The Rastafari Council of Ghana would like to respond to an article published on the center page in the November 2nd 2015 edition of the Daily Graphic. The title of the article is ‘The myth about Rastafari’ written by James Annan. We would like to appeal that you publish this rejoinder also in a center spread edition and thank you in advance for the understanding.
James Annan wrote in his article”Rastafari,A Myth” and we quote some excerpts:
“The Rastafari concept started in the 1920s when a Jamaican-American activist, Marcus Garvey, predicted the total emancipation of black race. His projection was expected to take place after the crowning of a black king”;”Rastas believe that the crowning of His Imperial Majesty (H.I.M), as he was affectionately called, was a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy about the Messiah, since the movement holds many Jewish and Christian beliefs”;”Beginning as a small group in the slums of Jamaica, the Rastafari sect can now boast thousands of members in Africa and other parts of the world”.
“To be identified as a Rastafarian, one must observe the doctrines, beliefs, and tradition of the movement. In order to prevent barrier in communication, Rastas introduced their own dialect widely known as ‘Patois’.”
“Apart from his royalty, Emperor Selassie was an ordinary mortal who cannot be substituted for Jesus Christ or God in any way. It is, of course, blasphemous to confer godly titles on man”.
“The teachings of Marcus Garvey and his prediction about the crowning of a black king, to say the least, was a coincidence that brought Haile Selassie to the religious limelight”.
“In other words, the divine theory about His Imperial Majesty started long before he was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia, but he tactfully declined to be identified as a demigod”.
“it’s important to highlight the origin and concept of Rastafarian movement in order to demystify the myth about “Jah Rastafari”.”
RASTAFARI IS REAL AND A NATURAL WAY OF LIFE
First of all the Rastafari Council will like to commend James Annan for having interest in this honourable and noble way of life and furthermore putting it in the light where people would have the opportunity to know more about Rastafari. Although he is not a scholar of Rastafari and he is not that a qualified person to write about Rastafari but his mere interest shows that he is longing for more knowledge on this way of life.The article he wrote was not based on true neither on accurate source but based on perceptions and assumptions which we would like to share more light for the benefit and education of our benevolent readers.We the Rastafari community would go further to enlighten our readers that this Christ Like way of life is only a consciousness one can attain by living the ways that are right in the eyes of our living creator and for that reason we do not indulge in actvities that are seen to be unholy to us,like taken drugs which weaken the soul etc.
When most people hear the word “Rastafari”, they think of men with dreadlocks, of smoking ganja, and of men with dreadlocks smoking ganja. Basically, they think of Bob Marley(which he noted in his article). In fact, Rastafari is a very serious philosophy that takes much direction from the Bible. While there are some people who claim to be Rastafari just as an excuse to do drugs, there are many true believers, and the public idea of them is often quite inaccurate.Many people are attracted to the idea of being a Rastafari because it means they have a religious excuse to smoke ganja. Some of them may be surprised then that smoking ganja is not only optional for Rastafari but isn’t really all that central to their faith. Some Rastafari simply choose not to smoke ganja at all.
The Echoes of the Memories of Slavery resounded in the minds of the yet unborn of those who passes through the tribulation of Slavery, Truth can only be identified by Truth. So we approach the Haunting Memories of Slavery! we may caution here that we believe, that Education should be a Right and not a privilege, yet Education is limited as the Colonial System Represent. There is an old saying. “They have to fool us to Rule us” The British has completely fool our ancestors to Rule them. But we are made products of our own produce, by our acceptance of their Political System. Here is where I am trying to paint a picture that can be seen by even the Color Blind.
