Sunday, January 16, 2005

Let Bob Marley Rest In Peace

It has been widely reported that Rita Marley has told the government of Ethiopia that she is going to move the remains of her husband, Bob Marley, from his mountain top resting spot in the district of Nine Mile, Jamaica to his 'spiritual resting place' in Ethiopia. The Bob Marley and Rita Marley Foundations have denied press reports that the widow of the reggae legend plans to have his body exhumed from his Jamaican burial ground and entombed in Ethiopia. We at deeply hope that there is no real plan to take Bob’s body from Jamaica, the land of his birth and that it is just part of the hype associated with the benefit concert being staged in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa next month to celebrate what would have been Bob’s 60th Birthday.

Bob Marley's home is in Jamaica. He was born there. He grew up there. He is a product of Jamaican Culture. He is one, if not the most important person in Jamaican history. When he knew he was going to die soon, he left the cancer treatment clinic and where did he want to be? Jamaica. He died in Miami on his way home to Jamaica, not Ethiopia. We at believe this would be a sad betrayal of Bob, Jamaica and fans of his music and message whose seed grew out of fertile soil in Jamaica.

When Bob sang 'Africa Unite because your children want to come home', as he did throughout his songs, like many great writers and prophets he spoke in metaphor to paint a picture that would reach across time and culture. He was certainly also very concerned by the hurt and pain and tragedy experienced by so many on the African continent - horrors like Rwanda (you might want to see the movie Hotel Rwanda) and in the Sudan have been all too common. Africa Unite is, like many of Bob's songs, a prayer of hope. When Bob says Jamaica is too small for him and points toward Africa, it is about his impact and how he could deliver his message to do the most good with it - in fact, he very clearly was successful in planting seeds of his message to much of humanity worldwide and that message continues to be vital.

The “Back to Africa” movement that was promoted by Marcus Garvey came about not because an actual return to a spiritual home was needed but because Garvey began to question whether Blacks in America would ever be permitted to achieve any real equality. Marcus Garvey, like Bob, was a prophet and great spiritual being. His main message was one of empowering the Children of Africa through promoting education and personal success - he promoted "Black is Beautiful" long before the 60's . He strove to get Black People to take pride in themselves and in their race . . . to realize they were as great and noble as any race and that they had a rich heritage in their "spiritual" homeland of Africa. His movement had hoped that the heroism and honor displayed by Black soldiers in World War I would begin to turn the tide of respect and it didn’t happen. He only promoted repatriation to Africa out of frustration. He stated very clearly that "as we pray to Almighty God to save us through his Holy Words so shall we with confidence in ourselves follow the sentiment of the Declaration of Rights and carve our way to liberty." For Garvey,
it was no less than the will of God for Black people to be free to determine their own destiny. His organization took as its motto "One God! One Aim! One Destiny!" and looked to the literal fulfillment of Psalm 68:31: "Princes shall come out of Egypt: Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands unto God." It was a prayer for a redeemer - someone to make it clear to Blacks that they were inferior to no one and could wield power and influence in the world as much as any one. Haile Selassie fulfilled that vision.

All that said, Bob's Spiritual home is all of creation - he was an enlightened being with enormous personal power - he did not live a flawless life anymore than many prophets and reluctant Messiah's. As to Rita, while she deserves great respect for her own accomplishments, she often seems to be operating on far more of a material plane than Bob ever did. She is living up to part of Marcus Garvey's message by wielding her power in the material world and if she has put any ideas out there about moving Bob, they are more a statement of her power than anything motivated by Spirit. Bob has a peaceful resting place in the land of his birth and there he should be allowed to remain.

One Love,
Ras John

1 comment:

R.I.P *Bob Marley* said...

*Bob Marley, May you rest in are phenomenal musician and probably the best Reggea singer of all are my idol and i wish that you could be alive right now to give us much more great music..