Malcolm's Brilliant Expose Of Western Media Demonization of African Nationalists

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[Guerrilla Journalism]

Malcolm X's brilliant 1964 critique of corporate media demonization of those who resist Western dominance is even more relevant today that it was 46 years ago.

Malcolm made several relevant points in a dynamic  presentation delivered at the Oxford Union Debate in England, in December 1964.

Malcolm said corporate media acted as agents of their respective home governments; demonizing political or cultural leaders whose views and opinions they cannot stomach. The image created of the targeted person or group, casts them in such negative light, with the desire of creating in the minds of the public that anything the person or group has to say thereafter is illegitimate, untrue, or at best highly suspect.

In the less powerful, less developed nations which are traditionally politically and economically undermined by Western governments or corporations, there is usually an indigenous handpicked personality, or stooge who collaborates with the dominant powers.

This handpicked stooge is used to oppose a progressive leader, in many cases a democratically elected one, whose views and
opinions make it difficult or impossible for the centers of power to carry out their planned exploitation of his or her country.

These manipulative Western corporate media portray their handpicked stooge as the second coming of Muhammad or Christ. Malcolm X put it best when he said the manipulative media "make criminals appear as victims and victims appear as criminals."

To make his case, Malcolm pointed to the case of the Congo where the United stated, France, Belgium and Great Britain plotted and
carried out, with the assistance of a handpicked stooge, Moise Tshombe, a heinous and beastly brutal murder.

This international crime, carried out on a sovereign and independent nation, the Congo, was the assassination of its democratically elected prime minister, Patrice Lumumba.

It was very interesting how the Western corporate media portrayed Lumumba as a communist dictator and stooge of, at the time, the Soviet Union. He was called every unholy name except the devil.

Malcolm said there was an "extremely nasty situation in the Congo," and explained that the U.S. was training Congolese pilots to fly U.S.-made and supplied planes to drop American made munitions, blowing the bodies of Congolese women, babies and children to bits and pieces.

Yet the attacks were portrayed in U.S. media as legitimate and justified, even humane, in the West's quest to prevent the encroachment of the communist hordes. Now, bring your attention to Zimbabwe and its president, Robert Gabriel Mugabe. He was democratically elected and from the first day of the country's independence the west touted Zimbabwe's potential to become the bread basket of Africa, with Mugabe as the best thing since sliced bread.

Reconciliation and peace seemed to have been the law of the land. This condition ingratiated President Mugabe and ZANU-PF, the ruling party, as the darlings of the west.

Eventually, veterans of the armed struggle against the Rhodesians --the European settlers-- began to demand the redistribution of the farmland occupied by the European settlers in Zimbabwe. And because of the grass root groundswell around this popular issue, President Mugabe found  himself, politically, between a rock and a hard place; his party and his people, all demanding the same thing, land redistribution.

So, President Mugabe, responding to the demand of his people, began the process of the redistribution of farmland stolen and now claimed by white settlers. This turn of events in Zimbabwe set in motion a corresponding chain of events throughout the Western world.

The western controlled media, including the ones inside Zimbabwe, unleashed their might against President Mugabe. He was suddenly remembered as a student of communist ideology; the red devil. ZANU-PF and the people of the country were now being described as "rampaging natives" raiding White owned farms, killing the owners and occupying the land.

Many in the Western media claimed this was all being done under the instruction of Mugabe, the dictator. The Western media went into its attic, took out an old reliable stooge, dusted him off, wound him up and put him into action as the opposition party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

As Malcolm had said, "the criminal is made to look like the victim and the victim is made to look like the criminal." Conveniently not mentioned was that ZANU-PF and President Mugabe had entered into an agreement with a number of western nations; this agreement stated that by the end of a 10 year time period European nations --primarily the U.K.- would have provided the finance to ZANU-PF to purchase farms from White settlers. It was called the "willing buyer, willing seller" approach. It was part of the Lancaster House Agreement, which had paved the way to independence. The U.S. had been an observer.

Some settlers resisted being expelled from the land and have, in some instances, taken up arms. In the indigenous Africans' response to armed resistance from European settlers, there were a number of deaths as a consequence. The real owners of the land, the victims of the original theft, were branded as "criminals."

The European conspirators in a collaborative effort organized an embargo against the people and nation of Zimbabwe. Then British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, stated that their intention through the embargo was to "make the country of Zimbabwe scream."

The embargo was supposed to create such a need among the people for food, shelter and clothing that it would incite a revolt against President Mugabe and ZANU-PF. Presumably it would have also created the chaos needed for the European collaborators to send in their agents to plot and carry out the assassination of Mugabe.

The European colonizers underestimated the will of Africans, ZANU-PF to be free and sovereign. The question for us Africans is or has to be: What is to be done? The late Kwame Toure put it best: Organize; organize; and organize.

Shaheed is a partner in  Call (212) 481-7745 for information about free classes

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