How can the Rastafarian movement benefit all people?
Posted: Thursday, August 9, 2001
( Omawali ) How do you feel the Rastafarian movement can benefit all people?
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From what I read, it is the African movement that gave rise to all the other movements from since Marcus Garvey. So how come Marcus Garvey and the General African Movement is not given serious consideration in the Rastafarian Movement, notwithstanding the fact that is African researchers and activists who brought most of European fallacies to light. Why is it necessary to keep the two apart when there is the same call for African Unity?
( Jeff ) Thank You for being open, having manners, and showing Respect! Some people, including some Rastas themselves (here on the internet especially), seem to leave their manners, honesty, and Respect at the door. ;-)
This is my own personal testimony, as I can only speak for myself and my own experiences with the Rastafari Movement. I am a male of European descent, with pale skin and a German-Lutheran background. I learned of Rasta from a religious standpoint, seeing Haile Selassie I as Jesus the Christ returned LITERALLY. My views have changed since then as I see the more mystical side of Christ and what it means to find JAH within. Along my Trod with Rastafari, I have also been awakend to the reality of racism and oppression, not only of Africans, but many people around the globe. But the thing I learned most about, that I was never taught in school or by my parents, was Black Consciousness and African history. Rasta really opened my eyes with the truth of European colonization, Imperialism, and slavery. Through rastafari, I have been awakened to the sad reality of racism here in America, through many Reasoning both online and off. About 2 years ago, on another message board, some very heated Reasonings went down, and my eyes were opened even more. Back in high school, when I was first learning about Rasta, 13 year ago, I started asking my Dad things like, "What if Jesus was Black?" He didn't know what to say, and thought I was involved with something that was turing my brain away from all that I had been taught. It scared the crap out of him! Now I have learned him a bit on the reality of the times, and the reality of our own hgistory here in America that many, many white people would like to soon forget. I even learned that my grandfather, who was a Lutheran minister, was chased out of his church in Texas for trying to desegregate it! Must run in my blood. (smiles)
Rastafari has also opened me up to other Spiritual Livities that the church kept me blinded to through labels such as "pagan" "heathens" and "unbelievers". I have learned a great deal about Livities throughout our Human Race, and think it a great shame when other Rastas use the same bullshit Western Christian mentality in regards to our Spiritual Kinsmen! What a waste of the precious tapestry of Life that JAH has given to us! I was so inspired by a speech from His Majesty that I am going to teach at a community college classes about REAL HISTORY, and comparative religious studies. I feel that my Life can be used as a tool for the greater purpose of Humanity. Wake people up to all that is going on out there! Taking the planks out of their eyes....
Rastafari has also helped me see the brutality of industrialized, mass-produced animal consumption, the danger of drugs, and the nessecity of getting back to the basics with the Earth that the Creator has given to us.
I know that if Rastafari has Inspired me personally in all the ways that it has, then it can be of help to others as well. I don't push anything on others, and get irritated when Rastas try and do that crap. Too much like colonialistic mentality to me! I am just going to use my Life, which has been so Inspired by Rastafari, to help in the progression of not only African Peoples, but all peoples of the HUman Race.
People can go on and on with Bible verses, who or what Selassie I means to them, etc etc....but only by the works of the hands, and the meditations of the Heart can a Truely Righteous individual be known.
( Omawali ) Brother, there is a lot to work out and I strongly feel that most Rastafarians do not really know the true history of the Rastafarian movement coming out of Jamaica, the role of Marcus Garvey and the meaning of 'Ras' before the birth of the modern popular movement. I am trying to find out if there is a general consensus among Rastafarians that Christianity, be it through Jewish or other interpretations, is the only way to evaluate history and the cultural values of other people even African people who are tied to a richer legacy could be easily dismissed.
As a student of history I went through all the speeches and the history of Selassie and in my opinion (if I am entitled to have one on this forum) he did not say any new inspiring thing that cannot be found in the works of people like Garvey, the philosophies of Dogon people, the rich legacy of Egypt (before the first Europeans conquered there), the ancient Africans of India, China etc.
All these moral and ethical values were available long before the Jews, the Christians and even the Rastafarian movement. Is it not a type of disrespect to dismiss the earliest people who gave these messages to humanity and to give the impression that they originated with Selassie or the Rastafarian Movement?
