Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
The last of April, 1964, I flew to Beirut, the seaport capital of Lebanon.
A part of me, I left behind in the Holy City of Makkah. And, in turn, I took away with me – forever – a part of Makkah.
Then, I went walking – fresh from weeks in the Holy Land: immediately my attention was struck by the mannerisms and attire of the Lebanese women.
In the Holy Land, there had been the very modest, very feminine Arabian women – and there was this sudden contrast of the half-French, half-Arab Lebanese women who projected in their dress and street manners more liberty, more boldness.
I saw clearly the obvious European influence upon the Lebanese culture.
It showed me how any country’s moral strength, or its moral weakness, is quickly measurable by the street attire and attitude of its women – especially its young women.
Wherever the spiritual values have been submerged, if not destroyed, by an emphasis upon the material things, invariably, the women reflect it.
Witness the women, both young and old, in America – where scarcely any moral values are left.
There seems in most countries to be either one extreme or the other.
Truly, a paradise could exist wherever material progress and spiritual values could be properly balanced.
Even then [pre-conversion to Islam], I had learned enough about women to know not to pressure them when they are thinking something out; they will tell you when they are ready.
It was in this house that I learned more about women than I ever did in any other single place.
It was these working prostitutes who schooled me to things that every wife and every husband should know.
Later on, it was chiefly the women who were not prostitutes who taught me to be very distrustful of most women.
There seemed to be a higher code of ethics and sisterliness among those prostitutes than among numerous ladies of the church who have more men for kicks than the prostitutes have for pay.
And I am talking about both Black and white.
Many of the Black ones in those wartime days were right in step with the white ones in having the husband fighting overseas while they were laying up with other men, even giving them their husband’s money.
And many women just faked as mothers and wives, while playing the field as hand as prostitutes – with their husband and children right there in New York.
From The Autobiography Of Malcolm X ~ El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.