“a tribute to the Rastafari movement whose voice of representation and protest, has been consistently and unapologetically loud and clear, in relation to issues related to oppression and injustice”*
I fully agree. The Caribbean community, especially those of African descent are very much indebted to the the Rastafarian community. They have truly kept many conversations going throughout the decades. Our governments and our people do owe The Rastafarian Community an apology for the discrimination, the disrespect and the belittling of a movement that has done so much for our region.
I have certainly been dismissive in passing. I often accuse people to engaging in “Rasta logic” where people repeat the same thing over and over again. As pieces2peace pointed out to me, just because something is repetitive doesn’t mean it’s redundant, it may be for emphasis. That’s one thing I can say for my experience of Rastafarians, their message over the years has been persistent. And for many of their messages I am thankful.
“The white man is evil.” This message may seem simplistic, and growing up middle classed and brown skinned in the Caribbean I don’t think I was fully able to appreciate the intracieis and attrocities of our colonial history and/ or racism towards people of African descent worldwide. The message was actually about systems of whiteness, white privilege and white supremacy. White supremacy reigns and is truly evil.
“Down with Babylon!” Now I had no idea what Babylon was growing up but I knew it was supposed to bad. Sometimes it seemed to refer to police, other times to people… it was all very confusing. Babylon, now feels a lot like capitalism and a state that tries to stifle the livelihood of a large percentage of people to the profit of a small few. Death to capitalism.
“Natural hair is good hair.” I have locs, and have always had natural hair. There was a time when someone with my complexion and my hair would have been restricted from going to school, getting a job. Rastafarian men and women who maintained their right to be natural and wore their locks whether they were allowed to go to school or not made it possible for people like my to maintain my natural hair. Don’t mind people still ask me, why don’t you make it a little neater? The fact remains there were many more who walked this road before me. Who created language around loving that which is natural, privileging that which is natural. Natural hair is good hair.
“Me nah nyam dead.” I’ve certainly veered from this one since I’ve re-welcomed seafood into my life. But long before people were talking about vegetarian, vegan, gluten free diets Rastafarians were processing the ills of eating the dead. They have preached and preached about the importance of growing your own food and being healthy. Vegetarian living is healthy living.
There are many other areas in which tribute can paid, music, reparations, community organising, the valuing of Africa. There are a few not so great areas, but this piece isn’t about throwing shade. My tribute to the Rastafarian movment.
1. October 2013 marks one year since Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen – her “crime”, to have spoken up for the right of girls to be educated in a blog that she was managing anonymously for a few years. This is the first in depth interview she has given since the attack and she has some very interesting views on how she believes peace can be attained with the Taliban through discussions.
Two things stood out to me:
The treatment of women and girls by the Taliban was used as a reason for intervention and military action. I took some time to look for what has been done to attempt to learn about some of the plans to achieve this objective and was unsuccessful. I certainly found out a lot about military engagement though.
Malala believes that the US (hmmm) and ambiguous governments are the ones responsible for brokering peace with the Taliban. She hopes to take an active role in this in the future as she aspires to hold political office. I hope that she can continue to bring a voice to girls in her region but her sources of that hope give me pause.
2. Since the tragic shooting in Newton CT. late last year, the public discussions around dealing with people living with mental illness has been really difficult to sit through. Laws that significantly compromise confidentiality in mental health care and stigmatize those in treatment or who may have been treated in the past have been rolled out in a frenzy to appease some unfounded urge to save ‘us’ from them ‘them’
This Atlantic article shows are ill-prepared police officers are to deal with mental illness in times of crisis, relating the the recent shooting death by the police of a woman at Capitol Hill
I was reminded about attempts to facilitate gender training sessions with police and immigration officers . I left those sessions knowing that most officers were only there because they had be and were less than concerned about the subject matter. Additionally, the fact that these sessions were being as one-off sessions and not part of comprehensive mandatory training , made me even less hopeful that the change I was hoping for would be realized.
3. Sigh. Why does the Dominican Republic want to manufacture more hardship for people of Haitian descent? The Constitutional Court in Santo Domingo has ruled in favor of stripping citizenship from children of Haitian migrants. The decision applies to those born after 1929. Really? Really now? Here, PJ Patterson, former Jamaican PM is asking that CARICOM take a stand to strongly condemn this ruling. What does strongly condemn really mean? I don’t know. But hopefully enough negative attention on this matter will force the D.R to pull this foolishness back.
I’ve been listening to far too much soca recently. I’m hoping to share these songs to free me of these songs.
Here’s to hoping its transferable.
I literally cannot asking myself or anyone the time without hearing this song. I used to be horribly offended by it. The idea of being 6:30’d in a party or on the road is not becoming at all, but I won’t lie I’ve tried to see if I could do the 6:30 b/c the 6:15 not not good enough.
