Rastas and other Afrocentrics
Posted: Monday, December 6, 2004
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What if Rastas and other Afrocentrics choose not to adopt any ONE idea of 'religion', but take suitable aspects from any and all ideas of religion that emanated from Africa, as Rastafarians have certainly done in part? This way they can identify with all the different ways Africans have always expressed their spirituality, from a position of respect, and in so doing identify with more of nature and Africa as a whole. This way they can make cultural ties with the most distant or remote peoples in Africa. Is this not a move for the better? Only a colonizer or a missionary would want to tell a people that their own way of viewing the world and divinity is wrong, and they should give it up to follow theirs, when such a people are not infringing on other people's right to be different.
Clearly, Africans in different environments saw divinity in its many forms and they paid respect to it. So why should it be too difficult to grasp that the free-mindedness and ongoing reasoning that are an integral part of being a Rasta, can lead people to a greater respect for all of life in its diverse states, and not to be rigid adherents to only one way of perceiving things.
Christianity is part of a colonizing structure to many Africans who felt it was forced on them, and would be viewed differently by members of the Solomonic line and others in Ethiopia who did not experience direct slavery and colonization mixed with Christianity. There are other groups in Ethiopia as well as all over Africa who are quite entitled to view life and divinity in a way that addresses their concerns, and to not be persecuted for being different especially if they are not infringing on other people's right to be different. In other words all Africans are not Christians and we today can learn and respect the diversity, without being imposing.
The fact that Rastas and other Africans disagree with what you propose is a clue that there is way more to the story. Haile Selassie was also a politician who wanted to maintain alliances with certain European powers, including their Pope, as a means of fortifying his 'concept of Ethiopia' (there are others in Ethiopia who disagreed with him). So any right thinking person would be more discerning when dealing with his statements. I am sure you have noticed that many of his statements are not taken up by many Rastafarians, who out of a sign of 'respect' will not publicly disagree, but who also felt and demonstrated that they too have a right to discern and determine their own course.
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