I don’t consider this any prized piece of literature, neither did I write it to offend any particular individual, but I did feel compelled to share my thoughts with those willing to read, if only to explain my position, and to express my disdain at the lack of basic respect I have been exposed to, not by any foreign people, but my own African family.
"A reasonable man adapts himself to his environment. An unreasonable man persists in attempting to adapt his environment to suit himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
-- George Bernard Shaw
As an individual, and as part of a collective, I know what it’s like to be black. I know what it’s like to be considered as part of the lowest group of human beings on the planet – having little value above entertainment and exploitation.
From the time I heard someone I had never met before, look at my friend and I and say “Look at these two nigger chirren! They will never amount to nutten!” , to the time I was informed that I, alongside a group of other former British “colonial subjects”, were not considered to be suitable enough to do a job in customer service in the English speaking capital of the world, compared to people who struggled to put two English sentences together. Just the phrase “colonial subject” in itself depicts the image of the second class existence that being black consists of.
Being black can in many cases be equivalent to being persecuted, either through poverty or injustice, or simply a lack of basic human respect. I know what it’s like to be black, and I'm tird of it. Now I want to know what it’s like to be Royal.
Is anyone willing to teach me? Is anyone willing to show me what it’s like to free and equal in the eyes of all people – free from the insecurity of discrimination, and equal to be given the same treatment that anyone else would require for themselves – respect and sincerity.
I searched in the heavens, on earth, and even under the earth, but found no one worthy of providing what I was looking for. And then Behold: , the only civilisation left standing after the onslaught of European and Arabic plundering, His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie the First. the Lion from the Tribe of Judah – the Sovereign Ruler of a three thousand year old African Empire
So I decided to approach him.
“Negus Haile Selassie, We choose to seek your guidance and reassurance along our journey to become better people, and in turn to be an example for others to follow. In turn, we will do our best to do what is required of us to make this happen, as we don’t expect it to fall from the sky, or from any abstract concept that offers us no inspiration or support. All we seek from you is your guidance and counsel; your adoption so that we and our descendents can leave behind the painful legacies of our contemporary existence of being kidnap victims and landless labourers, without remaining bitter and filled with hatred and resentment towards those who have wronged us, and enable us to become Royal children of Ethiopia Africa – the land of the Sun, and home to the people of the Sun”
“Holy Fathers, we have welcomed the title you have given us, Defender of the Faith, with great honour . May the Almighty grace your name and welcome you. We have received this title given us by you Holy Fathers, with religious reverence. May your prayers help Us in Our effort to fulfil the task entrusted to us.”
“To develop oneself, one has to develop one's own initiative and perseverance - a man has to strive in order to grow. Let us work out our own programmes in all fields - political, economic, social and military. Man's contributions which live to influence the life and progress of posterity, are the most permanent monuments that can ever be created. .” We must become increasingly willing to analyze our efforts, to experiment, to admit our failures as we take pride in our successes
“Giving always demands sacrifice. To overcome the temptation to enjoy mere daily comfort, to press resolutely and patiently forward on the scheduled way, are true tests of the high degree of determination that should bind you together.Memories of past injustices should not divert us from the more pressing business at hand. We must live in peace with our former colonizers, shunning recrimination and bitterness and fore-swearing the luxury of vengeance and retaliation, lest the acid of hatred erode our souls and poison our hearts.”
“Let us act as befits the dignity which we claim for ourselves as Africans, proud of our own special qualities, distinctions, and abilities. We must speak out on major issues, courageously, openly and honestly, and in blunt terms of right and wrong. .” If we yield to blandishments or threats, if we compromise when no honourable compromise is possible, our influence will be sadly diminished and our prestige woefully prejudiced and weakened
"The power which you possess is but one side of the coin; the other is responsibility. There is no power or authority without responsibility and he who accepts the one cannot escape or evade the other. Each one of you and each servant of the Ethiopian nation and people would do well to ponder these words, to take them to his heart, and to guide his conduct in accordance with their teachings. This is the challenge which faces you today. Let your labours here during the coming year demonstrate your capacity to meet it.”
“If you are open-minded and ready to learn, there are many things which you can learn not only from books and instructors, but from life experience itself. There are definitely many things which you can learn from people. If you are guided by this principle, you will be surprised how pleasant life can be, even under trying conditions .”
“Once a person has decided upon his life work and is assured that in doing the work for which he is best endowed and equipped, he is filling a vital need, what he then needs, is faith and integrity, compiled with courageous spirit so that no longer preferring himself to the fulfilment of his task, he may address himself to the problems he must solve in order to be effective.”
“What we seek is a new and a different way of life.We search for a way of life in which all men will be treated as responsible human beings , able to participate fully in the political affairs of their government; a way of life in which ignorance and poverty, if not abolished, are at least the exception and are actively combatted; a way of life in which the blessings and benefits of the modern world can be enjoyed by all without the total sacrifice of all that was good and beneficial in the old Ethiopia. We are from and of the people, and our desires derive from and are theirs.”
“As we guarantee to each the right to worship as he chooses, so we denounce the policy which sets man against man on issues of religion.”
“This world was not crested piecemeal. Africa was born no later and no earlier than any other geographical area on this globe. Africans, no more and no less than other men, possess all human attributes, talents and deficiencies, virtues and faults. Thousands of years ago, civilizations flourished in Africa which suffer not at all by comparison with those of other continents. In those centuries, Africans were politically free and economically independent. Their social patterns were their own and their cultures truly indigenous.”
There is one drawback to this way of life though... the untold discrimination from your own families and friends and the rest of your people who remain engrossed in colonial, inferior, subhuman thinking.
“Honour those who honour you. Disrespect and disregard those who vilely treat you. Their arrogance is but skin deep, and bears no foundation in morals and in life.” – Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1925)
Before the manifestation of Rastafari, I used to ask myself “Why do Rasta people go to such great lengths to separate themselves from the rest of society?” It is only as I walk this path that I can begin to fully understand the reason.
At the end of the day, if we don’t share the same vision, or have the same hopes and aspiration, if we are not prepared to make the same sacrifices or adopt the same mission and practice the discipline necessary to carry out that mission, then why must I look like you?
If you feel uncomfortable or threatened by my presence, and question why I feel the need to distance myself from selfish, secular thinkers, then this answer is for you.
I deeply cherish that feeling of being able to identify someone who is walking in your footsteps and can relate to your journey. The level of strength and hope that comes from being amongst, reasoning, or even sighting and greeting a bredrin or sistrin carrying locks and seeking guidance from H.I.M is unprecedented to any other feeling I have ever experienced. Whilst I can accept that spirituality is very personal and based on individual choice, I firmly believe that no person is an island. The work towards a free and redeemed existence for Africa and its peoples is not a one man’s job. It takes a unified, collective effort, as it is common knowledge that unity is strength, and there is strength in numbers.
It really is good and pleasant for bredrins and sistrins of like mind and spirit, to gather and dwell together in love and unity. In such an environment where you can be free from feeling like you’re in an interrogation room, having to justify your existence to a condemning, condescending audience, who offer no alternative solution other than to either bury their heads in the sand and vainly hope that the ills that plague us will magically disappear, or to philosophize about concepts that are often too abstract to be of any practical benefit to the ordinary person in need of help, while ridiculing the non-intellectual masses for not having as much information as them – in such an environment, there should be no limit to what we can achieve, through the active and creative intelligence of our collective minds.
Stand up and tell I if you love Rastafari
Nyahbinghi man ay Stand up and tell I if you love Selassie I
I want to know if you love Rastafari
I want to know if you love King Selassie I
- Nyahbinghi chant