The natural lifestyles - like what can be found on IanI Website - with all the experiences with the forces of nature, existed long before even the word Rastafari and certainly long before the modern movement. How could anyone try to claim that these natural ways and realizations that came from those states can be credited to any one group of Africans and not the common states of mankind?
The ancient Egyptians said "Man Know Thyself" (this was a Greek translation) and Rastafarians today say one have to know "I and I" which to me means the same thing. How could one be modern and the other obsolete and why don't some Rastafarians understand they are the same things?
The only major difference to me is language and the lack of understanding of the meaning of different cultural expressions (and European misunderstandings and deliberate distortions).
If people do not want to discuss these things then all this talk about spirituality is a waste and the Religion will not be properly understood.
( Jeff ) I have clipped and pasted from your post in order to bring some clarity to the Reasonings.
>Brother, there is a lot to work out and I strongly feel that most Rastafarians do not really know the true history of the Rastafarian movement out of Jamaica, the role of Marcus Garvey and the meaning of 'Ras' before the birth of the modern popular movement<
Yes, lots of work to do, both locally and globally. Even the smallest act helps in the larger scheme of things. And yes, many so-called Rastas do not know of Garvey, or Ethiopian-ism in jamaica that led to the birth of the Rastafarian Movement in Jamaica. And I would like to add to that, that Rasta is an evolutionary process, always growing and not getting stuck. Rasta is growing, and because of this, has many, many issues to deal with as it become cross-cultural. "Ras" means "Prince", and that is what Rastas consider themselves: Princes (sons) and Princesses (daughters) of His Imeprial Majesty.
>I am trying to find out if there is a general consensus among Rastafarians that Christianity, be it through Jewish or otherwise Interpretations, is the only means for evaluating history and the cultural values of other people even Africans who are tied to a richer legacy.<
History is just what it is, no matter what lenses it is viewed through. As the saying goes: there is three sides to the story, your side, my side, and the Truth. And I personally feel it a shame that many Africans deny the Ancient African Jews both in Ethiopia and other places on the African continent. I also would have to say that most Rastas that I know personally would never deny the rich African history, religion and culture, through all it's diversity and differences. Even before the advent of Western, European Christianity (aside from Ethiopia, of course) there was many, many wyas and beliefs, tribes, languages, ethnicities, and cultures throughout the African continent. I do feel that many African Americans that are trying to reach back to Africa for their Roots deny this reality. Africa was never a utopian place, as there is craziness and sin everywhere the Human Race dwells. The first African slave sold was a servant of the Ashante King, to the Portugese, for want of guns and power. The devil knows no boundries my Brother.
>As a student of history I went through all the speeches and the history of Selassie and in my opinion (if I am entitled to have one on this forum) he did not say any new thing inspiring that cannot be found in the works of people like Garvey, the philosophies of Dogon people, the rich legacy of Egypt (before the first Europeans conquered there), the ancient Africans of India, China etc.<
As a student of history myself, I totally and whole-heartedly agree. Much, much history found everywhere on earth. There is no "this-or-that" when dealing with Life, too many complexities involved for such over-simplifications.
As far as the working of JAH, JAH has been manifested in the physical many times throughout history, in my personal view of things. When rasta say that HIM was before Creation, one has to realize that HIM=JAH for the Rastafari Brethren, so therefore it is not untrue to make that claim that HIM was before creation. HIM represents, to the mystical Rasta, JAHS physical manifistation, so therefore we are speaking of the Eternal as seen through the physical existence of Haile Selassie I.
>The natural lifestyles - like what can be found on IanI Website - with all the experiences with the forces of nature, existed long before even the word Rastafari and certainly long before the modern movement. How could anyone try to claim that these natural ways and realizations that came from those states can be credited to any one group of Africans and not the common states of mankind?<
I personally see it as the common natural state of mankind. I don't go with the over-simplification of Life, seen?
>The ancient Egyptians said "Man Know Thyself" (this was a Greek translation) and Rastafarians today say one have to know "I and I" which to me means the same thing. How could one be modern and the other obsolete and why don't some Rastafarians understand they are the same things?<
InI=JAH in Man. And when Man knows thyself, they will know JAH. Truth can never be obsolete.
