Monday, July 23, 2007

Why I Follow King Selassie I

Many Rastas throughout the world can be heard, in nearly every breath, shouting the name "Selassie I!" and "Rastafari!" It is an expression used in greetings, in music, in the everyday vernacular of those who follow or support the philosophy and movement of Rastafari. Often times it is habitual and people never really stop to check and learn about their namesake, H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I. Besides the declarations of his name, his image is equally pervasive. It can be found everywhere, on stickers, on clothing. Even if people may not know exactly who he is, I am sure they have seen his image. Today, July 23rd, is the Earthstrong, or birthday, of King Selassie I. Instead of writing another blessed but sometimes clich├ęd tribute, I thought I would briefly share why I personally sight up Selassie I. I will not be speaking about why, as a Rastaman, I love H.I.M. but as to how the world can plainly see his greatness. Put aside the prophecy, theological, mystical, and the legendary traditions of His Majesty, I will keep it basic.

So, why would I, a Caucasian male of Italian ancestry, choose to follow King Selassie I and identify myself as Rastafari? For me it is a relatively simple answer. Mankind has always looked to find a leader who embodies a spirit kindred with that of God's, or what others may call a "higher power", and a leader who inspires others to follow in his wake. When Ras Tafari Makonnen was crowned as Haile Selassie I (The Might of The Trinity) he truly was a living testimony to his coronation title and its adjuncts, "King of Kings"... "Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah"... "Elect of God" and "Defender of the Faith". The Ethiopian royal family also traces its roots to Israel, to the loins of King Solomon, and for those who believe, this history certainly is another divine attribute added to the character of King Selassie I. Yes, there have been kings on this earth since the beginning of human civilization, and many also have claimed an ancient lineage worthy of praise. However it was never on the merit of this history or these titles that made Haile Selassie I great. His trod on this earth was his testimony:

He was progressive. H.I.M. Haile Selassie I modernized his country and promoted education. By working to economically develop Ethiopia, he helped meet the basic human needs of the poor and helped to restore their dignity. Ethiopia became the standard-bearer for the Africans who had suffered poverty because of the policies of others. Selassie I helped restore African confidence... and instill an African conscious in people of all nations worldwide.

He was not a warmonger. Even after Mussolini invaded Ethiopia and the blood of thousands was shed, Selassie I did not cry out for blood in return, but for justice, and fought to expel the fascists from his ancient country with righteous conviction and not vengeance.

He was ecumenical. Selassie I was a devout follower of the ancient Christian tradition of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Despite his strong beliefs, he worked to build unity between the Christian churches and build friendships with other world faiths. Instead of creating more friction with Islamic countries surrounding Ethiopia, he helped organize peaceful dialogues with their leaders. He even built a relationship with Vatican City, a topic of much taboo for most Rastas.

He was a wise leader. Selassie I helped create the OAU and fought for the liberation of all Africans, at home and abroad. He spoke a message to the world at the UN conference in 1963 which is still absolutely pertinent to what is happening today in the African continent and to other nations fighting the ghost of colonialism. His Majesty was a living symbol, the black King from the East, the cradle of humanity, and showed that Africans at home and abroad were also kings and queens in their own right.

He was an ambassador. His Majesty met with leaders from all over the world, many nations, many creeds, many colors. He asked that they learn more about his people, the Ethiopians, the Africans. That the world, and the great powers such as America, learn more about their backgrounds, their culture, strengths, weaknesses, hopes and desires. Selassie I called for the cooperation of all nations of the world and believed everyone shared in universal principals. He was strongly adamant against the aggressive behaviors of those who chose to use their resources to oppress and exploit other countries.

He was a man of faith. Selassie I had the Mind of Christ. This is profound and could mean many things to many people. In the very least it is a testimony to his spirituality and his connection to God. It was evident in his words, his teachings, and most significantly in his character and his actions. Selassie I loved the wisdom of the Bible and saw relevance for its application in the world. His love for God, and for the human family was a gentle and righteous love. It is no wonder why Rastas magnify Selassie I's name.

