The unintentional award.
“First, they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win,” Mahatma Gandhi.
Monday, April 5, 2021, the Jamaica Observer noted that “Minister of Security Dr. Horace Chang claims if more individuals replicate the respect that “true” Rastafarian men show to females, it would reduce recent reported heinous acts of violence against women
The acknowledgment stopped shy of advocating that any Rastafarians (Rasta) seize on a more active community or an appointed role on a task force to focus on violence.
Having been publicly recognized for peace; safety, self-dependence, and humanity. Is it time for a Rasta to seek Jamaica’s highest office; including other parts of the Caribbean, maybe CARICOM, and offer a pure path for socio-economic improvement and to reduce crime?
Should these islands hope soon to say, “Welcome First Lady Queen, someone like “Ifrica” to the Nyabinghi Mansion that serves all communities?
Many locals argued that the government ran out of ideas to address an uptick in crime in this delightful and vibrant nation. Others suggested it was about time their lifestyle be recognized as a model.
Though this public declaration is viewed through the political lens; any domestic violence awareness or public safety is positive news regardless of the messenger. However, recognizing Rastafarianism cannot be captured in a tweet, plug, or sound bites.
It is a fact that despite Rastafarian’s popularity, many individuals who wear natural hair on these shores beyond Jamaica still face discrimination.
The fine print:
Violence only can be pursued if reported, so it does not mean that domestic violence appears not to occur in a certain culture, but you must give credit when it is applicable
The Rastafarian community has a wide range of skills and qualifications, dispositions, and competencies. Their skills could play even more of a broader role in mentoring the next politician, doctor, police officer, teacher, counselor, or investment banker should the government invest more in this community.
Another way to give credit is simply to analyze the amount of Rastafarians with criminal records or incarcerated compared to their population. Reports have also shown that even when some Rastas are incarcerated, they have a lower recidivism rate.
For over a decade, reports have shown that Jamaica ranked in the top 10 countries of most violent places with an average of over 30 deaths per 100, 000 thousand citizens, but this opinion is not about the murder rate or lack of resources.
Though violence is ubiquitous, and the region is no stranger, which is a public health issue. Addressing crime and other social-economic problems on these shores is often woven in complexity surrounding politics, law, culture, and economic status.
Many Rastafarians’ skills can collaborate their approach to life by promoting peace and love and have a broader impact on these communities riddled with socio-economic anguish, political dogma, and violence.
The resistance and struggle with an ongoing foot on their necks.
I am not a philosopher, nor is this opinion an undertaking to explain its origin, but pick up your R**s) hand out of my hairstyle, and foot off the man’s neck.
Since the mid-1930s, shortly after the inauguration of Ras Tafari as the Negus of Ethiopia, meaning “King of Kings. Jamaica’s Rastafarian began promoting the teachings’ authority of Selassie over King George V (Jamaica was formerly a colony of England, but it has faced enormous resistance, according to scholars.
Rasta made the anguish of many black people a pedestal of their consciousness to free themselves from slavery and neocolonialist chains and return to Africa research has shown.
From 1940 and 50s, many branches opened, led by Leonard Howell, a former member of Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association who was incarcerated for preaching its culture.
During this period, reports have shown that the Jamaican Government considered Rastafarian’s ideology dangerous and subversive and a menace to social norms.
Sadly, many were marginalized rather than being accepted as determined, valuable citizens linked to the same slave ship. This resulted in greater isolation from education, employment, land, and housing.
Rastafarians were made to be seen as deviant and should be rounded up like slaves from an alien world. The cultural isolation created an oppressive mentality that created tension mistrust in authority until now.
It was like from the 1880s into the 1960s, many American states enforced segregation through “Jim Crow” laws and other places still operate like a depiction of George Orwell’s best-known novels–1984- Animal Farm: “All are equal, but some are more.”
Fortunately, despite being discriminated against, they did not resort to disturbances or violence like Paul Bogle; one of the nation’s heroes fought with law enforcement under a colonial government in the Morant Bay Uprising on October 11, 1865.
