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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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Bruk Pocket Jamaican

"Recently, this Jamaican won the 10 million special lottery for a dollar. As soon as the office of the Lottery Corporation was open on the following day, he was there to collect his winnings.

Graciously, he presented his winning ticket to the clerk and in his best English uttered his request "Me cum fi collect the 10 millian dallars, si me ticket ya".

After reviewing and checking the ticket with his manager, the clerk returned and requested on how he would like his payments. The Jamaican replied "Mi wan all a de moni now". "Unfortunately, Sir" the nervous clerk responded, "The procedures are that we can only give you one million now and the balance equally over the next 20 years".

Furious and agitated, the Jamaican asked for the manager, who re-iterated "Sir, my assistant is correct, it is the regulation of the corporation that we initially pay you one million dollars now with the balance paid to you equally over the next 20 years".

Outraged, the Jamaican slammed his hand on the desk and shouted in anger, "Oonu tek me fi idiat, me wan all a de moni now or oonu gi me bak me rass dallar!!"

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