Jamaica-the small Axe, pt 4: Rastaman Chant


“Look to Africa, for there a king will be crowned.”

Marcus Garvey

These three iconic images  are forever linked in the minds of Jamaican and non Jamaicans across the planet

              

They are cultural mainstays, cornerstone (s) of a movement that more than anything else was responsible for putting Jamaica on the world Map.

 However, more significant to the Rasta movement then Marcus Garvey is a man rarely known outside the Rasta movement and but for a few our storians who have studied Rastafari up close.

 

African people, ever since our toxic encounter with European Imperialism and Colonialism….that’s is from the time of the Feudal state now since called Greece…have exhibited a profound dislike for our selves and anything that promotes the self same principles espoused by the Honorable Marcus Garvey. Our heroes and sheroes are never celebrated by the respective elites and governmental entities unless sanctioned by their European masters.  This is the way it is in Jamaica. In fact even still to this day, Rastafari is celebrated in most countries in world, more so than the Island of it’s birth. In fact in the Dying embers of the Brutish empire, Rastafari as a sanctioned religion is accepted, but not so in Jamaica. Now, I would never advocate for any religion, but how can Rasta be treated as nothing but a side show in Jamaica? I am not talking about idiots, who leave their hair uncombed and go around besmirching the name and past struggle of legitamate Rastas, by committing immoral and anti social acts.  As a child I grew up at a time and in an environment when Rasta was relevant as a new, radical yet severely ostracised movement. I witnessed, as a child, the beatings, the social abuse, the media abuse, the po lice abuse…and still they remained strong, and magnetized to them the minds and heart of the young people despite the protest of their stodgy colonial brainwashed parents. Like all things the Rastafari movement had a begining, which was the inspirational prophecy of  Marcus Garvey, followed by the fulfilment of Salassie’s coronation. But it was this man; whether you believe in Rasta or not, this warrior like my spiritual great grand Uncle Nat Turner, who took the bible to another level and infused it with an African beat.

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Leonard Howell—the first Rasta

 A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.

Marcus Garvey

Thomas and Clementina Howell were successful farmers and being fiercely independant, instilled that same fiery sense of independence in their son, Leonard, who was born  in Clarendon, Jamaica on June 16th 1898. The provided their son with opportunities that would enhance his intellectual and social capabilities. By his early twenties, the burgeoning Pan-African movement enticed the young Leonard to travel by ship to New York City, and to search through its boroughs to discover the epicenter of the African American civil rights movement, Harlem.

Howell arrived in New York to find an intensity of prejudice, anti-African hatred, and social oppression much more than he had imagined. It was after one such personal encounter that he dedicated his life to fight against anti-African hatred and social oppression. Within months after his decision, Howell plunged himself into preaching his visionary message across America. The power of his word drew invitations from dignitaries across the world including Europe, UK and the Motherland Africa.  By the late 1920’s his message had reached the ears of the likes of  W.E.B. Dubios, Heads of States such as Beniot Sylvain Of Ethiopia, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Bishop Johnson Of Nigeria, and  Jomo Kenyatta amongst others.  In 1932 Howell returned to Jamaica with an urge to share his wealth of knowledge with his fellow Jamaicans.

He was pleased to find on his arrival, that the message of his majesty’s crowning as Ras Tafari had already been embedded by Marcus Garvey and his Pan-African movement – The UNIA. He set about spreading his message throughout the shanty towns and tenement yards which were scattered on the outskirts of Kingston. By word of mouth his message reached thousands more in other despondent communities throughout Jamaica, galvanizing the oppressed. Howell’s fundamental philosophy was not much different from that  of the Marcus Garvey.  But his intense focus on social and economic empowerment through self sufficiency soon became a problem, not only for the Jamaican government, but also for UNIA founder Marcus Garvey. Garvey advised Howell at one point to take a much more passive approach in disseminating his message and systematic re-education of the mentally enslaved lower social strata. His decision to stand his ground soon led to rift between the two that unfortunately was never mended. To this day, philosophical differences have been the main wedge that forever, prevents Pan-African groups from ever merging and becoming the Juggernaut they should be.

Howell’s concept of the black God and ultimate supremacy of Africa slowly began to become an item of growing concern amongst the Cauasian socialites and heads of state in Jamaica, as well as with their house niggers, who didn’t want their regular crumbs, from massa’s table  to be interrupted. However, it was not until his land purchase of over 500 acres in Sligoville, St. Catherine, was Leonard Howell whitelisted by the Jamaican society, becoming the country’s most hated and vilified man in the country’s extensive our story.  This purchase of land which he named the Pinnacle ignited within Jamaica a mini-exodus. Thousands of despondent members of Jamaica’s lower class moved to Howell’s new nation. Pinnacle was the birth place and the center of the Rastafarian movement.

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God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement.

Marcus Garvey

 An African village in Jamaica empowered and preserved by self sufficiency, re-education, and healthy living by consuming organic plants and vegetables, was for many the promised land of the bible. The experimentation of naturalism led to the development of a myriad of herbal root concoctions such as tonics, and medicines that are still produced today. Unique creative art forms emerged during this period of African centric Renaissance. The grassroots poetry movement known as Dub Poetry, Intuitive Art Masters, and world renowned musicians were spawned and inspired by The Pinnacle.  This was the place where the Rastafarian mantra of “oneness” was conceived; and Howell even designed the divine structure and principles of what is now known today as the “Nyabinghi Order”.

