MILTON ALLIMADI             MAY 11,2013

[Publisher’s Commentary]

There are many unanswered questions about the violent death of Malcolm Shabazz, the 28-year-old grandson of legendary freedom fighter Malcolm X.

U.S. authorities should be involved in any investigation into the death. The Shabazz family should also hire private investigators to work alongside official investigators; supporters of the family must extend any assistance the family may need.

The most authoritative account so far comes from Miguel Suarez, who’s been described as a person who organized Mexican workers in the United States and was expelled from the U.S. in April.

Suarez reportedly told the Associated Press that he was with Malcolm Shabazz when he was killed. Malcolm Shabazz had traveled through San Diego to Mexico, and then traveled to Mexico City by road, accompanied by Suarez’s mother, according to the account.

He was to help the Mexican by lending his well-known family name to publicize Suarez’s deportation.

More information is needed. How exactly was Malcolm Shabazz to help Suarez? How did Malcolm know Suarez and for how long? Who organized the trip? What has Suarez’s mother said so far?

It’s important for as much information to come out, given the legacy of the Malcolm Shabazz family: being in the public eye for such a long time and not unfamiliar with violent ends including to his famous grandfather.

Suarez told the The Associated Press (AP) that he and Malcolm Shabazz went to a bar at Plaza Garibaldi on Wednesday, where the attack occurred hours later, and Malcolm died on Thursday.

According to the Associated Press, although the Plaza Garibaldi, where the two went, is popular with tourists “the pair were at a bar across the street from the plaza in an area of rough dive bars tourists are warned against going to.”

“We were dancing with the girls and drinking,” in the bar, Suarez, told the AP, and added that the owner of the bar wanted them to pay a $1,200 bar tab, for music, drinks and the girls’ companionship.

“We pretty much got hassled,” the AP quotes Suarez as saying. At this point the story gets very murky.

Suarez told The Associated Press that a “short dude came with a gun” and took him to a separate room.

“Suarez said he heard a violent commotion in the hall and escaped from the room and the bar altogether as he saw half-naked girls running away, picking up their skirts from the dance floor,” according to the AP’s account.

“Minutes later, Suarez came back in a cab to look for Shabazz and found him on the ground outside the bar severely injured.”

“He was in shock. His face was messed up,” Suarez is quoted saying by the AP. “He was alive.” He’s also quoted saying: “I grabbed him, and I called the cops.”Malcolm Shabazz  was then taken to a hospital where he died hours later of blunt-force injuries, according to Suarez’s account to the AP.

There are many unanswered questions at this point:

1. How did Suarez himself survive the gunman whom he says took him to another room?

2. Why was he taken to another room and what happened while he was there?

3. How long was Suarez in the other room with the gunman and how did he escape?

4. How long was Suarez away before he returned for Malcolm Shabazz in the cab?

5. Who else witnessed the beating of Malcolm Shabazz since, presumably, there were other patrons inside the bar and there were also people outside the bar?

6. Was this a bar that Suarez had frequented in the past and did he know the people who own or operate the bar?

7. Perhaps the most important question: Suarez says he was taken away by a gunman and that while he was in another room he “heard a commotion”; presumably this was Malcolm Shabazz being beaten.

Yet, even after he had been held at gunpoint and somehow managed to escape, instead of calling the police immediately, Suarez left and then “came back in a cab to look for Shabazz.”

It was then only after he found Shabazz with his face “messed up” that he called the police.

One would hope that someone held at gunpoint and who heard a “commotion” suggesting his companion to the bar was being harmed would call the police first.

These are the kind of questions that investigators should seek to address and Suarez may have good enough answers. But in the meantime, there are too many red flags and the sooner we get answers the better.

Also, as Black Star News columnist Patrick Delices noted in his article, Malcolm Shabazz has actually written about the possibility of being taken out — not in a purported bar fight but at the hands of U.S. agents. This is part of what Malcolm Shabazz had posted in March:

“The formula for a public assassination is: the character assassination before the physical assassination; so one has to be made killable before the eyes of the public in order for their eventual murder to then deemed justifiable. And when the time arrives for these hits to be carried out you’re not going to see a C.I.A. agent with a suit & tie, and a badge that says ‘C.I.A.’ walk up to someone, and pull the trigger. What they will do is to out-source to local police departments in the region of their target, and to employ those that look like the target of interest to infiltrate the workings in order to set up the environment for the eventual assassination (character, physical/incarceration, exile) to take place.”


