by Sadhu Govardhan
Much of my life, Bob Marley accompanied me in the form of his music. He has inspired me for decades, and I feel gratitude towards him. He is without a doubt the most influential musician of the century and he needs no introduction. He has hundreds of millions of fans around the globe, but what particularly strikes me about him is that his work is gaining even more meaning as time goes by. He is the champion of all suppressed and exploited. The simple man. You. Me.
His message is powerful and prophetic. Some may fully understand the truth of his message, while the vast majority rarely picks up on how powerful and true it actually is. Only a few implement his message into their lives, which is unfortunate. I hope that these excerpts and comments to some of his lyrics will increase the awareness of how important it is to stay connected to Bob Marley and rare, empowered individuals like him.
AMBUSH IN THE NIGHT
How much more pertinent can a song title possibly be? While we were all sleeping, our planet has been destroyed and our future has been stolen.
"See them fighting for power
But they know not the hour
So they bribing with their guns, spare-parts and money,
Trying to belittle our
They say what we know Is just what they teach us;
And we're so ignorant
'Cause every time they can't reach us
Through political strategy
They keep us hungry
And when you're gonna get some food
Your brother got to be your enemy
If there is one thing he clearly knew beyond the shadow of a doubt, it was how the system works: Modern governments have perfected the art of manipulation and ruthless exploitation. The most important supplies for mankind, such as food and energy, are all centralized so that they can be turned on or off - as needed. The level of control , manipulation and exploitations has reached a frightening level. A human life has no more value today. Civil rights are a thing of the past. For modern governments, we only have two identities: to be a surrendered consumer and an even more surrendered taxpayer. Beyond that, we have zero value in their eyes.
“Baldhead" and "Babylon" are terms that refer to the establishment that runs our countries.
“I and I build a cabin
I and I plant the corn
Didn't my people before me
Slave for this country
Now you look me with a scorn
Then you eat up all my corn”
Simple people build a simple society: we all need a roof over our head, some food, the basics. All of these things can be provided by an agrarian society. There is no need for a stock market, no need for a war mongering army, no need for centralization of any sort. But all of this has gradually been taken away from us. In return, we are getting dangerous food, toxic building materials or carcinogenic clothing, and are made sick so that we have to buy the system’s equally dangerous medicine.
“Build your penitentiary, we build your schools
Brainwash education to make us the fools
Hate is your reward for our love
Telling us of your God above”
Instead of allowing freedom, the system forces us to provide whatever the elite needs the most in order for them to stay in power. One of their main tools is brainwash education – yes, practically all of modern education is nothing but brainwash education, meant to keep a self-destructive system going strong. But no matter how much we surrender, hate is still their reward. This hate can be felt quickly once we question the system.
“Here comes the conman
Coming with his con plan
We won't take no bribe, we got stay alive”
Most of us have taken the bribe in order to fit into society. Only a few managed to stay alive.
“Them crazy, them crazy
We gonna chase those crazy
Baldheads out of town
Chase those crazy baldheads
Out of town”
Bob always had hope that one day “the movement of the people” would finally wake up and chase those crazy oppressors out of town. Unfortunately, these oppressors are pulling their strings cleverly and control countries with frightening ease. The very concept of a “movement of the people” has become unrealistic because the system has done everything required to prevent such a thing. Once the masses have been manipulated to the extend that they have become surrendered and gullible sheeple, no sane movement can ever rise. But Bob Marley’s conclusion is still correct: at one point, these ruthless oppressors will need to be chased out of town in order to establish a society in tune with nature.
What I particularly like about Bob Marley is that he was always concerned about people’s welfare and that he never gave up on instilling hope.
“How can you be sitting there
Telling me that you care
That you care?
When everytime I look around
The people they are suffering
In every way, in every where”
Although it is self-evident that the world has become a place of indescribable suffering, we are all being trained to look away. Watch TV. Go to the movies. Check out the next party. But anyone who can open his eyes, can see how billions of innocent animals are slaughtered on a regular basis; how millions of children go hungry and die; how millions of people are forced out of their lands and homes in order to make way for new development; how mother earth is raped and tortured. These are just some of many atrocities and there’s no end in sight.
“So my brethren, my sisthren
Which way will we choose?
