Rastafarians left out of Jamaica 50
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am very saddened by the fact that with all of our celebrations for Jamaica's 50th year of Independence, there has been no mention of the contribution of Rastafarians to the culture, psyche, and music of Jamaica. Let's face it: The tourists come to Jamaica not just for sun and fun, but also because of the music and culture.
It is interesting that the Jamaican elite will pay tribute to Bob Marley but not to the message of his music. The reason why Bob Marley and reggae music have great popularity in the world today is because of the influence of Rastafari, which makes a connection (spiritual or otherwise) to the people of the world.
These people, in turn, come to Jamaica to experience the essence of Rastafarianism.
There was also a contribution made by the Rastafarians to the Independence of Jamaica. They were the ones who were agitating and fighting since the 1930s for Independence from Britain.
The fact that the ruling class ended up forming the Jamaica Labour Party and the People's National Party was because the Rastas recognised the fact that it would take educated individuals to run the country, so they acceded to the leadership of the sons and daughters of the colonial masters who were already educated.
The state of affairs in Jamaica is likened to a man who, when he looks in the mirror, straightaway forgets the man that he is and takes on the alter ego of himself, the one created through miseducation and misinformation.
I hope that we will take this time to reflect on where we are coming from as a people, to assess where we are, before we make a decision on where we want to go.
EUGENE L. HAYNES
Comments below the letter on the site:
Ridan: this is so true;people visit jamaica to hear ja patois and experience rastafari '.they do not visit to experience ja pompous elite.had it not been for rastafari and reggae music ja would have less tourists.they come for the rastaman vibration which is the most positive attraction for the island along with the thereto attached mighty reggae concerts which is the strongest magnet for the tourists in spite of the blatant disrespect shown to rastas by the so called elite..jamaica wake up and bless rasta for making jamaica interesting and unique.
Richard Crawford: The most well known, idolised and respected Jamaican in the world is Bob Marley. People know Bob Marley not Jamaica. The world declared Bob Marley as one of the definitive people of the 20th Century. His song One Love is song of the millenium, his album Exodus, album of the 20th Century. Bob, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear , Bunny Wailer all inspired Africa to fight for their freedom from colonial rule they are now on their way to development whilst Jamaica is one of the most indebted countries in the world and many here can't find enough food to eat. Africa embraced Rasta the world embraces Rasta.Racist, classist, confused and backward Jamaicans who are still in mental slavery reject Rasta and most likely they will never be able to change." Don't worry everything is gonna be allright", the world is changing rapidly and who can't change will drop off into space. Yes already Rasta is the lifestyle of millions, Rasta is religion, tourism, fashion, food, culture, music, art, Rasta is the greatest Jamaican asset. We also don't recognize The Maroons the only truly independent Jamaicans. Now you know why Jamaica is in so much trouble. Forget about the baldheads who can only worship white foreigners and money whilst the white foreigners worship Rasta.
Rick Berns: How many did not visit because of the stereotypical rasta in the concrete jungle image? Rastas do not need someone to include them. Forget the victim complex and show the world what and who you are, and how you contributed.
19_77: This is so true...like so many other critical areas of Jamaica's heritage and social issues being omitted. This Jamaica 50th is beginning to seem deficient in many areas. I was hoping that the celebrations would touch on most aspects of our lives since gaining independence: music, religion, cuisine, industry and commerce, education, theatre and the arts, sports, politics, infrastructural development, science, tourism, health, media, international trade etc. The organizers need to demonstrate, especially for the younger generations, pre-and-post Independence changes. This leads to my question if the leadership of such an important milestone is qualified and experienced enough within this realm to conceptualize, execute and promote public engagement ("buy-in") of the idea of what independence truly means. I walk around and I was hoping to see historical landmarks in every major town being prepped for this milestone. I look around and the environment could do with some beautification. Are there plans to include Nine Miles in St. Ann in this elaborate plan, because Bob Marley's birthplace means alot more than we really give it credit as a nation that has benefitted tremendously from his musical legacy. I do hope that there are plans to really "bring-it" in the last few days leading up to the big day. I do hope that there is at least a commemorative symbol for this milestone, whether it be a simple stamp, coin, book, lapel pin or something - ANYTHING! Lisa is a beautiful and intelligent young woman, but I honestly do not feel that she possesses the broad-range top line experience and vision to execute such an important point in our history. This is like sending a 3 year old into the kitchen to cook the Sunday meal.
Lloydyrob: Although not Rastafarian myself, I must agree that Rastafari contributed greatly to the culture, music, spirit of the nation and importantly, to the economy. almost all of our pop musicians of note are Rastas, so too our visual artists, poets and even some of our academicians. To not highlight this in the celebrations is an injustice.
4U: This is a christian country, no tacit acknowledgement of what rastafarians stand for, SELASSIE as GOD and GANJA as sacrament, hence our love\ hate relationship with rastas.
Guest: "...Rastas recognized the fact that it would take educated individuals to run the country, so they acceded to the leadership of the sons and daughters of the colonial masters who were already educated...."
That was a mistake, and now they are complaining being left out? c'mon, what did they expect? The 'education' of the ruling class was never going to recognize rasta....therefore, you lose.