The Tragically Brief Life and Cruel Death of Malcolm Shabazz l The Nation – David Zirin

The Tragically Brief Life and Cruel Death of Malcolm Shabazz

Dave Zirin on May 11, 2013 

A store below the Palace bar in Mexico City, where Malcolm Shabazz was killed. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Malcolm Shabazz had everything going for him. He was 28 years old, handsome as hell and a remarkably charismatic public speaker. He was an activist, an organizer and a proud father. He also had the blessing of being the grandson of Malcolm X.

Malcolm Shabazz had everything going against him. He was a young black man with a criminal record in the age of the New Jim Crow. He proudly allied himself with countries resisting US occupation and influence. He spoke to audiences across the earth, earning the unwanted attention of the Department of Homeland Security. He was treated with persecution, scorn and incarceration instead of the utmost sympathy for his role in a fire that took his grandmother Dr. Betty Shabazz, when he was only 13. He also had the burden of being the grandson of Malcolm X.

Now Malcolm Shabazz is dead. He was in Mexico City to meet in solidarity with a labor organizer deported from the United States and ended up beaten to death outside of a bar. Details of how and why he was killed are extremely sketchy, and I am not writing this to add to that noise, except to say that I’ll trust a police report about the death of Malcolm X’s grandson around the time I grow a tail.

I’m more writing out of anger: anger that this young man, whom I was able to get to know after meeting at a panel on fatherhood, is having his character assassinated in death. For reasons it should have to answer for, USA Today chose to display a picture of him in handcuffs alongside a brief notice about his killing. The Huffington Post—and no, I won’t link to this garbage—provided no sense of who he was except to write that he “pleaded guilty to attempted robbery in 2002 and was sentenced to three and a half years in prison. Just months after his release in 2006, he was arrested again, this time for punching a hole in a store window.”

With very few exceptions, not a single piece has what you would expect in a typical obituary: remembrances of loved ones and colleagues to give a three-dimensional portrait of someone’s life. The grandson of Malcolm X can only be seen in one dimension. That dimension, as the Associated Press wrote, was just that he “led a troubled life.”

There is no question Malcolm Shabazz had troubles. As he himself said, “Considering what I’ve been through, it’s a miracle that I’ve been able to hold it together. I’m just trying to find my way… Some of the things I’ve been through, the average person would have cracked.”

But “troubled” is not the sum total of who this young man was. Here’s a different take on Malcolm Shabazz by someone who actually knew him. Former NBA player Etan Thomas organized the fatherhood panel I mentioned earlier and worked with Malcolm on numerous events. I asked Etan for his thoughts. He said,

There is a lot of mischaracterization going on from people who know nothing. They never met Malcolm. They stayed far away from him but now they want to inaccurately characterize him. I knew Malcolm. Talked with him, worked with him, he was my friend. Malcolm had a heart of gold. He wanted to help people and change the world. He had been through so much in his young life. He went with me to Riker’s Island to talk to young incarcerated men under 18 and they were focused on his every word. He shared with them the mistakes he made in the past, the absence of a father’s presence, gave them words of encouragement and upliftment. And they were hanging on his every word because they saw the sincerity in him. He genuinely cared. It was an honor to work with him, and to have had him as a friend. He will be missed.

When I met Malcolm Shabazz, I had to ask him the question I’m sure he’d been asked a thousand times. I asked, “Is it more burden or blessing to be Malcolm X’s grandson?” He smiled and said, “I wouldn’t say it’s been easy. Yes, being his grandson is a blessing. But you know what? Being a father is a blessing. Being in the struggle is a blessing. And just being alive is a blessing.”

We should mourn for the family of Malcolm Shabazz. We should also mourn for ourselves. In a selfish world where the offspring of the famous are more likely to use their cultural capital to become media parasites, we lost someone truly special. He wanted to wield Malcolm’s memory to fight for a better world. Now we should do the same with the memory of both of these Malcolms. They were both brilliant. They were both maligned. They were both taken far too young with far too much unfinished work in front of them. Malcolm Shabazz: Presente!

In the US, people under the age of eighteen can be held in solidarity confinement. Check out Nation Action for what you can do to stop it.

Related Topics: Racism and Discrimination | Politics | Society