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Down memory lane – we’ve seen the New Black Panthers in these parts before

Shabazz, Shabazz, I thought…where have I heard that name before? A-ha! Remember the Duke lacrosse case? Seems like Barack Obama is not the only one who can’t let a good crisis go to waste. From the blog “Sweetness and Light”, circa 2006:

Malik Zulu Shabazz, a Washington lawyer who is the leader of the New Panthers, said he will be in Durham to rally with local black leaders and monitor progress of the criminal case against Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, the two students charged with raping and kidnapping the dancer.

Well, it sounded good then.  And for the record, Malik Shabazz and King Shabazz are two different people (I guess). As for the intimidation on display in Philadelphia? Not a new tactic. You make the call…

“We are conducting an independent investigation, and we intend to enter the campus and interview lacrosse players,” Shabazz said Thursday. “We seek to ensure an adequate, strong and vigorous prosecution.”

A flier distributed by the group this week displays photos of Finnerty and Seligmann and calls for those who have “had enough of disrespect and racism from Duke” to assemble at the front gates of the university’s West Campus at 10 a.m.

Asked whether his followers will be armed when they come to Duke, Shabazz chuckled and said, “I don’t know if I can comment on that.”

Here’s how it went when they got there, from The Chronicle:

Approximately 20 members of the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense demonstrated at the West Campus gates in support of the exotic dancer who alleged she was raped by three members of the men’s lacrosse team.

[snip]

The group arrived at 10:05 a.m. in more than 20 cars, pulling simultaneously up to the curb at the Green Zone overflow parking lot on Duke University Road.

Before starting a formal press conference at the entrance to the University, demonstrators conferred in a huddle in the parking lot for about 30 minutes. They were surrounded by NBPP members-wearing black boots, fatigues, bulletproof vests and berets with NBPP logos-who kept bystanders at bay.

OK, so far so good. The bullet proof vests were a little overdone, unless they had heard about the high crime in Durham and felt a need to be prepared. Then they went to a rally at an A.M.E. church about a block from North Carolina Central University. Located in Durham only a couple of miles from Duke, NCCU is a traditionally black university where the lacrosse player accuser went to school. Here’s how things went at a little friendlier venue. Remember, Malik Shabazz was the keynote speaker. Again, from The Chronicle:

St. Joseph’s African Methodist Episcopal Church was abuzz Monday evening as the group led a town hall meeting for Durham’s black community. Many in the audience cheered the new Panthers’ attacks on Zionism, capitalism and white Americans.

From the pulpit, NBPP officials said they had come to Durham to share their revolutionary message and defend the accuser in the Duke rape case. They said the media has unfairly portrayed them as violent hooligans.

“All they will tell you is that we’re carrying guns,” said Minister Hashim Nzinga, NBPP’s national chief of staff.

Violent hooligans? That hardly seems fair…

Another NBPP official, spokesman Yusuf Shabazz, expanded on his party’s anti-Semitic black separatist agenda. He added that the party would use violent means to increase the power of blacks and create an independent territory he called “New Africa.”

“Anytime a white man grabs a rifle and stands up for his liberty and wife, he’s a hero.” Yusuf Shabazz said. “We’ll kill everybody in a household, we’ll kill everybody on our block.”

Incredibly, the leaders of the NBPP were also allowed to meet with the prosecutor in the case, the now disbarred Mike Nifong, who reviewed the case and discussed the evidence with them. Nifong and all the blacks in the area were either in support of these thugs or silent, but a few did manage to distinguish themselves. From WRAL online:

The accuser’s mother in the case told WRAL that family members did not ask the group to come to Durham, and they do not want their help.

And a final commentary on the New Black Panthers from the People’s Republic of Chapel Hill:

“What they do is come into a community and exploit the pain,” said UNC associate professor Michael Waltman.

Or, at the risk of repeating, they never waste a good crisis.

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