, Haile Selassie
This has a long history:
Ras Tafari was crowned the last Emperor of Ethiopia with nifty
titles as with the power of the trinity, Emperor from the Dynasty of Salomon,
Chosen of God, Lords of Lords, King of Kings and Conquering Lion
of the Tribe of Judah from the house of Saba. He took the name of
Haile Selassie I when he was crowned November, 2 in 1930. He was born
1892 near the city of Harrar in Ethiopia as Tafari Makkonen, son of Ras
Makkonen. For the Rastafari he is a living God, the all mighty and
their savior. In 1974 a marxistic Government under Dictator
Mengistu took the power. In 1975 Mengistu announced that he personally
has strangled Haile Selassie 1974.
After the legend the dynasty of ethiopian Emperors began 3000 years
ago, when the Queen of Saba (She ruled the south of Ethiopia) visited the
wise King Salomon in Jerusalem. When she came back to Ethiopia she
gave birth to a child that was called Menelik (The son of the wise). When
Menelik was a young man he traveled to his father and stole the holiest
thing of the Israelites from the Temple of Salomon and brought it to
Ethiopia. So in Ethiopia the first christian Kingdom of the world was
founded. In the fourth century the rulers of the imperial city of Aksum
converted to christianity. Over centuries it was the only christian country
in Africa and the "Island of the christianity in the Islamic Ocean".
The Ethiopians see themselves as the chosen tribe or people of god, and
they see their land a a new jerusalem.
Ok, now off to Jamaica:
The Island was discovered by Columbus 1493. He was followed by spanish
conquistadores. 1655 it was conquered by England. They founded the Royal
African Company and made the Island one of their most important slave
market. Some hundred thousand black people were chained and brought
to Jamaica, where they had to work or brought to America. Because of the
"generosity" of the white Masters Missionaries were allowed to teach
christianity to the blacks. "But most of them had problems believing
in the existence of a godly, good, pure white man, Jesus, in opposite to
the white man and his cruelties and suppression that they and their ancestors
have experienced" wrote 1887 Marcus Garvey. He was born in St. Ann's
Bay and was one of the most important activists of the black movement.
When the slavery was ended officially 1838 over 98 % of the population
were black, but the white remained the Masters. Garvey said in Madison
Square Garden: "Look to africa, because if a black king is coronated,
the day of redemption is near". And they looked to africa and they saw
Haile Selassie. Pictures of the coronation ceremony went around the world
and in Jamaica the black remembered the prophecies of Garvey. They began
to honor the new Emperor as a living god and called themselves Rastafaris,
Rastas or Rastamen.
When Haile Selassie I landed in Kingston, Jamaica 1966 for a
visit he waited 30 minutes before leaving the plane because he was afraid
of his followers and "fans". The Gleaner, Jamaica's leading daily newspaper
wrote: "Nobody of the responsible has anticipated what happened, no special
security was taken. The Police nearly vanished in the amount of people,
when hundreds of people broke the security- barriers and swarmed around
the plane. When Haile Selassie and his Delegation appeared everything went
out of control, as everyone wanted to touch him." Selassie himself always stated that he is not Jah, but of course that made them believing it even stronger. He said: "Don't pray to me, I am not God, I'm the servant of God" but also "Nobody should question the believe of someone else, because no human can understand Gods way."
Bob Marley sang "Jah live" 1975 after the death of Selassie. The Time
Magazine chose Bob Marley's album Exodus in 2000 as the album of the
20th century and the BBC chose One Love from the same album as the "Millennium
Celebration Song", but only few people know about what Bob Marley was singing.
He once said in an interview: "Who listens good, will learn things from
my songs that are not taught in schools. In the school you don't learn
that Haile Selassie is the all mighty, Jah, who has come to free africa.".
In concerts of Bob Marley, often a large picture of Selassie was hanging
on the stage and once Bob Marley asked a reporter if he knew who is on
the picture. The reporter answered (somewhat proud): "This is Haile Selassie
the deceased Ethiopian Emperor ", but Bob Marley said: "You don't know
anything. Haile Selassie is Jah, the All mighty, the living God."
Bob Marley was the son of a black jamaican woman and of a white english
man. He was raised by his grand-parents in Nine Hills, a mountain town
in the Region of St. Ann's. The Rastafari-Movement has spread mainly to
the success of Reggae, today ten thousands in the caribic, the USA,
England and Africa believe in rastafari.
Like Bob Marley most of the first Reggae musicians were Rastafaris,
listen to it, you will find references in almost any song, and they don't
have to be as strong as in Peter Tosh's "Selassie Serenade" or Bunny Wailers "Rastaman".
The Promoter of the "Rastafari Unity Center", Iqulah has dread locks
to the floor and he calls it his crown, because every Rastafari is a king.
Real Rasta Hair must not be cut or combed as it contains POwer and Energy.
Only with water true Rastafaris may wash their hair. Iqulah says: "we follow
the bible with our hair" and he recites the fourth book of Mose (Numbers 6): 5 All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. The Goal of the
Rasta's (says Iqulah) is to get back to Africa. "Exodus - movement
of Jah people" was also sung by Bob Marley. The vanguard of the Exodus
is the population of the rastafari-colony "Shashamene" in Ethiopia that
was founded by Selassie in the 60ths. "His people in his own nation won't
accept it but Haile Selassie is the returned Messiah. This is also written
in the bible" says Iqulah. He says that Pope Leo XIII knew about the
birth of the godly child Tafari Makkonen in the year 1892 and that the
pope wanted to destroy him. In his opinion this was the reason the Italians
tried to conquer Ethiopia in 1896. Don't tell a true Rastafari that you
think that Haile Selassie is dead, you will be called a "Bobmaclut" and
the agent of Babylon.
Ganja and Cannabis is needed for Rasta ceremonies like incense in a
church and it is part of the Rasta-Religion.
Sources (Interviews): Süddeutsche Zeitung Nr. 254, November 4./5. 2000