When the mainstream puts a spotlight on the Legacy of Baba Omowale Malcolm X, there is ALWAYS an alternative motive. Since the day of his passing, a number of groups have conspired to obscure or distort his political legacy. Said groups are namely; The Political Left i.e. Marxists & Socialist; mainstream integrationists; and so called Orthodox Muslims.
All have been coopted by the mainstream at different point to feed us an Omowale Malcolm X void of political ideology and programme. The marxists are an exception. They intend to replace his Black Nationalist Pan-African with Marxism (a political ideology). The Black integrationists ignore his political programme altogether and replace it with narratives of leaving the NOI and suddenly advocating love for the white man. Orthodox Muslims replace his Black Nationalist Pan Africanist principles with devotion to Islam. In their hands, for the most part, Baba Omowale becomes a Mascot for Orthodoxy. Though some will make some faint attachment between his Islam and his activism, on the whole, very few actually take the time explore and delve into his political actions and programme. His example therefore, becomes little more than a tool for deflecting critique from those they call “Afrocentrists”.
Largely, the system and its media arms copy all of these narratives by focusing on the Assassination of Baba Omowale. This latest documentary #WhoKilledMalcolmX is just the latest example of this and probably the most prominent in the social media age. It uses the pursuit of justice as a means to divert people from looking into the depth of his legacy, and pre-occupying ourselves with “who pulled the trigger”.
Unfortunately, too many of us as Black Nationalist, Pan-Afriksnists, Afrikan Centred folk in general – actually fell for this agenda in the wake of the documentary. Timelines FULL of foaming at the mouth condemnations of the NOI. Long live streams on whether Baba Omowale was right to disobey a direct order; whether he just wanted lime light, whether Elijah was jealous. All manner of conversations… but VERY FEW on the Political Cultural legacy of Baba Omowale and the Organisation of Afro-American Unity.
The irony is, that at the time he was Assassinated, he was on OAAU business. So for those of us who engaged in the above isolationist reasonings, did we realise that the OAAU was only mentioned once (by my count)? Did we realise that the FBI surveillance as featured in the documentary tended to focus on recordings of Elijah Muhammad as though that was it’s only function? Did we realise that the CIA was not mentioned at all, even though they were also surveilling Baba Omowale internationally? Did we clocked the now standard trope of mentioning his Africa sojourn in passing, without real depth? Did we realise that the Assassination attempt in Africa was not at all addressed? It would seem failure to notice these things and so much more, lead too many us to simply follow the path set by the documentary, than to use it as an opportunity to educate those in our circumference about the true legacy of the man. I am thankful for those who were able to overcome this narrow train of thought.
The assassination of Baba Omowale Malcolm X is a serious of issue justice and there are many lessons to be learned from it. We are entitled to feel all the pain and righteous indignation and engaged in all sincere calls and steps towards justice. But we should never allow the assassination to be weaponised against a comprehensive understanding of his work, programme and ideology. The LEGACY of Omowale Malcolm X is not who shot him. The Legacy Omowale Malcolm X is his programme to build an African world community to forever throw of the shackles of “political oppression, social degradation & economic exploitation”. His Legacy is the updated crystallisation of Garveyism. His legacy is connecting the diaspora with the motherland. His legacy is the spiritual & cultural return to Africa. His legacy is the fight against Neo-Colonialism and European Imperialism. His legacy is self-determination for Africans collectively and self transformation for us all individually.
Unless we are dealing with these things, we are not in fact dealing with “Who Killed Malcolm X?”… but beyond this, and in some ways more importantly, may our ancestor – our living Black manhood – inspire us to study, pick up, up date and implement his OAAU programme. We many never find out all we should and need to know about the Assassination of Baba Omowale. But I affirm, that if we do our best to contribute to completing the mission he set out for us, we would have done him the ultimate kind of justice.