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September 22, 2005

What is Minister Farrakhan Thinking?

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

Hurricane Katrina left broken lives and spirits in her wake. Now, Hurricane Rita looks to spread damage and destruction across Texas.

Washington and the Gulf states are still busy playing the blame game; FEMA is busy pre-positioning material and supplies in anticipation of Rita; and the Army Corps of Engineers is struggling to repair levee damage in New Orleans.

Sometime today the Army Corps has to consider how to remove their workers if Rita takes a northern or northeastern track. Galveston and oil refineries in southeastern Texas are planning for a weekend shutdown.

It is in this environment that Minister Louis Farrakhan felt compelled to bring his unique and always entertaining perspective to bear on Hurricane Katrina.

Within the last couple of days, Minister Farrakhan has offered two very interesting thoughts on the Katrina disaster.

First, he suggested that a bomb, planted on purpose to flood the African-American community, might well have caused the hole in the levee system that allowed the Ninth Ward in New Orleans to flood.

Let me get this straight. The government (see, he failed to specify which government it was) plants a bomb on the levee wall. The bomb is timed to explode in conjunction with a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, ensuring that poor, black neighborhoods fill with water.

A few problems crop up, even for a mental midget. What about all of the other floods? How about the wide swath of destruction, most of which affected primarily Caucasian populations?

It seems to me that those people in Mississippi and Alabama also have a legitimate basis for complaint that their government let them down, that the preparation and response to Katrina left a lot to be desired.

Minister Farrakhan would probably argue that this was collateral damage, acceptable to the government forces that wanted to flood the Ninth Ward.

If this wasn't good enough, Minister Farrakhan had more good stuff up his sleeve.

On Tuesday, he railed against the Red Cross, suggesting that they deserved to be "torn apart" for getting it wrong. What did they get wrong? If the Red Cross wasn't there, just who does he think will be there?

You see, Minister Farrakhan fails to consider that there should be at least some level of personal responsibility for the terrible outcomes from Hurricane Katrina.

He finds it easy to attack the government and a non-profit whose only goal is to feed and shelter people suffering under the weight of a natural disaster.

I said in an earlier column that every level of government failed to adequately address the needs of its citizens. Minister Farrakhan has a right (and obligation), as a spokesman for his followers, to express that frustration on their behalf.

Unfortunately for America, Minister Farrakhan has proven over the years that his hateful, hurtful, and very ignorant public pronouncements marginalize him as a legitimate voice for change.

By staying silent, other prominent minority writers, reporters, talk show hosts, actors and community leaders lend an odd air of credibility to Farrakhan by refusing to distance themselves from his foolish spew.

In the 1930's, Adolf Hitler needed to be shouted down in the public square. David Duke received (and deserved) that treatment in the last decade. Today, Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan needs the same treatment.

Where are the voices of reason? Their silence speaks volumes.

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