Why a Singular Focus for Rasta?
Posted: Friday, September 19, 2003
by Pianke Nubiyang
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I realize there are many people in Rastafari who are not aware of the core and roots of Rastafari on the level that Haile Selassie would have dealt with it, or how our ancestors dealt with it.
We must understand that religion in African tradition is a way of life, not a ceremony that takes place on Sundays. Music and dancing, worship, recognition of ancestors, recognition of elemental forces, the study of the planets (as in Dogon religion) the initiation of males and females, the practice of dance and martial arts (like when the Brazilians practice capoeira or the Dogon do the Sigle dance to mimic the path of the Sirius star and its system): these are practices that are filled with sacred meaning.
Yet, we must also realize that nature in its wisdom, and the Divine Mind of the Universe, is about positivity. It is said that survival is for the "fittest"; however, nature and God programmed survival to be for the smartest as well as those who can endure.
If we look at economics or a just society in general in the United States, what do we see? We see conditions arising that lead to genocide of Black folk: AIDS, confinement, divorce, voilence, family breakups, intermarriage, gentrification, homelessness, lack of employment, and being pushed aside by other more aggressive groups of people. Imagine, people who used to be veterans in wars have become the weakest of Americans becaue of not having that type of power and strength that is within us and needs to be used at all times. In order to use that power to ensure our survival, we must seek knowledge, seek the truth and apply it for our benefit.
Hence, we are in our right to recognize and worship, but we must also realize that we are living on planet Earth and we are no longer slaves. The slavemaster told us to forget about living a decent life on earth and instead work on his plantation, be obedient, accept poverty, and we shall all go to heaven. Meanwhile, the slavemaster continues to enslave us and has us working for him/her as beasts of burden.
Believe me, this trickery is also found in other types of religion where oppression of Blacks is the core of the practices at the highest levels of these religions. Take a look at the June Issue of National Geographic about India's Dalits or "Untouchables," or better yet, read A History of Racism and Terrorism, Rebellion and Overcoming pub. by www.xlibris.com or The Black Untouchables of India by V.T. Rajshekar www.claritypress.com
If we sit back and do not use our intelligence to help elevate, protect and save our people by teaching them survival skills as well as spiritual and other benefits, we are not going to survive to carry on our mission. One cannot expect to be effective when one is struggling to survive. Hence, one has to know one's true history.
That history will show that in order to survive there must be a strong economic, educational and political foundation. If one looks at Judaism, Christianity or the Khemite/Egyptian religions before, one will notice that they were the strongest institutions in the cultures in which they existed. The Egyptians and Nubians were strong scholars; they were the first People of the Book and they studied. The Jews and Christians continued this tradition.
To promote the African point of view in Rastafari is the way to go as far as I am concerned. I have read on Buddhism, Hinduism and Shinto as well as Judiasm, Islam and Christianity. All these religions have at their core the recognition and practice of their native cultures. So what's wrong with returning Rastafari to the African core? There is of course the spiritual aspect and there is the cultural aspect. The cultural aspect is ancient and modern African culture and civilization. The countries of origin are Egypt, Nubia, Ethiopia and since most of us in the Americas are of the Mende-Kongo linguistic and cultural group of Africa, recognizing that part of our being is also very important.
We are not being complelte if we simply are applying only a small piece of all we can be. Is there a system of temple building with an African style of architecture for Rastafari temples?
Is there a system of meditation and spiritualism making use of the mystic powers that the original seers used?
What about our sacred texts? There are many of course, including the Kebra Negashi. Shouldn't we be working to revive the cultural and moral benefits that come out of African culture and help return them to the people in a time when we are being bombarded with filth all over the air and when the enemies of Black people/Africans and people of good will are spreading some of the most vile and racist propaganda against Blacks since the Nazi era?
We should have control of media to include radio and television stations so we can spread a message of unity and upliftment on both the spiritual and secular basis.
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