Malcolm X lost his life on this (2/21) in 1965. In the event that you don’t know, he was assassinated by members of the Nation of Islam. (Malcolm X had started a new organization after he had left the Nation of Islam). People (supposedly) known to the NOI and the community were involved. Looking back at his death (and days leading up to it); I learned a valuable lesson:
Keep Your Enemies Closer
Malcolm X had reported to Gordon Parks that he had people try to take his life a few times before he eventually was killed. He had mentioned that the police couldn’t help protecting him. There was further mention of how only members of his community, (black Muslims) could protect him. Only people that knew their tactics and behaviors would know how to deal with such a challenge. I had remembered seeing pictures of him with a gun watching over his family, most likely dealing with violence connected to his departure from the NOI or even being outspoken about differences in opinions between their organizations. Looking back; I feel that he had made a few errors.
Tactically speaking; he may have not done enough to stay on top of what his original organization was doing. He should have entertained the idea of a full-scale intelligence gathering operation, considering the scale of opposition he was facing. His enemy was very determined. I don’t blame him for turning down the FBI’s offer of money (or even the idea of putting the resources of law enforcement on his enemies). But I do blame the fact that he didn’t put more weight on his allies to take responsibility for internal security. I find fault in that his organization didn’t reach out beyond their communities’ borders (and beliefs boundaries) to get other training in security (or even personnel) to boost up their presence.
I also feel that a position under a great challenge like his did should have eventually gone on the defensive. (I do not know of any operation that his organization undertook to stem the tide. It has been a while since I have read through his biographies or other pieces describing any of this. I am not sure of any defensive moves. I am not a NOI member, black Muslim, or a geographical neighbor of theirs). Most organizations, being challenged over a large time frame, find a way to deal with it. They team up with someone that has a common enemy or manpower/capabilities to fight back against their aggressors. This is noted in history. An organization or person who doesn’t fight back is not hoping for survival but gambling on martyrdom. (Don’t get me started on martyrdom).
To fight the enemy is to know the enemy. A worthy enemy is more predictable. A challenged organization (or group of determined believers) can weather a battle. Malcolm X was a man of great stature but I felt that if he had kept his enemies closer that he might have won the long war.