We better hurry, oh hurry
'Cause we got no time to lose”
Bob Marley knew that we would eventually run out of time if we didn’t act fast. We haven’t acted fast, which means that we chose the wrong side: to comply with the system and go along with its self destructive schemes.
“In this age of technological inhumanity
We're the survivors black survival
Scientific atrocity, we're the survivors
Atomic mis-philosophy, we're the survivors
It's a world that forces lifelong insecurity”
These lines are some of Marley’s most brilliant lyrics. Even decades ago, he understood clearly how technology would destroy anything humane. People are no longer treated like human beings but are treated like numbers or machines. The concept of “black and white” has changed over time: in the past, white was considered to be white, and black was considered to be black. Today, the elite is “white” (no matter their skin color), and the rest (99%) are all “black”.
“Scientific atrocity,” “atomic mis-philosophy,” “nuclear mis-energy” are all brilliant neologisms. The worst atrocities against mankind and the planet are all committed by science. (No wonder, that the majority of scientists in the U.S. are directly or indirectly employed by the military industrial complex – a professional and legal enterprise of murderers). He also knew long ago how humans’ insatiable desire to waste unlimited energy would lead to a nuclear industry, and how all of this would result in “lifelong insecurity”. The planet has indeed never been as insecure as it is today.
In order to feel guilty, it requires one to have a conscience.
“Guiltiness (talkin' 'bout guiltiness)
Pressed on their conscience. Oh yeah.
And they live their lives (they live their lives)
On false pretence everyday -
each and everyday. Yeah.”
Today’s leaders and those who control them, have proven to have no more conscience. They are willing and able to turn all their forces against their own people at any time. Whether they poison our air, our water, or soil, our seeds or our food, they will still make us believe that they are doing the best they can.
“These are the big fish
Who always try to eat down the small fish,
just the small fish.
I tell you that: they would do anything
To materialize their every wish.”
This comparison has never been truer than in the present: the rich become richer while the rest becomes poorer. Their strategy behind this concept: eat whatever is smaller. Human greed knows no limits, and the more powerful people become, the worst they are afflicted by blind greed. While some can spend billions or destroy the infrastructure of entire countries, they make sure that the victim will have to take the blame.
I SHOT THE SHERIFF
This title and song raised eyebrows as soon as it went around the world.
“Sheriff John Brown always hated me,
For what, I don't know:
Every time I plant a seed,
He said kill it before it grow -
He said kill them before they grow.”
The system always hates those who know fully well how it works. I mean, how would you feel if you worked for a certain government agency and someone could prove that this very same agency is the biggest drug dealer on the planet? Or that most wars on the planet today are started by secret government agencies? Today’s small farmers are in exactly that same position: their seeds are killed (genetically modified) before they grow. Why? Because modern governments fear nothing more than an agrarian society, one that can take care of all of its own needs in life. So, let’s kill such a movement before it can grow.
As a wise man once said: “You never change things by fighting existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” This does not mean, however, that we won’t have to fight simultaneously to protect the world from those who destroy it.
“Oh Read it in the news:
I shot the sherrif.
But I swear it was in self-defence.
Where was the deputy?
I say: I shot the sheriff,
But I swear it was in self-defence."
Reality can only be read or heard in the news today. Those who control the news, also control reality. If the news tells the world that we shot someone, then we did. If the government shoots whomever they want, it’s always legitimate. The news can fabricate black sheep as much as they can make up white sheep. This has never been exhibited more blatantly than in recent and current history.
“Oh it's a disgrace to see the
Human-race in a rat race, rat race
You got your horse race
You got your dog race
You got the human-race
But this is a rat race, rat race”
Embarrassing but true. Even a dog race has some dignity, compared to our rat race.
“Political voilence fill ya city
Don't involve Rasta in your say say
Rasta don't work for no C.I.A.
Rat race, rat race, rat race”
The line “rasta works for no CIA” was one of Marley’s repeated death sentences. There were several attempts made on his life (Bob Marley was watched by the CIA for most of his life) but even though he had to die young, his message was already out. In that sense, he was never killed because his message will always be alive, as a warning for all of those who can hear him.
“If you don’t work for the system – you are automatically its enemy”, no matter how good or beneficial your action may actually be for this world. Bob Marley had to pay the price for his being so outspoken, but it ultimately only elevated him even higher.