These few examples that I provided above do not require any mystical epiphany or some deep reasoning with an elder Rastaman. These are examples recorded in history, found in any honest schoolbook, and patently obvious in the many speeches, photos and footage available to the public. These are the works of H.I.M. Haile Selassie I, a monument to his name. Why do I love King Selassie I? Look at the world today, look at the politicians, the religious leaders, the heads of governments. Look at all these warmongers, these supposed godly men, these tricksters. Tell me, who can even come close to embodying everything His Majesty did? Who in this time has had the same amount of respect and reverence shown to him by people all throughout the world? The way King Selassie had Christ in his consciousness is the greatest example to the rest of the world. Many would argue Selassie I is the most visible example of the Spirit of JAH since over 2,000 years, worthy to be called King of Kings, a new name and a new hope for JAH children everywhere. He was a man of modest physical stature, but his words are echoes of the voice of JAH, his character a reflection of His divine spirit... both the lamb to the slaughter, and the conquering lion. How I sight up His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I is not important, what is important is how I share with the world all that He has taught me. I follow His Majesty because he has proven himself worthy to bust the seven seals, to teach the world, and I love Selassie I because I truly see the manifestation of JAH within him. Some believe that H.I.M. has passed on, but I know that he has not, because he lives within my heart, and each utterance of the Rastaman brings him to life in the minds and hearts of the hungry, the naked, the aged, the infants, the naked. Who is like unto thee oh Haile Selassie I? The world shall see... JAH Rastafari!

Blessed Love & Happy Selassie I Earthstrong,
JAHsh Concurz

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Iron Appetite

Iron Appetite

I take a seat on the bench beside the bar
And order a 45 or two
Matter of fact, make that a few
Oh no, wait a sec... you thought?
No, no, I don't deal with the malt liquor or steel trigger
I could see how you might misunderstand
But I am on a diet of strictly iron, man
So please push me a few plates of those heavy weights
Pile them on, extra helpings
Now, that's what I'm talking about

I'm braced, ready to take a bite
I can just about taste it
Teeth clenched...
Even the air molecules between my molars
Have been crushed to oblivion
Arms extended, feels like a ton
Hold on
Somebody's tail is wagging, begging for scraps
I don't have none of that
See spotter run...
I'm eating this on my own
Arms extended, feels like a ton

Persistence meets resistance
I can feel the burn
Igniting a fire in my fibers
But I like my food picante
Sweat beading on my forehead
Dripping into my eyes
No pain no gain, no compromise
Eleven more repetitions
Then I'm all set

Nearby is my greatest fan
Standing over my shoulder
Blowing on my neck
She's cool and all
Except she's oscillating
And gets around…
I'm better off hot
I got to be focused
Solid as a rock

I don't even chew, I devour
Like a hungry lion, sheer power
Consuming fistfuls of metal
Enough iron to put me on the level

More plates... delicious
So vicious, I eat until I'm sore
When my body can't take anymore
Then I've gotten my fill...
And as for the bill?
I have them keep a tab
Paid first of the month
So I can munch any day and night
Satisfying my iron appetite

JMC
7/21/07
(c) 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

Farmah Man Seed

Farmah Man Seed

Met a farmah man and him gimme a lickle seed
Said come yah son, plant dis it's what yuh need
Him said ef plant good seed, yuh reap good fruit
I tell yah man, it come straight fram de root
He said it must come straight fram de root

And I took it, stow it weh in meh pocket
Gone inna me yard, dig up de earth, and drop it
Cover up de hole, ah pat it dung wid ah spade
To grow de seed dat de farmah man gave
De sun become brutal, it mek de dirt inna dust
But protecting disyah seed is a must, I trust
So I bring wata in bucket loads fram de well
To douse de scorched earth, cause it hot as hell

Nothing left fe do but just sit dung an wait
Den I see de seed I sow begin germinate
Dirt beneath me nails and sweat on me brow
Keeping weh all pests, all de rabbits and fowl
Got to guard de leaves and tender green stem
Protect it like a faddah watch over him children
Soon come, lickle seed become a giant shady tree
Just like dem parable dat the Savior teach me

Grown enough to fill a whole heap ah bushel
Yes, so much, de harvest time get crucial
After so lang, enjoying the sweet fruit of meh labor
So good, now I must share it wid me neighbor
Then a take a portion of meh bountiful crop
Give to pickney along side road and pile atop
An seh, cooyah lickle bwoy, don't drop
Meh seh, bring it to yah Mama and yah Pop
To yuh bredda, sista, uncle and yuh aunt
Galang me son, and never go fe stop

Yes, and I tell him in case he done forgot…
I-man said ef plant good seed, yuh reap good fruit
I tell yah man, it come straight fram de root
I said it must come straight fram de root

JMC
7/20/07