Febuary 6 marks what would be Bob Marley's 65th birthday. Bob is celebrated around the world for his music but I believe that he represents much more. Freedom fighter and revolutionary are overused labels but Bob truly personified the terms. It disturbs me when Bob Marley is held up as a symbol for marijuana lovers, like that's all he represents. Bob Marley gave a voice to the poor and oppressed. He documented the injustices, urged them to fight against the system. For this, he was persecuted and attacked. Because of stupid media portayals, many don't realize that Rastafarians throughout the Caribbean were regularly beaten and jailed until very recently. The spotlight that Bob's music unveiled on the unjust Jamaican political system reaped scorn from the elite and adoration from people in developing countries, struggling for freedom all over the world. I 've visited Bob's hometown of Nine Mile, Jamaica, a tiny fishing village perched in the mountains of Jamaica. His peaceful aura seems to embrace the entire area. Bob is best remembered for his peaceful nature and his revolutionary spirit.
Below is a video for his song, "Time Will Tell," from his Kaya album. He wrote it after he survived an assasination attempt in 1976, right before tumultuous Jamaican elections. He examines the reality of society and the hidden power struggles. "Jah would never give the power to a baldhead/run come crucify the Dread/ Time alone will tell/ think you're in heaven when you're living in hell." Baldheads represent the close-shaven, powerful elite, who often attacked Rastafarians for their opposition of political systems. The murky reality of societies driven by materialism and class hierarchies can indeed fool you into thinking you're living in heaven with all the material comforts but it really is hell as long as others suffer.