Oh the despair. Please free me! I need to be able to ask, “what time is it?” without the thought of being folded over.
I have a love for Edwin Yearwood and Krossfyah that goes back to this being the first song I learned on pan in high school. When I saw him perform this I wasn’t quite as in love anymore, gold locks are not the business but I was still ready ready ready ready ready to love it and him all over again.
They say dancehall is violent. But apparently so is soca, it’s something we (womyn) required to brace ourselves for. I didn’t even realise this was an Alison.
I can actually say I’ve witnessed a jones and brace.
in search of a far calmer, less instructive soundtrack
I came across this post a few weeks ago and was smizing at it’s sincere frankness, I too am a big sister and can totally relate. The comments under the article though, you may need to take a seat, or ignore them like I always tell myself I should.
Ever so often I get a glimpse of the person I could be. Sometimes it’s inspiring many times however it’s frightening.
One such moment in time: this morning, getting an email from my father informing me that the men’s 100 metre IAAF World Championships were on. Very few people who know me know this about me. I *love* to watch men’s 100m races for the Olympics and World Championship games. That’s two races every four years and believe me that’s more than enough.
This race that now lasts less than 11 second makes me:
jump up and down
get on my knees
make phone calls and send emails
look for and post pictures and videos
Today Kim Collins of St. Kitts placed third. He is 35. How he manages to continue to qualify I have no idea. As stated by a fb friend, Kim Collins probably has children near the age (22) of the winner of the race. I must say it’s quite inspiring though, I’m sure I would have hung up my running shoes a long time ago.
In more shocking news Usain Bolt false started and was disqualified. Though I’m an Asafa fan I certainly respect the talent Bolt has and false starts always hurt my heart. All the other runners who now have to re-psych themselves and wonder what could have been were there no false start. On a less related note Bolt’s upper body is incredible, to steal a line from Crazy Stupid Love he looks photoshop-ed.
Reasons I shouldn’t watch sports:
it’s a breeding ground/microcosm of capitalism where only the biggest and the best are victorious which translates to the well-funded being glorified; and no matter what anyone says these things seep into our psyches rarely with the translation
taking up breeding from another angle: is there really any reason for people i.e. athletes to put themselves that sort of rigourous training? How is that training in anyway useful for their bodies? Something is wrong with this as entertainment value. And it in no way helps with our shortcomings re: healthy body image
it’s potential for addiction is far too great
I expend far too much emotion on it, that which truly does not matter. My energy, my thoughts, my emotion can be put to far better use
I am a life-long LIAT traveler. When you’re from a small island you have no other choice but to fly LIAT. I’ve been a LIAT client probably before I could walk and/or pay for my own ticket. Now that I do both for myself I’m still a LIAT customer.
I have had and currently have close family members who have worked and currently work at LIAT.
On to the business. Last week met me in Grantly Adams Airport in Barbados going home. Several passengers were stranded for two reasons:
Bad weather had damaged runway lights in St. Vincent resulting in no flights landing after 5pm.
At Grantly Adams the anti-LIAT sentiments were strong, Prime Ministers were cursed, upper-management was cursed, staff was cursed. This resulted in persons being stuck in Barbados for some 2-3 days. Fortunately my flight was not so severely affected the hour or so late which I have come to accept is par for the course was fine with me. That very statement makes me an advocate for Red Jet not so?
People in the region (Caribbean) need to apply two things:
………….1. longer less self-centred memories
People have to strike. No matter how silly, stupid, or outrageous people’s requests may seem to be they have that right to strike and if we only support strikes when they don’t inconvenience us we not serious or ready. That’s how they get management to listen by inconveniencing people. We have to learn to deal. What we can do is educate ourselves re: the issues and push- by writing letters, articles, contacting groups to help support one side or the other.
………….2. common sense
It has to be ridonkulously expensive to run an airline in the Caribbean that essentially functions like a bus/mini-bus/maxi/ZR. The number of stops to let on two-five people at a time, it’s the starting and stopping of a plane that’s most expensive
the landing taxes for each airport
staff salaries and pensions
Who are we doing it? Government subsidies & blind faith b/c we have to get around.
………….1. & 2.
Anyone remember Stanford & Caribbean Star? The airline collapsed b4 the financial crisis. You want to know why? B/c you cannot run fares as cheaply as they did for as long as they did. Why do they come? B/c airlines in the region (Caribbean Airlines & LIAT) are subsidized by government, when the new airlines pop-up gain strength and can no longer survive governments are forced to buy them out.
I’m not saying low prices aren’t tempting.
I’m not quite condemning the use Red Jet.
But I urge you,
I urge myself,
I urge us
to be aware of our buying power and future implications.