.A., but in the Americas, we ask that the Sub-Commission be conscious of the fact that African-Americans are in a unique position among Africans in the Diaspora. African-Americans did not receive the benefits of a partial or full return to self-determination or self government which began to be enjoyed by Africans throughout the Diaspora as a result of the movement towards de-colonization in the 1960's. To the contrary, in the 1960's assimilation was further forced upon the African-Americans through a civil rights movement which caused the demise of whatever independent economic and cultural recovery they had been able to achieve during the years of segregation.
For those who would argue that the civil rights movement in the U.S.A. was the will of African-Americans, it should be pointed out that an equally powerful movement toward human rights and self-determination took place at the same time. The late Honorable Elijah Muhammad, although not promoted in the media nor sanctioned by the U.S. Government, was able over 40 years to organize large numbers of African-Americans behind the concept of self reliance and self determination. Every effort was made by the U.S. Government to destroy the independent spirit that was generated by this inspired African-American leader.
While speaking to the Working Group on Minorities, Mr. Muhammad pointed out that so-called African-Americans have suffered utter and complete destruction of their culture, language, ethnic identity, and religion. For them the United Nations protection offered to Minorities is meaningless. Because of the particular cruelty of chattel slavery in the United States, so-called African-Americans were able to retain nothing of their past and of their homelands. Hence, the truth arises… that unlike some of the Africans in the Diaspora, who do retain remnants of their original culture and identity, African-Americans possess no remnants, and therefore must build their future from nothing but their own will to survive slavery. Thus the vast majority are in the condition of a lost people whose assimilation has been so complete that they cannot identify what they suffer from.
A special issue of the American magazine Newsweek reported that slavery and racism are comparable to the "chicken and the egg." They concluded that the most malign legacy of slavery is racism. We agree that racism is a legacy of slavery. But we feel that along with many other legacies, it is but a symptom of the far greater problem. The right to self-determination has always been denied African- Americans throughout their 443 year history in the Americas, including 222 years of being subject to the will of the U.S. Government. We ask: If African-Americans had ever been allowed, assisted or encouraged in their efforts toward self determination, would they now be subject to what is perhaps the most virulent racism in the earth?
We believe that if the U.N. will establish a forum for African-Americans in the United States, through that act alone African-Americans will begin to fully understand that the Nations of the earth wish to help them recapture their rights as human beings. We believe that by doing this, an upcoming race war, or racial violence may be averted. We join Mr. Muhammad in his prayer for a forum and we encourage the Sub-Commission to act upon his prayer quickly. As a recent hate crime in Texas should demonstrate (the crime wherein a Black man was abducted by three white men and was dragged behind a pick-up truck until his head was tom from his body), the potential for an eruption of racial violence in the U.S. is greater by the day and by the hour.
We have taken notice of Resolution 1998/26 of the Commission on Human Rights regarding the upcoming World Conference Against Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. We see that the Commission on Human Rights has invited the Sub-Commission to carry out preparatory studies without delay, and to transmit its recommendations to the Commission and to the Preparatory Committee. The Commission on Human Rights also asked for the recommendations of specialized agencies of the U.N., and the full participation of NGO's. We are responding to the call, and are prepared to be involved in the preparatory process for this world conference. As a first step we would suggest that studies be undertaken which would serve to evaluate the damage done to the African-American people.
Two areas that our organization has pinpointed as especially in need of study are:
1) The lingering effects of plantation slavery, terrorism and racial discrimination on the present day physical and psychological health of African-Americans: We want studies specific to African-Americans and related to chattel slavery. There is a great deal of information available on the subject, and some enlightening research has been done, but there exists no comprehensive analysis or conclusion as to damage.
2) The criminalization of the African-American: There is broad based agreement in the African- American legal community that the U.S. legislature and State legislatures have passed racially discriminatory laws which target African-Americans. These laws have resulted in the rapid rise in incarceration rates and rapid growth of a private prison industry .The sad fact is that young Black men are now more valuable to the U.S. economy in prison than out. In prison many of them are put to work manufacturing products for private corporations. The crirninalization of the African- American may soon be recognized as the resurrection of slavery in the United States.
We are confident that any studies undertaken by the Sub-Commission or by specialized agencies of the U.N. will serve to verify the need for a forum for African-Americans.
