28 year old Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson and only male descendant of Malcolm X, who reportedly embraced Shia Islam recently and was becoming known as a political activist engaged with and serving to unite many different causes and communities, was murdered in Mexico on May 9, 2013.
“As the son of Qubilah Shabazz, Malcolm Shabazz was apparently in the process of putting his life on a positive and productive path, attending the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and writing his memoirs. But now the family has to deal with yet another devastating setback,” writes Herb Boyd in the Daily Beast.
Shabazz had made recent headlines in March 2013 when he was arrested after applying for a visa to travel to Iran to be a participant of the International Fajr Film Festival, in order to give a lecture addressing the issues of Hollywood and violence; in particular he was to address the use of film to promote modern violence & terrorism, and provoking clashes between religions & populations. He had already been featured from January 15th through 18th, 2013 as a featured interviewee for the Press TV documentary “The Façade of the American Dream.”
Soon after his arrest, he appeared live on Iran’s Press TV reporting from New York under a headline reading, “They drew guns on my mother and me.” He also issued a public statement to former US Representative and presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney that she posted on her Facebook page:
“Given the storm of lies, and half-truths that come with being associated with being the descendant of El Hajj Malik el Shabazz, also known as Minister Malcolm X, any and everything that I do; great or small, good or not so good, real or imagined is subject to controversy. However, in this missive I will take this opportunity to properly & fully disclose what transpired. In the beginning of 2012 I had been informed that I was under investigation by the F.B.I.’s Counter Terrorism Task Force Unit located in Goshen, N.Y.”
Shabazz goes on to describe various incidents of police harassment that had transpired recently, including the questioning of his neighbors. “They seek to neutralize my networking abilities… 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,” he wrote to McKinney last March. He also had this to say:
“I was not arrested by federal agents. I was taken in by a squad from the City of Middletown, N.Y.’s Police Department. I was not being held in an “undisclosed location” so to speak. I was actually being held in the Orange County Jail in Goshen, N.Y. However, from the time that I was booked at the precinct, to standing before a Judge the next day who told me to come back in 7 more, to being processed at the Orange County Jail and up until 7 days later I was not permitted to make any calls to notify anyone of my status; as though I had just been kidnapped from of the street.”
Dave Zirin writes in the Nation: “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 wanted to wield Malcolm’s memory to fight for a better world.”
Malcolm Shabazz was the guest of a Mexican labor organizer, Miguel Suarez, who had recently been deported from the US, when he was reportedly thrown off the roof of the Palace Bar in Mexico while resisting robbery at 3am. Speculation abounds, about whether this Suarez, who was allegedly affiliated with narcotics trafficking, had lured him into a trap, or if he was just a new friend with a very stupid idea of fun.
Herb Boyd writes in the Daily Beast: “With the confirmation of Malcolm Lateef Shabazz’s death, it marks the third generation in which the family has lost a member violently. Malcolm X’s father, Earl Little, was killed by the Black Legion or the Ku Klux Klan in 1931. As Malcolm X recalled in his autobiography, “Negroes in Lansing have always whispered that he was attacked, and then laid across some tracks for a streetcar to run over him. His body was cut almost in half.” Three of his father’s brothers were also killed by white men in Georgia, which prompted his father to leave the state. Malcolm Sr. was shot by assassins on February 21, 1965, as he prepared to address an audience at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights. Along with the tragic deaths in the family’s patrilineal line, Betty Shabazz was killed in 1997 by a fire in which her grandson, Malcolm Shabazz, was accused and convicted of setting.”
His grandmother, Betty Shabazz, widow of Malcolm X, was killed in a fire he started 11 years ago. He was 12 years old. He had been shuttled in and out of correctional institutions until his release from Attica Prison in February 2007. Malcolm Shabazz at age 24 declared to media that he was on a mission: to clear his name, stay out of jail and rise from the ashes of his past. In an extensive interview with NewsOne in 2004, Shabazz explained the terrible event that led to his imprisonment as a youth.
“I didn’t mean for my grandmother to get hurt. I wasn’t thinking anything like that would happen. [I thought] she would go to the fire escape [but] she walked through the fire to get to me. I didn’t think she would walk through a fire for me.”
The death of Malcolm Shabazz at 28 makes him the youngest in the family to have his life end so violently. His grandfather was 39, still in the prime of his life, and on the road to even greater success after meaningful contacts with world leaders in Africa and the Middle East.