>If people do not want to discuss these things then all this talk about spirituality is a waste and the Religion will not be properly understood.<
The reason Rastas say that Rasta is not a religion, is due to it's lack of organization, dogma, creed, bishops, etc. To the many Rasta, these things only bring corruption, poli-tricks, and power play. And yes, I do agree that the many facets of Reality need to be Reasoned and learned. Ignorance is bliss, but is also our downfall.
( Omawali ) I can easily go along with most of what you have said for now and I hope you can understand that as a student of history even though I am an African I hold no one greater than myself as it is myself (inner essence) that has to do all the reasoning to traverse this life. I respect the truth of everyone and I detest the notion that something should be accepted as fact without a reasonable explanation. (For the fundamentalists)
In my earlier Coptic studies 'Ras' had a different but loftier meaning, which I would share when I put my hands on my old Coptic texts.
I also feel the real meaning of the word religion is lost to many people. The word religion was coined from the Latin root words "RE" which means "BACK" and "LIGON" which means "to hold, to link, to bind." Therefore, the essence of true religion is that of linking back, specifically, linking people back to an original source.
A practical way to accomplish this would make interesting discussion, but it certainly cannot be about understanding any one group of people but an overall understanding of the relationship of all of life to the whole. This has to be done from the human aspect all the way back to the source in order for people to be truly conscious. (Again this is my view.)
Some of us may have a head start because of how we viewed life and the choices we made in relation to other humans and nature. To me the keys are improving one's character and understanding history through a guided multidisciplinary approach.
In my view everything else is pointless. I hope others share their views on this and not feel that exploring more is disrespect to a belief. Actually it is the only "respectful" (will define later) thing to do.
( IanI Rastafari ) Irie Ites Bredren an Sistren
Let me see if I can give the I's some clarification as to Rastafari. As me say before Rastafari is a Wisdom. With that Wisdom comes a realization of living Life. IanI do not con-form to "religions" or "worships" or "dogma" of any organized "belief system". IanI look into the Heart/Mind, knowing that the Almighty Creator has endowed each and every One with this Wisdom. It is merely a matter of the Realization of this Truth, that Forwards IanI to the Higher Heights of this Awareness.
With this Awareness and Wisdom comes the Forward Movement. And the Forward movement brings IanI to the Roots of Life and Living. Life in Harmony with all other Life and Creation. Seeing Nature as the pure and simple gift of the Creator in which the Creative Force of Love is manifested. Peoples have been forever Living this harmonious Life, but many have been led astray by the lure of Babylon. That is, the corruption caused by greed and vanity, lust and desire.
This overstanding and Livity can only help Humanity to leave behind the ways of the wicked that enslave the peoples minds and bodies. That keep the peoples in a perpetual state of want and longing. That con-vince the peoples that them be worthless and this peoples be better or of more value than that peoples!
The Wisdom of the Ages has been with IanI forever and no Rasta would reject them bredren and sistren from any of the roots peoples of indigenous Africa, or any other part of the earth! IanI Rastafari give great respect to them that Live Life in Natural Harmony with the earth. Seen.
There were those in Jamaica, Omawali, that came to the awareness that the British rule and the British life-style and 'religion' was a grotesque corruption of the Natural State of Being. And the colonialization and downpression of the African people, in Africa as well as in the diaspora, was finally brought to light for its wickedness, and not it's "civilization" and "redemption" of an already fine people. And so, those that saw the corruption, left. Left it all behind! Rejected it's lifestyle, it's form of government and it's religion. Rather than accepting the white British king... IanI peoples rejoiced in the news that Africans have a King! It must be overstood what the African slave children in this caribbean had been brainwashed with in education and government and religion. This island small majority of white British wealthy ones were harshly ruling a vast majority of black, poorly educated, terribly religiously brainwashed, Africans. Rastafari view bredren such as Marcus Garvey with the greatest of respect. He is looked upon as a prophet by many. There is no seperation of IanI, but realize that there are those that simply wish to take on the cloak of British thought and "civilization" and destroy the people that live simply and naturally. And IanI Rastafari cannot and do not and will not accept that!
I be hoping that this can make some of Rasta Livity more clear. I always welcome reasoning that leads to positive overstandings. Seen.
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