Video: Malcolm X’s Final Years

Much has been made of the life of Malcolm X, but what of the legacy he left behind? During this year of the 50th year anniversary of his death, The Global African host Bill Fletcher explores these issues with Dayvon Love, public policy director of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS) and Angel Elliott and Anton Woronczuk, producer and lead researcher of the new film X: Malcolm’s Final Years.

Jim Douglass, author of JFK and the Unspeakable, says,

“Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were both executed by what Dr. King described, at the height of the Vietnam War, as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today – my own government.”[2] While our government waged a criminal war in Southeast Asia, in which the poor, largely people of color, of the United States fought the poor of Vietnam on behalf of a military-industrial complex, our two greatest prophets resisted that systemic, racist evil with their whole lives. Malcolm and Martin came to see the entire Cold War as a scam, in which a corporate, racist power dominated as much of the world as it could by lying about both itself and its ideological enemy. Our prophets of change, Malcolm and Martin, were then spied on and undermined by government agencies in ways that led, step by step, to their murders” [The Converging Martyrdom of Martin and Malcolm by James Douglass].

Wendy Clarissa Geiger: Merton & Gandhi – Two Ways of Being Born Again

Friend Wendy Clarissa Geiger in Jacksonville, Fl.
Friend Wendy Clarissa Geiger in Jacksonville, Fl.

I’m honored to be on the receiving end of epistles from Quaker Friend Wendy Clarissa Geiger, peacemaker, poet, planter, and purveyor of historical memory, who roots herself on her family farm near Jacksonville, Florida. Here is her note from yesterday:

… Friday, January 30th, 2015, is the anniversary of M.K. Gandhi’s assassination at the age of 78 in New Delhi, India, in 1948. “He became much more than there was time for him to be” is a line Vincent Harding was very fond of quoting regarding Martin Luther King Jr. Although it is from a Robert Hayden poem about Malcolm X, the line could, also, describe Thomas Merton whose 100th birthday is [January 31]. M.K. Gandhi wrote: “God is Truth.”

For some reason, this 100th birthday of Thomas Merton is celebrated with great silent exuberance within me. I delight in its significance for being rather insignificant in the scheme of things as angels pause, trees bow. And, I bow and pause at the enormousness of one life lived so completely written out on paper that I giggle at the truth of Jim Forest’s words about Merton that appeared in a “Fellowship” magazine quoted in PEACE IS THE WAY, edited by Walter Wink: “Merton was a writer. He could not scratch his nose without writing about it.”

And, so, today’s offering about Truth and Beauty brings a chuckle. “The Philosophers” was written by Thomas Merton in 1940-42 and is published on page 145 of IN THE DARK BEFORE DAWN – NEW SELECTED POEMS OF THOMAS MERTON, with preface by Kathleen Norris and edited by Lynn R. Szabo.

“The Philosophers”
by Thomas Merton

As I lay sleeping in the park,
Buried in the earth,
Waiting for the Easter rains
To drench me in their mirth
And crown my seedtime with some sap and growth,

Into the tunnels of my ears
Two anaesthetic voices came.
Two mandrakes were discussing life
And Truth and Beauty in the other room.

“Body is truth, truth body. Fat is all
We grow on earth, or all we breed to grow.”
Said one mandrake to the other.
Then I heard his brother:
“Beauty is troops, troops beauty. Dead is all
We grow on earth, or all we breed to grow.”

As I lay dreaming in the earth,
Enfolded in my future leaves,
My rest was broken by these mandrakes
Bitterly arguing in their frozen graves.