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Why Rastafari Music Should Depart from Religion

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Rastafari alongside Reggae/Dancehall has cracked open every crevasse and corner of the global sphere and is continuing to do so through relentless efforts to push the music farther. But something that has caught my ears in recents years in the near synchronization of Reggae music and Christian radicalism. Rastafari was found through the understanding of Haile Selassie through which … Continue reading

Africa, Ancient Egypt, Ethiopia and the Emptiness in the West

ancient egypt hieroglyphics

The topic of black identity in the West is something that has been furiously discussed for decades though not in the mainstream media. Nonetheless the literature is there, it points in numerous directions but leads to one certainty. The identity of Africans in the old new world is so diluted, artficial and ridiculed that many blacks or anyone else for that matter can’t define what it means to be black.

To be of African heritage in the West means you define self through a historical context not written by your own hence self image and perception by others lie in the historical work of racially charged and turbulent history under Western regimes.

The point a lot of people miss is that opinions often are not simply based on how you just get up one day feeling. No instead it is as a result of series of observations and readings which have lead you to believe in particular ideas from which you craft your own reality.

Now imagine the reality of a people oppressed and starved of vital intellectual and cultural capital for 500 years.

Now acknowledge the fact that all the writers of history in this society were thought to be racist and behaved as such.

Think about the fact that in the midst of all of this the printing press came into full force to deliver poisonous vitriol to all corners of the Earth and the readers teaching their descendants these same foolishness.

Even more scary is the fact that an enslaved bloc of people who have no sense of self reserve these feelings towards their children and themselves. Just think how twisted the psyche of these people were, in fact recognize the fact that many still hold these beliefs today, even black people.

This is where understanding of Africa, Ancient Egypt and Ethiopia helps tremendously to fill the void in black people in the West.

African Queens Painting - African Queens Fine Art Print - Glenford John

African Queens Painting – African Queens Fine Art Print – Glenford John

The reading and understanding of African history written by Africans can serve as a tremendously empowering experience, so much so that some of the people of Jamaica and now the world have come to a point where they seek fulfillment and knowledge by exploring a cultural space once though lost.

In Rastafari the understanding of history “through ones own spectacles” manifest in the ideas, identity and lineage of His Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. The rastaman uses Haile Selassie as the nucleus of their existence; in doing so they can redefine themselves as Africans independent of the colonial experience. This is paramount in the Rastafarian frame and is worlds away from the strange misunderstandings that many people hold of rasta as only pot heads.

The same reinvented thinking can be applied to Ancient Egypt which serves as an in your face testament to the fact that Africa was never a poverty filled wasteland; not then and certainly not now. Not only in Ancient Egypt but all throughout Africa where in the 1500’s European sailors commented that African iron smelting was on par with and in some instances ahead of the practices in Europe. In Uganda many were surprised to the fact that naked Africans were performing what would come to be known as the Caesarean section. During the procedure the woman was wide awake and felt no pain thanks to the powers of traditional herbs.

The examples are all over Afrika like in the Sudan or the Land of Kush where smaller scaled pyramids stretched across the land. The issue with the fact that Africans for the most part were scantily clad makes no sense and is nothing but mere manifestations of ethnocentric views; if the sun is so hot what the hell would you be doing in a three piece suit?

All of these facts can aid the cultivation of lush thinking in the otherwise empty spaces of black people and everyone for that matter with respect to real black history. From what I’ve seen from the text books. Black children from the Caribbean, North and South America are taught that their history begins with slavery which can be overwhelming damaging to the self esteem of these children who already feel insecure about the fact that they are societies literal, “black sheep”.

Regardless we press on arming ourselves with knowledge on the way.

Buju Banton – Til I’m Laid To Rest Lyrics

‘Til I’m laid to rest, yes
Always be depressed
There’s no life in the West
I know the East is the best
All the propaganda they spread
Tongues will have to confess

I’m in bondage living is a mess
I’ve got to rise up alleviate the stress
No longer will I expose my weakness
He who seeks knowledge begins with humbleness

…..

Jamaica, a State of Contradiction

poverty in jamaica caribtorch

As we draw to a close of our 50th year of “independence” one simply cannot ignore the fact that we are a country filled with a myriad of contradicting views, lives and sense of nationhood and identity. From the luxury of Tryall Estates to the God forsaken poverty of the Rivoli dump the pages as you skin through Jamaica’s social composition seem to be mismatched and organized by an intoxicated infant.

Jamaica was the envy of small and medium sized countries in the 1960’s, Jamaica’s economy was growing at highes of 10% annually. The  labourites under Bustamante, Shearer and Sangster were in good command of economic policy. The problem with this growth was that it was going to the few, the few who had been in control of the masses of capital for centuries. Recognizing this political opportunity Michael Manley declared that a “black man time”  and it’s time for a change and “betta mus come”.

In reflecting on Manley’s rhetoric compared to his actions it is abundantly clear that he was just another politician doing what politicians do. While his heart may have been in the right place, this man was a complete failure even Ian Boyne a PNP speech writer had to admit this fact in the midst of one of his glowing columns in the Gleaner about Manley being Jamaica’s greatest leader. *hiss teet, move an gweh*

He built a cabinet which was lacking utility and sustenance. He was lost and didn’t know what the blutclaat he was doing. So he begged the Cuban Fidel Castro for assistance. But as we all know the United States and Cuba didn’t have any relations then and Jamaica and Manley had to be punished by Washington’s hegemonic whip for seeking aid in nation building by someone they didn’t like.

So amidst all the talk of communism in Jamaica the electorate began to stray from Manley and in 1980 the JLP’s Edward Seaga, a pro American, Harvard educated and very stern capitalist took the mantle. What resulted was the invasion of American firms and the re-institutionalized US dominion of  Jamaica. Sweat shops followed, and disturbances to the structure of trade unions.

Strength of trade unions what had built the initial JLP which had swayed from it foundations to suite global one way flow of revenue. After Manley retook Jamaica in 1989 with new capitalist initiatives he made a prophecy that would actually hold, “as long as I’m alive you will never see power” in reference to Seaga. Seaga never regained power.

What followed next was Mr. PJ “Black Prince” Patterson who effectively destroyed Jamaica’s financial sector, including his own bank. 😆

He also contributed to another self destructive saying in Jamaica,”Black man can’t do business”. He was yet a another FAILURE!!! But the people loved him and gave him power for 18 years!

Today after several more leaders the economy has been anemic for 40 years, we hate our culture, the way how we speak and the masses both educated and non-educated are suffering from severe identity crisis. The uptown, downtown foolishness has lead to serious and sustained class division and most of us have foreign mind. Not to mention the severe income inequality in the country.

Tryall Mansion

Tryall Mansion

Look here nuh. Capitalism and attempts at Communism has failed. It’s full time we look internally and access wehere we are at and where we want to be. This consistent importation of idealism, which were designed for different places and time is destroying us. It’s full time we stop the ism, skism and thinnk reality like the rastaman seh.

Red Rat – Nuh Live Nuh Weh Lyrics