Total independence need more than published paper, but also a mental shift:
John Robert Lewis is one of my heroes, and an American statesman and civil rights activist who served in the United States House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until he died in 2020. He was a proponent of good trouble, and maybe this 1865 uprising, was ahead of its time.
Despite an apology in 2019, when the government of Antigua apologized for the nation’s treatment of Rastafarians at a meeting of the Organization of America States (OAS), it will not change overnight from these delicate quiet decades of social distancing.
The splinters of history have given the colonial state of Jamaica and others in its system along these shores, and elsewhere globally, a free ride on how they have been ridiculed and treated.
Unfortunately, the architectural class system requires a psychological shift going back to the classroom for absolute acceptance. Today, some even maintain there is rationale to sustain them as an outcast.
In July 2020, the Supreme Court of Jamaica said a student could not attend classes if she did not cut her dreadlocks according to reports. This rule further erodes the distrust in government, and I believe to maintain a class system.
According to several reports, the minister of education, Karl Samuda, declined to comment on the ruling, which came on the eve of Emancipation Day, celebrated in Jamaica and elsewhere to mark the end of slavery in the British Empire.
Stepping back and feeling the Rasta vibes:
Rastafarians have been the cornerstone even it was an idea of social equality, peace, brotherhood, environmental preservation, liberty, resistance, independence, and universal love. They have been a critical voice of poor, black, oppressed people of Jamaica and beyond.
Though local cultural struggles persist, it is apparent that Rastafarianism is not a clearly defined area, but many people can identify with their passionate vibes that have gravitated to their values and peaceful lifestyle across all races.
Rastafarianism has come a long way since the 18th century when Ethiopians emphasized an idealized Africa. It gained international attention, and thanks to the music of devoted Rastafarian Bob Marley and others.
The Jamaican government or any other place does not require a crisis to recognize that where the Rasta lives, make ends meet, there will consistently be peace (one love).
As (Jah Crew) a reggae superstar said in one of his songs, “Rasta is passing through.”
Though some of us invested in razors, or at the barbershops, do not wear the dreads living in a world where some rules are defined for us, we accepted with a signature for our economic stability, but quietly we are Rastas in our approach to life where internally, peace, love, humility remains
The reggae band, Morgan Heritage said in one of his songs, “you don’t hiffi dread to be Rasta”.
Once you arrive in the Rasta’s place, he or she greets you. No need to look around because it is quite a level of respect, hospitality, and calm that comes over you. There are countless stories of the comfortable place they often offer for an extended or temporary stay on these shores.
Regrettably, it took violent headlines to recognize them despite their plight; they remain a delightfully peaceful culture.
Far too often, it seems, Rasta must speak to show he is intelligent and frequently seen by their dread-locks before exploring their brains.
Rastafarian movement culture and its context run deeper than grow your political dreads or smoking marijuana. Today, their peace-making practices may be the best thing to calm these rough oceans.
The Honorable Prime Minister (Ras)
What would Rasta’s first 100 days in the office look like?
The debris from colonialism, poverty, social disadvantage, and oppression, I do not believe The Honorable Prime Minister (Ras) will solve it immediately, but how would you know if you do not give them a chance.
Today, predominantly capitalistic means and foreign investments have created jobs, but self-reliance has diminished. It has created a wide gap between the haves vs. the have-nots.
The Rasta administration may have an answer from a bottom-up approach, promoting local production and getting back to more self-reliance.
The balance eliminates bias; corruption, promotes diversity, and national security will be key and a diverse board that will represent everyone at the table; and a chief priority that matches their message, to change course on many fronts.
Sure, they may debates on lighting marijuana in the house of parliament. I doubt there will be a black image of God or Haile Selassie’s divinity in the local churches to replace some of what is there now, but more sociopolitical consciousness.
While the “Reparation” debate continues through the monetary lens by many leaders. Prime Minister Ras’s approach maybe not be the size of an account, but a mental shift from hopelessness, crime, abuse of women and upward mobility for the nest generation.
This will promote economic growth even if you do not have dreads, where peace and prosperity, honesty, stability, and calm for all.
Yes, the movements are more than of August 20, 2012, when Rapper Snoop Dog has transformed his name to Snoop Lion, following his interest in Rastafarianism.