The Roots of Babylon.

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The Roots of Babylon.

"We know where we're going

We know where we're from

We Leaving Babylon-

We goin to our Father's Land....."

The concept of Babylon plays a central role in Rastafarian Ideology: There is only one other word Rastafarians use with more frequency and passion, and that is the name of their Majestic Ruler, Haile Selassie. People who have even a mild interest in reggae understand what"Babylon"means, yet the roots of the word"Babylon"remain unknown to the masses. To gain a better understanding of this term, it is necessary know the full history of Babylon, which starts 6000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia.

The popular use of the word"Babylon"can be difinitively traced to Marcus Garvey's teachings, which liken the Afro-Caribs in the West to the Jews Exile into Babylon. The institution of slavery created tremendous suffering for those that were enslavedin both of these cases. Many people in Jamiaca are still suffering, due to the successor of slavery, which is racism and poverty. The Bible contains many stories of slavery that describe the hardship that was endured in acncient times, as well as the eventual emancipation from the hardship. Rastas have found much applicable meaning from within the Bible, and it is only natural that they identify with the Jews in Babylon, who faced much of the same obstacles that they themselves face. By labeling the source of their own oppression as"Babylon", the Rastas shed more light on the fact that opression is in fact taking place. This definitive name gives the oppression that they face a center, or a heart, which can be targeted easier. Instead of saying"Injustice must fall","Poverty must be alleviated", or"Jamaican legislation must represent its people", a Rasta need only say"Babylon must fall". When this centralized, encompassing word is used, it provides the Rasta with a target to be passionately against, and increases his sense of unity with his people.

The word Babylon is by no means an arbritary word that is used to describe oppression. Babylon was one of the first cities to ever stand on Earth. It is quite clear that there is much to be learned about this mythical city that will help us to better understand the modern"Babylon system". I believe that the modern definition of Babylon describes a type of mentality that is common to all the institutions that are labeled as being"Babylon". However, the essence of what this midframe is can be most closely encountered through the study of the real Babylon as it grew, prospered and fell thousands of years ago.
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