THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am very saddened by the fact that with all of our celebrations for Jamaica's 50th year of Independence, there has been no mention of the contribution of Rastafarians to the culture, psyche, and music of Jamaica. Let's face it: The tourists come to Jamaica not just for sun and fun, but also because of the music and culture.
It is interesting that the Jamaican elite will pay tribute to Bob Marley but not to the message of his music. The reason why Bob Marley and reggae music have great popularity in the world today is because of the influence of Rastafari, which makes a connection (spiritual or otherwise) to the people of the world.
These people, in turn, come to Jamaica to experience the essence of Rastafarianism.
There was also a contribution made by the Rastafarians to the Independence of Jamaica. They were the ones who were agitating and fighting since the 1930s for Independence from Britain.
The fact that the ruling class ended up forming the Jamaica Labour Party and the People's National Party was because the Rastas recognised the fact that it would take educated individuals to run the country, so they acceded to the leadership of the sons and daughters of the colonial masters who were already educated.
The state of affairs in Jamaica is likened to a man who, when he looks in the mirror, straightaway forgets the man that he is and takes on the alter ego of himself, the one created through miseducation and misinformation.
I hope that we will take this time to reflect on where we are coming from as a people, to assess where we are, before we make a decision on where we want to go.
EUGENE L. HAYNES