The downpressors write various conflicting Histories on African Slavery,lies, lies, lies, most of the Truth of African Slavery has been written in other foreign languages but not the British.We firmly know that Ruler’s were not made But were Born. We learn that King James version of the Bible was given to our ancestors as valuable treasures of missionaries which was only a camouflage. The real purpose of the Bible was to christianize and civilize our ancestor. This system work for upward of 400 year’s which seem to be our Sentence in this Pit of Hell.Our ancestor worship with the Bible we also worship from the Bible but do not worship the Bible. The faith of Rastafari is unbroken regardless of propaganda, So we will have to present and Represent our fathers Business, the Truth. The Bible was given finally, to our ancestors not before it was fully interpreted by Parson. But faith show us that words used can expound truth. WORD is Power and Power is God. The first Father in any Language we want to give to the world what is owed to them through the Mercy of Creator and King. We, Rastafari are Ethiopians, and by Ethiopia we mean one continent, by Ethiopia we mean the Country Ethiopia (Africa) with its capital Addis Ababa.
By Ethiopia we mean All for One, One for all operating in this manner there can be no failure. The only true interpretation for Africa for Africans.We being in captive Has to admit, to names of those who did pass through great tribulation: Such as Daniel, John,John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, David, Shadrack, Meshek and Abendego, Dreamer Interpreter and Dreadlocks Rasta: All these names are Biblical, but there true identity has reproduces its manifestation. So we invite Human to a travel through Prophesies.
This belief, which is a core part of the Rastafari philosophy, was taken up at the inception of the movement. In the early 1900s, Marcus Garvey prophesied that a new black king would soon come to Africa and that man would be the messiah. Not too long after this, in Ethiopia, a new king was crowned and his name was Haile Selassie I. Seeing this as a sign of what was prophesied, the burgeoning Rastafari movement took this man as the second coming of Jesus. However, while most people would not believe in a second coming of the messiah solely based on prophecy, the Rastafarians wouldn’t either. They point to other evidence as well, particularly the claim that Haile Selassie is related to King Solomon, giving him a connection to Jesus. If Haile Selassie I was the messiah, he kept it very quiet. He himself always denied being a reincarnation of Yashua(Jesus).
In Rastafari, your body is considered your temple, so you need to really take good care of yourself. Part of this can be seen in the philosophy of the Ital diet. However, it goes much further than just eating good food to take care of your health. Rastafari believe that they should let their hair grow long and not taint it with anything unnatural. This all comes down to respecting your body and what it is. You don’t cut your hair, tattoo your skin, or eat bad food. In fact some Rastafari have cited this as the reason they don’t smoke ganja. Some feel that for them personally it’s not good for their health, so they quit smoking.
You might notice this entire article doesn’t refer to “Rastafarians,” except in the title above. You see, Rastafari actually don’t like being referenced that way at all. The reason for this stems from their philosophy. Rastas believe that “ians” and “isms” represent the corrupt “Babylonian” system that oppresses people all over the world. Considering themselves a religion or an ism of any sort is seen as accepting a system that is anathema to what they believe. This means that some Rastafari will actually be quite unhappy with you if you call them a Rastafarian or say that they practice Rastafarianism. Of course this hasn’t stopped scholars who still refer to Rastafari as an “ism” and also classify them as a religion. This latter part has also caused annoyance as some Rastafari don’t like the term “religion” either and prefer to consider their movement a philosophy and or a way of life.
ORIGIN OF RASTAFARI
– Recent Rebirth Foundations
By the end of 1800, a growing self-consciousness amongst former black slaves led to a different, millenarian reading of the bible. Blacks of the diaspora identified themselves with Israel in exile, waiting to return (repatriation) to the promised land of Origin, the Garden of Eden that is Africa/ Ethiopia (Ethiopia as in medieval term, this is the whole of Africa). Common verses in this so called Ethiopianism:
“Psalms 68:31. Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.” and
“Psalm 87:4. behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there. And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.”
We would like to lay emphasis here that Rastafari has been since creation, Africans has always maintained this way of life from time memorial as far back as Moses,Samson,Daniel,Meshach,Shedrach and Abednego to Yashua(popularly called Jesus today) who is of the descendant of David and all these people were black people and of African decent who vowed the vow of a Nazarene(Numbers 6).
