By Farayi Mungoshi
WHEN Donald Trump tweeted: “Muhammad Ali is dead at 74! A truly great champion and a wonderful guy. He will be missed by all” – on the night of his (Muhammad Ali) death on Friday June 4 2016, the world responded bitterly as it still recalled Trump’s call on December 7 2015 for America to ban all Muslims from entering the US.
In a statement issued by his campaign office in the wake of the Paris attacks, Trump called for total closure on the immigration of Muslims to the US.
As reported by the Guardian, he went on to try and persuade America to consider the ban by reminding them of the World Trade Centre tragedy in which thousands of Americans died when airplanes were flown into the buildings by terrorists saying: “We are going to have more World Trade Centres” and that the situation was most likely going to get worse, hence the need for America to impose a total and complete shutdown on Muslims entering the US until America’s representatives figured out what was going on.
“We have no choice,” Trump repeated.
He also took a swipe at Mosques, saying they needed to be looked at as something was going on in there, and that there was a lot of ‘anger’ within them.
The Muslim world did not take this lightly as they were now being cast under the same blanket as ISIS and other murderous extremists who declared to be Muslim and yet went about killing innocent people.
Sighting the anger and annoyance of the people at his call on the Muslim ban, Trump tried to downplay the intentions of his statement saying it was just a suggestion.
However, the damage had already been done and before his death Ali issued a statement challenging Trump.
Ali called upon Muslims to stand up against people who want to ‘use Islam to advance their own personal agenda’ arguing there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people.
Even though Ali did not mention Trump in his statement, there was no mistaking who it was aimed at.
It does not take a rocket scientist to understand this was a race issue by two powerful individuals under the guise of religion; in one corner Trump for whites and in another Ali for blacks.
Ali, who was no stranger to racial prejudices, saw and understood what Trump was driving at and he did as he’d always done in the past four or so decades – and that was to stand up for his people.
He was a true icon and good example of an uncorrupted blackman who spoke his mind no matter who was listening or watching, an example that should be emulated by this generation if we want the former glory to return to Africa.
When America was recruiting more soldiers for the Vietnam War, Ali refused, saying no Vietnamese had ever done him wrong hence he saw no reason to go and fight.
In other words, he was clearly showing America where to get off concerning him and his beliefs as an individual and he made no secret of it.
Ali was not going to kill another person simply because his white government told him to do so.
And to show their wrath at his decision, he was stripped of his World Championship belt.
In a television show back in the 1970s, Ali said there was no way black folk could get along with white folk sighting that ‘we were too different and we came from different backgrounds and cultures’.
He used an example of birds of the same feather flocking together, red birds fly with other red birds and not with blue birds, eagles hang out with eagles and ducks with ducks.
He went on to denounce inter-racial marriages between black and white folk saying this was yet another ploy to destroy a race (black).
“I love my black woman,” he said.
Such was the character and poise of Ali, one of the few black entertainers ever to step out and speak publicly on several white-dominated television shows and platforms.
His joy and pride at being a blackman, despite being looked down upon by the whiteman, was outstanding.
One could easily have mistaken him for a racist, yet, could not help, but laugh at his race jokes – the truth and effect behind most of the things we overlook in our daily lives like how the whiteman managed to fool the whole world and made it believe that everything good is associated with the colour white and that everything bad and evil is associated with the colour black.
Ali made this clear in a language even a toddler could understand when he raised up the issue of a white Jesus, with blond hair and blue eyes, recalling how he once asked his mother if he (as a blackman) was ever going to go to heaven.
Obviously he was feeling insecure about the whole heaven thing when he asked that question because in their bid to destroy our moral and self-esteem as black people they (white supremacists) have painted a white heaven with a white God and white angels and there seems to be no seat or place for black angels.
And judging from what he had been shown on television and taught in books, he obviously couldn’t see a place for himself in a heaven governed by white folk.
After all, their kith and kin on earth were busy killing black folk and calling them monkeys.
Most black voices I know who were like-minded to Ali during the 1960s and 1970s in America were assassinated, but ‘foul’ as his mouth was towards whites, Ali survived until 2016 and he was still fighting racism.
Fare thee well Ali!