We cannot express strongly enough the need for action in response to the prayer of Mr. Silis Muhammad. We also cannot express strongly enough the need for the independence of a U.N. forum and the independence of U.N. sponsored studies. We pray that the U.S. Government may not be given the tacit approval of the U.N. to undermine the efforts that Mr. Muhammad is making on behalf of African-Americans.
We continue to stress that when evaluating racism in the United States, African-Americans should be studied within their own category. We assert that the racism directed against African-Americans is not comparable with that directed against other people of color in the U. S. or ethnic or religious minorities in the U.S. There is a question as to whether or not African-Americans even fit within the category of minority. Therefore we stress that African-Americans should be viewed separately for the following reasons: 1) because of the evidence that they do not fit the category of minority. (In his closing statements to the Working Group on Minorities, the Chairman, Professor Eide, did offer words to the effect that thought must be directed toward the problem of African-Americans not fitting the category of minority, and the question of where they do fit.) 2) because of the long time period of their oppression, the brutality of their experience, the damages which have been inflicted, and the fact that they have not received any remuneration nor have they been assisted in attaining any degree of repair (their culture, religion, language and land) as like other Africans who suffer the legacies of plantation slavery; and 3) because of the well documented history of U.S. Government subversive action taken against the grassroots movements of African-Americans, and manipulation of their collective will through the media.
With appreciation for the efforts of the United Nations to see that justice is done in the earth, we again thank the Sub-Commission for the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities for its attention directed toward the legacies of the slave trade.
5) Oral Statement to the Sub-Commission for the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities
August 1998, 50th Session, Agenda Item 2
Greetings Mr. Chairman, Members of the Sub-Commission, Delegates, Staff members, NGOs and guests: My name is Silis Muhammad. I am a spiritual son of the late Honorable Elijah Muhammad (peace be upon him). Oh! How much he did for us, the so-called African-Americans, and perchance, too, for humanity.
Our issue is the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms. When we consider Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the United States of America has ratified, we conclude that we, the descendants of slaves (the so-called African-Americans), remain a lost people. We are dislodged from the knowledge of our cultural beginning. We remain dislodged from the knowledge of our ancestral tradition of religion. Regarding our language, as slaves we were by force prevented from speaking it, and we are lost still from the use of it.
We, particularly in the United States, live under a system of forced assimilation within the ruling culture.
Thus, to the extent that we have been deprived of our culture, our religion and our language, we do not have inalienable human rights. Is that not a question for the United Nations to resolve, or to take part in the resolution on We are lost still, as a result of the lingering effects of plantation slavery.
We have returned to Geneva to request the assistance of the Sub-Commission in the establishment of a forum to address the question of reclaiming our original human rights, or deciding upon whether we choose to assimilate, for upon this matter we have never enjoyed the freedom of choice.
Having been dispossessed of those inherent rights, possessed by every minority (and protected by the United Nations), we believe that through a forum we can define ourselves, thereby assisting the United Nations in fulfilling its most honorable covenant with the human families and peoples of the earth, as at present, we are left out.
We would ask that our decisions be officially recorded and our prayers for reconstruction heard. Once we have declared our inalienable rights, as only we can, we would pray to the United Nations to recognize those rights sculptured by our own hands. We ask for the forum to be established at the United Nations in New York, under the auspices of the Sub-Commission.
Furthermore, we suggest that if the more acute problems evidenced in the United States can be successfully addressed within a forum, then the problems of all of the Diaspora communities can be explored more efficaciously by the creation of a new Working Group in Geneva.
The General Assembly proclaims that recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Here, to the extent that we have been dispossessed of our equal and inalienable rights, and uprooted from any inherent ancestral dignity, we are absent full and complete freedom, justice and equality in the world. Thereby, all of the Americas and potentially Europe, along with ourselves, are absent the very foundation of peace.
Our youth embody the wrath of the transmissible effects of plantation slavery. Their disposition is expressed in their "rap" music. Oftentimes contained in the lyrics are the very words "No justice! No peace!"
My presence here is axiomatic of unfolding history. A potential holocaust is today on the horizon, particularly, in the United States of America. Will the United Nations persuade her to let my people go?
We thank you, members of the Sub-Commission, for your attention and your consideration. May this intervention warrant your actions.