“Psalm 68:4.Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him(KJV)
In this verse in the Bible, Jah (Yahh in Hebrew)is a contraction of the root word Jehovah (Yehovah in Hebrew),meaning “the existing one”, the proper name of the one true God. This is the only time Jah is used in the King James Version of the Bible. This word is used and translated as LORD 45 other times in the Old Testament, KJV.
The Rastafari movement began since creation but recently rebirthed in Jamaica, where most of the black population had originally been slaves forced from Africa to work. The movement was started as a means of empowerment. As such, it may not be too surprising that Rastafari as a belief system completely rejects the standards and structure of western society. For a people who had been oppressed by Western society and colonialism, the Rastafari movement was a way to claim back their own way of life. By rejecting the “Babylonian” system that was deemed corrupt and oppressive, Rastafari are able to take back their own culture and connect to their roots. You see, the movement was shaped very much in the beginning by the words of Marcus Garvey who would later on be considered a prophet in Rastafari beliefs. Garvey may never have identified as a Rastafari but he was very vocal when it came to black empowerment and inspired a great many people.
Rastafari often rely heavily on the Bible when it comes to their religious beliefs and yet have their own idea of a paradise. Members of the Rastafari movement feel that they are in a sort of hell or purgatory as their ancestors were removed from their homeland against their will. Africa is their version of Zion. It is a paradise on Earth, and the goal of many Rastafari is to move back to Africa. This is more of a cultural yearning than it is a solely religious belief and makes perfect sense after the colonialist oppression that so many black people faced. For this reason, it is about more than just returning to Africa for most Rastafari. It is actually very much about building Africa into something even better, preserving African culture, and celebrating a way of life that many feel the Babylonian society(Europe and the rest of the west) tried to take away from them.
According to the Kebra Negast, an Ethiopian book (14th century?) that is used to legitimize the Ethiopian dynasty, The Queen of Sheba travelled to King Solomon and gave birth to a child of him, Menelik I. In a vision Solomon sees the sun leaving Israel. Menelik would later on take the Ark of the Covenant with him to ‘Ethiopia’ because God made the covenant now with this offspring of Solomon (and so, the later Ethiopian dynasty). In this imperial bloodline, Haile Selassie is the 225 emperor to sit on the throne. (mark the biblical references here, the emperor is titles ‘the root of David’ and is to be seated on the ‘throne of David’. If a dead Jesus Christ as a white pariah is one side of the story, a living black emperor is the other side, so completing the circle.
This shift of Ethiopia being the ‘future’ Israel isn’t only important for Rastafari or Ethiopian Christendom. Also Jews (Beta Isreal) are living Ethiopia.
As stated before, Emperor Haile Selassie I and His Royal lineage is the only family on earth that can make the claim of being descended from King David and as a result, they are the fulfilment of the promise made to King David in the aforementioned Scriptures. His name, Haile Selassie, translates into “Power of the Trinity.” His legitimacy as a ruler passes through a line of Ethiopian royalty chronicled in the Kebra Nagast (Book of Kings) that includes King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
– Biblical Check
The prophesy (of the coming) of Haile Selassie as a messenger / Second coming Messiah / God on Earth (different readings, see further) is predicted according to some by biblical references. Some Rastafari find this very important while others think the historical editing of the bible through the ages corrupted the original word of God, and ones have to find truth for themselves.
The most important ones:
Rev.5:5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals. (Lion of Judah, Root of David are also HIM titles)
Also Rev. 17:14 “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.”(this is one of the verses that places the italo-ethiopian war in a biblical context)
Rev. 19:14 “Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.
Many phrases are important to Rastafari, some concerning Haile Selassie, others the concept of Jah (Jahovia, Yahweh), the position of Ethiopia, way of life…just remember that the bible is for SOME a proof of his divinity.
We go further and declare that the following Scriptures also prophecy of Emperor Haile Selassie I.
Isaiah 9:6-7 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His Name shall be clled Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, UPON THE THRONE OF DAVID, AND UPON HIS KINGDOM to order it and establish it with judgment and with justice from this time forth and forever.”
