This note starts with a reference to a Vybz Kartel music video known as Thank You Jah (On and On). The link is provided below;
Its hard to tell but this video speaks out on a lot of pertinent issues. For instance, world imbalance in resource distribution, the plight of women and lack of constructive support from the society to empower them, endless poverty, persistent and needless violence in poor neighbourhoods, despair and hope in the face of that same despair, resignation to the dictates of nature under a Supreme Authority… Jah!
It also decries the prevailing political, social and economic system as oppressive and exposes social suspicions, disparities and stratification underlying interactions between groups of people in our society among a whole host of other issues. Words uttered by a criminal, yes! Brought out in different fashion, granted! However, this does not make the issues brought any less of a reality in contemporary society.
So when you hear reggae is all about the message think twice before you dispute that fact, before you judge a rastaman or any other man for that matter, take a minute… he may have a better understanding of the world around us than you! You may use a lot of jargon but he may be educated. You can claim to be well versed in superficial existence but under no circumstances with the exception of pure ignorance and plain folly can you claim to be brighter, better or more cultured!
Some might concur with my opinion on this matter but might also question the wisdom in using such a controversial figure. Why not Morgan Heritage, Richie Spice or even Bob Marley? He is a convicted criminal on a charge related to murder, bleached his own skin and speaks derogatively of women. Well, indeed he is controversial but is that not the basic essence, is that not the underlying construct of my argument.
All persons have a given and equal capacity to absorb knowledge. This man has absorbed a correct and wholly inclusive understanding of his environment much as a biochemist would understand biochemistry. The bio-chemist can then choose to medicine to cure Aids or a biological weapon to wipe out populations. The artist in question has chosen something similar to the latter. Whether we condemn him or not he serves a purpose and grows in influence much as Hitler grew in strength and influence despite Europe’s opposition. In retrospect, if Jay Z, Sean Carter is a freemason what good did it do to condemn him and his kind? Is he still not going on world tours, are his albums not hitting platinum, is he not richer than he was before the condemnation began? Then I ask, between those who condemn these people and those who are condemned who is the fool?
We are no better those we condemn. Remember we are all sinners. This is especially true because as a society we are an essential part in their creation and we in fact fuel their success by condemning them. Humanity is in itself a prime example of a self defeating mechanism and this is a good example of it. You cannot stamp out something you do not like by stepping on it. More will grow. You must know what its nutritional nourishment is composed of and deprive it of the same.
Then if we are the same and cannot condemn each other how do we uphold the moral fabric of our society? We must then realise that at first, elements of disdain in society are as a result of society itself. To deal effectively with any given situation is to recognise the need to change our society. The need to deal with the root causes of diversionary behaviour from expected norms in society. Once we close this gap, we then leave a vacuüm upon which the likes of those as mentioned adversely in this note cannot flourish. They will not influence the youth. Their message, songs and lifestyles will disappear with them.
When did you last hear a message from the pulpit, from the mosque or from the temple that adequately or accurately described the problems facing today’s youth. When did you last listen and hear them speak against the government, economic system and social stratification outside the confines of hotel luncheons and flamboyant seminars. When did you last feel their sincerity when articulating issues?
For instance, who killed Chemerei? Who killed Mercy Chepkosgei? Why is Ongeri still in office? Why did they hire Tobiko? How do we stop terrorism? All we hear is Willy Mutunga has a stud, reggae is bad and Al Faisal should not be extradited. Again I ask where the sincerity is. When do we make a stand?
Should our youth resign themselves to just singing about issues affecting them. Those they sing along to offer no hope to them, only a reconciliation with reality. Neither does the pulpit or podium, our clergy and leadership speak of matters lacking immediate relevance to the them and matters providing lasting solutions to their afflictions? Is the clergy and leadership not obliged to rise up to the occasion?
The philosophy and way of life in the Holy Books is powerful beyond measure. Why then are they being used so ineffectively? Look at what was done in Europe during the crusades and during the reformation, look at what was done to America during the 1st and 2nd Great Awakening, look at what was done to Iran during the Iranian revolution, look at the Arab Spring , look more closely in 1992 here in Kenya. The time is now. We need a way. We need to rise up!
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