The Jamaican Secret Service(an oxymoron, because they were all Caucasians) working under the strings of the British MI5 puppeteers, began compiling a dossier on Leonard Howell after his landmark case against the Jamaica Government on behalf of the newly formed Rastafarian movement to establish an independent nation within the island. He was tried and charged on a one count of sedition and sentenced to twenty four months in prison. During this time The Pinnacle sustained and mushroomed and on his release in 1936, Howell was secretly considered the biggest enemy of the State.

By the late 1930’s Howell was labeled by the non African and knee-grow sycophant middle and upper class as one of Jamaica’s most dangerous social influences, and the evident fact of the growing impact on the lower class did not help his reputation. His intense hard lined allegiance to Haile Selassie led to Local government officials and the Brutish monarch having concerns in regards to his “implicit allegiance to a foreign King”, (holy Irony batman!!!) as recorded in a report by a member of the Jamaica Secret Service.  His condemnation of the Christianinsanity and the European Church led to thoughts of insurrection and images of revolt.  It came to a boiling point in 1954 with one of the first joint police/military operations in Jamaica. Under orders from Prime Minister Bustamante on special advisement from the  Monarch, a battalion of soldiers, police and select members of the Jamaica Secret Service executed a pre-emptive raid on The Pinnacle and destroyed the village, farmers, homes, and schools that had been constructed, leaving thousands homeless.

Many Refugees of The Pinnacle found shelter in Coral Gardens, another Rasta Village that had sprung up in the early 40’s and that too found itself a victim of social persecution and destruction which led to a number of deaths in 1960. Shortly after the raid on Coral Gardens, The Pinnacle was re-established but again fell prey to an onslaught of raids and unjustified curfews, that led to hundreds of male Rastafarians being locked up and lost in the Grip of the colonial prison system. The few who escaped found refuge in the back-o-wall shanty towns and tenement yards of the ghettos of Kingston. Other emissaries of the movement, such a Mortimer Planno and Ras Sam Brown continued spreading the word of Rastafari amongst Jamaica’s downtrodden. These disciples carried with them the seeds of creativity and spiritual passion that has kept the movement alive until today. It was with these seeds and essence of creativity from which the musical art form known as reggae was spawned.

In the mid 1970’s a group of Rastafarians returned to occupy a small portion of land belonging to The Pinnacle, and helped support and provide for the aged Howell who died in an infirmary in 1981, labeled a mad man. In his lifetime Howell had been arrested, incarcerated and was sent to Jamaica’s Mental Institution over (50) fifty times. The Jamaican government has confiscated millions of dollars from Howell and frozen The Pinnacle’s bank accounts for nearly half a century under the clause that it was money derived from ganja production.  At today’s economic standards, these funds have escalated to tens of millions of dollars that could be used to re-establish The Pinnacle and further aid the mission of Rastafari, whose Mantra “One God, One Aim, One Destiny” became the war cry for a movement that has gathered millions of members from around the world, of all races, establishing itself as one of Jamaica’s strongest and most recognized cultural identities. This money no doubt was given to the Brutish Queen Elizabitch as no colonial or neo colonial nations have ever not paid their taxes off the backs of the people to satisfy the coffers of tha devils shitstym.

Today a  myriad of people, who now sport “dreadlocks”, is atonement to the influence of Rastafari globally, but is also an insult in that dreadlocks is a fashion statement, meant to diminish the struggle of Rastas and the Land and people party of Kenya, whose liberation struggle under Jomo Kenyatta, spurned these Jamaican rebels to wear the locks in their honor. When you have Caucasians, Asians, homosexuals and knee-grows, who wouldn’t be caught dead in a Rasta compound, stealing the identity of a True African spiritual movement of the 20th century, then you know that all that Rasta stood for, died for and are vilified and ridiculed for, needs to be protected and celebrated. While Marcus Garvey is rightfully said to be the most influential man in the 20th century, the movement that Leonard Howell started has taken over from the UNIA as the most influential movement of the 21st century. Unfortunately, if there is one thing members of both groups could ever learn from their founding fathers is that African Unity will forever be a defense against anti-African designs that circumvents authentic African manifest destiny and progress. The one love that Rastafari espoused is for Africans at home and abroad, not for anybody else to use as an excuse to smoke weed and look for “jungle fever sexcapde

If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.
Marcus Garvey

 

The 6 principals of Leonard Howell

In 1933, Leonard Howell gave the Rastafarians six principles:

(1) hatred for the White race

(2) the complete superiority of the Black race

(3) revenge on Whites for their wickedness

(4) the negation, persecution, and humiliation of the government and legal bodies of Jamaica

(5) preparation to go back to Africa and

(6) acknowledging Emperor Haile Selassie as the Supreme Being and only ruler of Black people.

If one claims to be Rasta, then should they not follow the principals of the FATHER of the Rastafarian movement? Should they be like Morgan Heritage and sing nonsense that you don’t have to have locks to be a Rasta? Is the current compromise with Babylon a conscious choice because so many Caucasians have joined the movement and or is it because the six principles are too strong for modern people, who have never been treated like dogs, but are too willing to go along to get along?

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