Andrew Harris, Gleaner Writer
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has called for the masses of Jamaicans and other Caribbean people to take charge of the push for reparations, arguing that the few at senior levels in society are too easily silenced.
Farrakhan was addressing the 19th anniversary celebration of the Million Man March on Sunday at the National Arena in Kingston.
"Reparation is what we must seek, but it will not happen if we must go and beg England for it," said Farrakhan in his message.
Thousands of Jamaicans and visitors from overseas turned out for the event, held for the first time outside the United States since the historic October 16, 1995 inception of the Million Man March, in Washington DC.
The majority of those present on Sunday were of the Islamic or Rastafarian faith.
Farrakhan said he chose the National Arena in Jamaica as the location from which to deliver his message of uniting black people across the Caribbean and around the world, because both his parents were from the Caribbean.
His father, Percival Clark, was from Kingston, Jamaica, and mother, Mae Manning Clark, from St Kitts.
In his message, he also argued that Jamaica would not be truly independent until it fully broke from The Queen.
SAY GOODBYE TO QUEEN
"Jamaica must say goodbye to The Queen!" he stressed.
Farrakhan argued that for such a separation to become a reality, a reform of the education system might also be required.
"If a man don't treat you right, then why will he teach you right?" he questioned.
"Break up the system of control," he added. "How can we function under the institution of the formal colonial master?"
Jamaica, as the heart and pearl of the Caribbean, Farrakhan said, needs to invest in agriculture and teach university students how to gain from it, as many young persons look down on agriculture, the same thing which has gained riches for 'the white man'.
"The average age of the farmers are between 62 and 67. Nothing is wrong with wanting to be a lawyer or doctor, but Jamaica is on a wealth of wealth, and needs to learn how to develop on it," said Farrakhan.
While the message of unity sat well with many in the audience, persons with whom The Gleaner spoke said the problem was how to achieve it.
"If someone is apart, then there is no strength there. It's only when we are united that we can achieve this, so I agree with him and was looking forward to his message," said Emanuel Cole, rastafarian.
"Every time I listen him, I learn a lot, and he is in the same vein as the 'rasta', although he is a Muslim," said Bongo Herman, a singer and percussionist.
"We are not free and black people need to unite," he added.