Indigenous Resistance

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Indigenous Resistance


The spirit of resistance is a powerful force in reggae music. In this essay I will explore the ways that resistance is manifested in reggae music and describe examples of indigenous resistance in Jamaica and Mexico. A strong example of indigenous resistance can be found in the Maroon communities of Jamaica. The Maroons were a thorn in the sides of white plantation owners and an inspiration and expression of freedom and autonomy to the Africans. The history of the Maroons describes a group of diverse people who bonded together beyond the fringes of the colonial system to form their own autonomous nation.

Throughout the world indigenous peoples have been resisting and rebelling against the colonial system, also known as the 'Babylon' system to Rastafarians, modern-day descendants of the Maroons. The origins of the concept of 'Babylon' in relation to rastafarianism and indigenous resistance will be discussed in greater detail. The following essay is an exploration of indigenous resistance in Jamaica and throughout the world. Reggae music has evolved as a form of social commentary and because of its international popularity the message is spread around the world.

Reggae music is a meaningful channel for social change. Reggae music portrays resistance to oppression, it is a symbolic action, part of a nonviolent revolution. It is a type of rhetoric; a method of communication designed to influence and persuade. It is a message with a purpose, it represents a crystallization of fundamental issues. Reggae music asks the listener to reconsider our daily lives and to hear the cry of the sufferer, because so many people are suffering. The lyrics and music of Robert Nesta Marley gave reggae music international recognition. Bob was a charismatic performer who truly stands out as a prophet. There is clearly a prophetic overtone to his lyrics yet he was only given the prophetic status after he died. His lyrics operate on a deep level, yet they typically relate to everyday occurrences. Bob's music was and is a powerful force to ease the pain of life in the ghetto. He embodied a feeling of empowerment, and encourages all listeners to 'chant down Babylon'.

Marcus Mosiah Garvey was a philosopher who inspired Rastafarians to resist against the colonial system. He likened the Africans in the Caribbean and Americas to the Jews in the biblical city of Babylon. There are many deep connections between Rastafarianism and Judiasm, and this topic could no doubt warrent much more discussion.
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