Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has been awarded 
"Newsmaker of the Year" by the National Newspaper Publishers 
Association. He spoke, at a dinner given in his honor by that 
association, on March 14, 1996. The speech was broadcast on C- 
Span that same day. The following are excerpts from his talk.
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[Farrakhan had recently returned from a trip to Africa and the 
Middle East.]
You don't know, America, unless you've travelled! And if you've 
travelled and *seen*, you can't keep your mouth shut if you're a 
human being, with moral consciousness.
I'm not anti-American. This is the only country I know. I was 
born here. With all America's faults, there's not another country 
like this anywhere on earth. And I said this in the *heart* of 
those persons who don't like America. I said, "If I spoke like 
this in this country or any other country, I probably wouldn't 
live tonight." But I can speak like this in America. That is 
America's saving grace: freedom of speech, because we can correct 
her when she goes astray. We pay a price for it though. Oh yeah. 
Oh yes. But you have to be willing to pay the price.
This is a ship, a great ship. But her rudder is gone. And she 
needs guidance. If she doesn't get right guidance, this great 
nation will go the way of those nations before her, that died of 
an internal rot. There's no nation outside of America that can 
destroy America. America's destruction is coming from within! And 
she has been set up already and made *ripe* for a takeover. Why 
shouldn't I be able to *say* this to the American people!?
You are like masturbators, playing with your sex organs while 
your *world* is going to hell! Should not somebody tell you!? 
What's *wrong* with the preachers, what's *wrong* with the 
teachers, what's wrong with you that your government has gone 
astray and you can't say it? And if I say it, I'm an 
"unpatriotic", "anti-American", "cavorter with dictators".
That's awful. That is awful.
I got up, after the Million Man March, and I had no desire to 
speak anymore. I looked in Newsweek magazine, and I saw a 
caricature by a cartoonist. He had the tomb of Martin Luther 
King, Jr., and on that tomb, "I have a dream." And then a 
caricature of Louis Farrakhan, "I have a scheme." "The dreamer is 
dead. The schemer lives."
What is the subtle message there?
Mr. [Carl] Rowan writes, "Farrakhan is a curse that just won't go 
away." Will you now *send* me away?
Brothers and sisters: this is a dangerous time. And that's why 
the NNPA [National Newspaper Publishers Association] should be 
applauded. Because they had the courage to make Farrakhan "Man of 
the Year". People call you and say, "Why would you do that? He's 
controversial." But I heard there was a big argument in the 
boardroom of Time magazine, because they also said *there* that I 
should be "Man of the Year", at Time magazine. They said, "How 
can we do this?" [laughter] So Newt Gingrich won out. [laughter]
(I *heard*. I don't really know that that's true. It's *rumors*, 
you know. And you all print rumors. [laughter] So print *that*!)
I'll be finished in a second.
I became so despondent after the Million Man March. I wanted to 
be quiet, to know what I should do next. And I went out into 
Arizona, in the desert, and I became quiet and I prayed and I 
fasted. And the Spirit told me to get up, and leave the country 
immediately, and go to Africa and make a world day of atonement. 
Go to the Middle East. Go to those countries that are under 
sanction and see the effect on the people.
You live in America, and that is a great blessing. Because you've 
never suffered one city to be bombed. Only we, the blacks in 
America, have experienced bombing [sic]. In Oklahoma, and in 
Philadelphia. But as a rule, Americans have not suffered like the 
peoples of the world. You can look at war stories, but to live 
them... You can go and see the devastation of cities like 
Sarajevo, Mogadishu(sp?), and Beirut: once beautiful cities, 
levelled because of civil war, civil strife. But you have not 
seen that, except of course during the rebellions of '64, '65, 
'66. And after Dr. King was assassinated, in '68. We rose up, and 
burned down neighborhoods. But in the Rodney King situation, 
people were thinking a little differently and there was serious 
devastation. But by and large, the American people are very 
blessed. Very, very, very blessed.
But when God told me to get up and go... I didn't hear a voice; I 
don't want you to think that I heard a voice now. I didn't hear 
no voice. It's just the Spirit. And when the Spirit moved me to 
do that, I got up.
And usually a trip like that will take 6 months to plan -- and a 
*minimum* of 3 months. It was planned in *3* *weeks*.
And brother, in the middle of the planning, President Ab- 
Acha(sp?) of Nigeria sent an emissary to me, to ask me if I would 
come to Nigeria. And I said on one condition -- two conditions: 
that there be security (because I didn't want to take a chance 
and get assassinated in Africa). And secondly, that I must be 
allowed to speak to Chief Ab-Eola(sp?), I must be allowed to 
speak to the opposition. And within 3 days, I got word back that 
my petition was granted.
And so we included Nigeria on our world tour. Now when you *read* 
about it, they'll make you think that I only went to Sudan, 
Nigeria, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. "Thug-fest".
Well let's see all the thugs that were in that fest.
We landed in Ghana. (President Rawlings(?) is very respected in 
these circles these days.) And we had *serious* talks, private 
talks, about Africa, about democracy, and about Nigeria. I wanted 
his opinion. And I got it.
From there we went to Liberia. War-torn Liberia -- which is 
produced of America. And yet hundreds of thousands of lives have 
been lost, and America hasn't done anything; the United Nations 
hasn't done anything. Not anything.
We visited Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Libya. (I gotta say something 
about Khadaffi.)
Members of the press, look: When the Million Man March was over, 
I got a call from President Khadaffi. I was surprised. He was so 
excited, I couldn't even recognize his voice. When he calmed down 
(and then he spoke through an interpreter), he said words to this 
effect: he was so impressed with the Million Man March, that he 
would put the wealth of Libya behind the Nation of Islam.
Now that's what he said. And I *know* the CIA has it, 'cause it 
was trans-Atlantic telephone.
Now I went to Libya. Not "grubbing" -- looking. [laughter] If 
Khadaffi wants to grant us a billion or more dollars, some of you 
say, "Well I won't receive it." Well fine. But with America 
cutting back on *everything* that is meaningful to us... "Welfare 
reform", huh? Well then if Khadaffi wants to *grant* a billion 
dollars, for us to build homes... I certainly won't buy guns. You 
know my history, and you know the history of the Nation of Islam. 
We buy farmland. We set up schools, universities, factories. 
Isn't this what black folk need!? *Send* the money, Khadaffi! 
And listen: if there is a *legal* way to do it, I think I should 
receive it. (We don't want to do anything illegal. Oh no. *Oh* 
*no*. But we want to do everything *legal*.) And if he sends it, 
and I receive it -- you'll be the beneficiary. I don't need a 
billion dollars. But *we* do.
We've got plenty of money in America. But that would help, to get 
something started. Can you think of what we could do with it? I 
thought to myself (honest to God), "The NAACP. That's my 
organization. They shouldn't have to be in debt. Not with what 
they've done for all of us." I would love to free *all* black 
organizations from white philanthropy.
                  [...to be continued...]