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Bob Marley as a National Hero

10/22/09

Permalink 02:49:36 am, by Skillachi
Categories: Religion, Entertainment, Culture

Bob Marley as a National Hero

Further continuing my Heroes Week postings I get to the controversial topic of whether or not our cultural Icon, Robert 'Bob' Marley deserves to be given the title of National Hero. There are many arguments out there for and against this, with the pro arguments speaking to the things that Bob has done for reggae music and for Jamaica and the against arguments speaking to his representation of Jamaicans internationally among other things. However I will look at the argument from as objective a standpoint as possible (of course I do have my own opinions).

I'll start off by stating what Bob Marley means for Jamaica... Of course the obvious answer to this question is that Bob Marley means Reggae. However Reggae isn't something to be taken lightly, especially in the Jamaican context. Reggae is what makes Jamaica... Jamaica, it is a part of our identity. The same way that Baseball is a part of the American identity and Food and wine is a part of the French identity we in Jamaica have reggae.

Reggae has been such an influence on our culture that it has evolved with our culture. From Bob Marley's Reggae, to Dennis Brown's roots rockers reggae, to the modern Bounty Killer and Beenie Man's reggae. Reggae Sumfest alone makes US$5 million dollars for Jamaica alone, and that is simply a 1 week festival. Imagine what the rest of the income from reggae is?

Bob Marley's influence also helped to put jamaica on the map not only in terms of music but also in terms of Tourism. Have you ever heard a Jamaica tourist board commercial? I can guarantee you at least 99% of the time you are hearing a Bob Marley song in the background. Further to this you also have the culture of rastafarianism, this is also a major part of the tourist advertisement which we use to represent Jamaica. So yes we have the beautiful white sand beaches, the lucious forests, flowing waterfalls, and of course dont forget the rastaman cutting a coconut to drink the sweet nectar within.

This is the picture that most everybody in the world has of Jamaica. Rastafarian culture has spread to the point where you can find pictures of Asian Rastafarians and White Rastafarians. People who have gone to great lengths to be a part of the culture which originated here in Jamaica and got popular because of Bob Marley. Of course all of these rastafarians outside of Jamaica must make their trek to the foundation of Rastafarianism ie Jamaica and this of course brings in the Tourist dollar. Whether or not we want to admit it, the tourist dollar is a very important source of foreign exchange for Jamaica, and is one of the greatest sources of foreign exchange for our country. Foreign exchange which we third world citizens greatly need.

However there are the negatives, of course with the picture of Bob Marley or the token rastaman's image in our advertisements... there is also the spliff sticking out of his mouth. For the uninitiated, a spliff is of course the name given to the Marijuana cigarette which some rastafarians smoke as a part of their sacrement. So of course most rastafarians can be seen with a spliff. Bob Marley is well known for this as many of his pictures do have a spliff in his mouth. (Dont believe me... do a google image search or Bob Marley).

So of course this brings negative connotations for Jamaicans as we dont want to be represented as 'weed heads' who simply listen to reggae and smoke marijuana all day. So of course this image isn't readily accepted by Jamaicans.

This to me is the extent of the negative connotation attached to the name of Bob Marley (If you can think of more please tell me). However I challenge people to think of this... would Jamaica be the world renowned country we are now without Bob Marley? Would reggae music have risen in its popularity to the levels which it has without the assistance of this great figure? Without reggae music where would Jamaica be right now?

Is Bob marley "a man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength", or maybe he is "a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities", or "the central figure in an event, period, or movement 4. an object of extreme admiration and devotion"... He certainly covers the most of these categories... maybe he really should be regarded as a hero...

Just something to think about

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Reasons why I love my Jamaican Mom

1. My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait till we get home."

2. My Mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You going get a ass'n when we get home!"

3. My Mother taught me to MEET A CHALLENGE.
"What di backside yu thinkin'? Answer me when me talk to you...Don't talk back to me!"

4. My Mother taught me CONSEQUENCES.
"If yu run cross de road an' cyar lick yu dung, a goin' kill yu wid lick."

5. My Mother taught me THE VALUE OF EDUCATION.
"If yu no go a school, yu a go tun tief or walk an' pick up bottle."

6. My Mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If yu tun over yu eye lid an fly pitch pan it, it a go stay so fi evva."

7. My Mother taught me to THINK AHEAD.
"Is not one time monkey goin' wan' wife"

8. My Mother taught me ESP.
"Yu tink a don't know what yu up to nuh?"

9. My Mother taught me HUMOR.
"If yu don' eat food, breeze goin' blow yu 'way."

10. My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT.
"Come an' tek yu beatin' like man."

11. My Mother taught me about SEX.
"Yu tink say yu drop from sky?"

12. My Mother taught me about GENETICS.
"Yu jus' like yu faada."

13. My Mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Yu tink mi come from "Back A Wall?"

14. My Mother taught me about WISDOM OF AGE.
"When yu get to be as ol' as me, yu wi understan'."

15. And my all time favorite... JUSTICE.
"One day wen yu have pickney, a hope dem treat yu same way."

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