Empress Nzingha, you wrote:
"In the times that we find ourselves, these things are immaterial. Can a man change my belief because he distorts it for his own mind? No."
How 'bout if he distorts it for others? To me, this is a very material topic as it deals with the notion that Rastafari is only about the music or that it is only a One Love vibe or smoking herb. While I feel those are most certainly significant aspects of Rastafari, they are not all encompassing of what Rastafari IS. So if a one goes around touting these things and telling ones and ones they can make up the rest, is that Rasta? And how does this distortion enrich the movement?
Anyway, as promised, the following was my original response to the topic...
I have been pondering this for a day or so now. Indeed it is a good question as it delves into a lot of the confusion and division between roots Rasta and those who view Rastafari as only a “One Love” movement. As noted, at its root Rasta was birthed out of an acute awareness that the present identity of the Diaspora African was not their TRUE identity. Rastafari is the opening of the Third Eye which allows one to see the unseen and unspoken…it is the remembrance of the forgotten. This is the essence of Rasta that is missed by most, regardless of race. It is the mystic of Rastafari.
I do not see the wide recognition of Rasta as a bad thing. Were it not for the spread of it, I as an African in America might never have been exposed. If there is a problem, it is not that many different types of people are aware of it, or even that they claim it. For how can anyone deny TRUTH? If there is a problem, it could be that the aforementioned essence of Rasta is lost on most. Thus, many make it up as they go rather than starting at the root and then branching out.
Certainly Rasta is One Love, but many fail to see the significance of One Love. Rasta is more than music. If ones cannot see deeper than the rhetoric, that is a problem. Rastafari is an African Liberation Movement at its core. So anyone who denies this is not dealing with the origin, and consequently, the fullness of what Rastafari IS.
Someone told me that when Bob Marley came to America it was to bring the truth of Rastafari to the Blacks in America. Whites just happened to receive the message instead. This does not mean that the message is not still for the Black wo/man first and foremost as it is a directive to regain our identity.
From a broader perspective, “Back to Africa” is more than physical movement back to a land mass. It is that, but it is more than that. Again, it is the mystic that will see that Back to Africa for the Diaspora African must first start in the mind, as with all Creation. For the non-African, why would this be any different? If they are Rasta, why would they not also chant “Back to Africa” if Africa represents (in a broader perspective) a rootical state of mind? In my opinion, it is not so necessary (and in a way it is counter-productive) for non-Africans to want to physically immigrate to Africa. Rather, Back to Africa for the non-African should mean getting back to the root, the authentic Self. Africa is the beginning. So one must go back to the beginning, the purity of mind, body and soul. If any “repatriation” must be undertaken, it should be to repatriate back to one’s true identity first. I feel when one’s find this, they will fully overstand Africa for Africans, Europe for Europeans, China for Chinese, and so on.
To me, it is only right and good that Rasta be spread Iniversally as it is for ALL mankind. What needs to happen, though, is that one’s must seek to open their Third Eye and begin to see what they can never know through experience because it is not their experience. They must see (via the Third Eye) Rasta at its root. It is not exclusive, but one must know where they fit. Each member of the body has a specific purpose and usage. All members make up One Body, but a foot cannot do what the nose does, the bladder can never be the heart. But try to get along without either and life will be difficult, or even cease!
When an real apprecilove and innerstanding of the root is realized, the ideal of One Love will only follow. As ones will repatriate back to their Iriginal Self.
Rastafari Love and Light