Yahshua aka Jesus Christ did not have the government on His shoulder upon the earthly throne of David. Emperor Haile Selassie I did.
Christendom likes to say that we’re still waiting for the second coming of Christ. The children of RasTafari declare that the second coming has already happened and here are the Scriptures to prove it.
Isaiah 11:11-12 “And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His Hand again a second time to recover the remnant of His people which shall be left from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”
We declare that this is the EXACT work done by Emperor Haile Selassie I who set up the ensign, or flag, with the red, yellow and green of Ethiopia with the Conquering Lion emblem which is flown by RasTafarians in the four corners of the world. We also declare that we are the “remnant” who are “the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah”, and Emperor Haile Selassie I is The Lord of lords who has “set His Hand again the second time” to fulfill these prophetic Scriptures.
Haile Selassie I never denied His divinity as many try to claim He did. When asked certain questions on the topic He was very diplomatic in His responses by not claiming or denying His Divinity.
He sent the Ethiopian Orthodox Church to Jamaica to introduce us to the Truth of Christ from an Ethiopian perspective and so we could worship Christ through Ethiopian spectacles. This was a more palatable way for us to come to the Knowledge and acceptance of Yahshua aka Jesus Christ than through the European perspective which was tainted and rejected by many of the descendants of slaves in the Western Hemishphere.He took great pride in the suppression of slavery. When Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935, he personally led troops in the field.
The concept of a Messiah is Divinity – manifest as a Saviour or a Liberator of a people. Rasta is honoured to be a Livity (way of life)which we can actualise with proof of that Messiah, with His Majesty’s Hand written Autobiography, with numerous teachings of HIM recorded on film, radio and documented at the time.
All of this “proof of mortality” of a “Man” does not disprove the Divinity of a Messiah moving within the Earthly body of that Man. Rather, it proves the Reality of a ‘Modern Messiah’, a Messiah whose image cannot be altered in paintings by Italian Renaissance artists, or Hollywood Film directors. Whose words were written down by his own hand… not years later after his death, by someone else.
Technological abilities to record the Truth & the Facts of history, the ‘proof’ of the Reality of I&I Messiah, only strengthen the conviction that this Man was both Earthly and Divine, as the true definition a ‘Messiah’ is.
Haile Selassie I – Spirituality
“The temple of the most high begins with the human body, which houses our life, essence of our existence.
Africans are in bondage today because they approach spirituality through Religion provided by foreign invaders and conquerors.
We must stop confusing religion and spirituality.
Religion is a set of rules, regulations and rituals created by humans which were supposed to help people grow spiritually.
Due to human imperfection religion has become corrupt, political, divisive and a tool for power struggle.
Spirituality is not theology or ideology. It is simple a way of life, pure and original as was given by the most high.
Spirituality is a network linking us to the most high, the universe and each other. As the essence of our existence it embodies our culture, true identity, nationhood and destiny.
A people without a nation they can really call their own is a people without a soul. Africa is our nation and is in spiritual and physical bondage because her leaders are turning to outside forces for solutions to African problems when everything Africa needs is within her.
When African righteous people come together, the world will come together.This is our divine destiny.”
Bob Marley did not deny RasTafari in order to be baptized into the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. He was always a Christian as most RasTafarians who embrace the teachings and lifestyle of our Emperor are. One does not have to let go of RasTafari to embrace Christ, nor does one have to let go of Christ to embrace RasTafari because they are one and the same, manifested on earth in two different generations fulfilling and revealing prophecy.
Modern Ghana, I’m sure you would not accept an article from a RasTafari who tried to write about the history of the correctional centre as being factual. Unless I was a former employee, my article would be viewed as lacking credibility. Once again we appreciate the interest of James Annang about RasTafari and do hope in future scholars of Rastafari be contacted to learn more light about the way of life. You can reach the Rastafari Council of Ghana via;
Postal Address; P O Box LA526, Accra
Tel Number; +233(0)224 3382474,+233(0)244645483,+233(0)243006676