Although reality is the first thing we should all be able to see in our daily lives, it’s the last most people see.
“Check out the real situation:
Nation war against nation.
Where did it all begin?
When will it end?
Well, it seems like: total destruction the only solution,
And there ain't no use: no one can stop them now.
Ain't no use: nobody can stop them now.”
In some ways, Marley was a dreamer and idealist, but he was also a realist. “No one can stop them now” is an undeniable truth. People have become too weak to stop the derailed train, so destruction will have to become the cause of any possible paradigm shift. Of course, the powers who run the world are prepared for the day when the system will crash, and they have put everything in place to rule again once the smoke clears. As long as they are able to keep all powers centralized, they will keep the upper hand. Only full and complete decentralization and countless units of autonomous and sustainable communities can render them powerless.
“Give them an inch, they take a yard;
Give them a yard, they take a mile”
Greed knows no limits and therefore the system or “man eaters” (how our leaders are seen by many), is like a junkie who never has enough (power to oppress).
SO MUCH TROUBLE IN THE WORLD
If we were to summarize the state of affairs in this world, this would be the summary.
“So much trouble in the world
So much trouble in the world
Bless my eyes this morning
Jah sun is on the rise once again
The way earthly things are goin'
Anything can happen.”
Never has this been truer than it is today. We have created an arsenal of weapons (paid for by you and me) that can blow up the planet several times over. These weapons are commodities that have to be sold and used before they become obsolete. Thus, anything can happen at any time.
“You see men sailing on their ego trip,
Blast off on their spaceship,
Million miles from reality:
No care for you, no care for me.”
Again, a beautiful summary of how those who control the direction this world is taking, think. Indeed, its a glimpse into the minds of people with demoniac mentality. While they engage us to help them destroy the planet, they tell us that we are the most advanced society in history.
“So you think you've found the solution,
But it's just another illusion!”
Whatever solution anyone ever tried to give to the world, it has been hijacked, distorted, turned into the exact opposite and sold back to us. Nothing good can survive for long in a society that is designed to destroy goodness. It’s not that there is no solution, but solutions are not as easily realized than most would expect.
“Now they are sitting on a time bomb;
Now I know the time has come:
What goes on up is coming on down,
Goes around and comes around. “
Marley takes solace here in knowing and understanding the law of karma. He knew perfectly well that their time will come, just like the time of those will come who have been strong enough to act upon higher principles, and who were never fooled by the system.
A good term to describe the elite.
“They don't want to see us unite:
All they want us to do is keep on fussing and fighting.
They don't want to see us live together:
All they want us to do is keep on killing one another.”
War is required in order to maintain our system. The more there are wars, the easier it is to manipulate and keep people under control. Our top ranking needs us to fuss and fight, and if we don’t they will make sure we do. Divide and conquer, then exploit.
Without a doubt, one of the most powerful songs ever written. The origin of these lyricsis almost literally derived from a speech made by the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, delivered before the United Nations in 1963.
“What life has taught me
I would like to share with
Those who want to learn...
Until the philosophy which hold one race
Superior and another inferior
Is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned
Everywhere is war, me say war
That until there are no longer first class
And second class citizens of any nation
Until the colour of a man's skin
Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes
Me say war
That until the basic human rights are equally
Guaranteed to all, without regard to race
Dis a war
That until that day
The dream of lasting peace, world citizenship
Rule of international morality
Will remain in but a fleeting illusion
To be pursued, but never attained
Now everywhere is war, war
And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes
that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique,
South Africa sub-human bondage
Have been toppled, utterly destroyed
Well, everywhere is war, me say war
War in the east, war in the west
War up north, war down south
War, war, rumours of war
And until that day, the African continent
Will not know peace, we Africans will fight
We find it necessary and we know we shall win
As we are confident in the victory
Of good over evil, good over evil, good over evil”
Africa may be the currently most exploited continent by Western forces, but it is just the first in line. People are pitted against each other all over the globe, and natural resources are extracted wherever possible. So, the entire globe is gradually being turned into the “Africa” Marley is referring to. The Mozambique and Angola of today are currently war-torn countries in the Middle East and there is no end of war in sight. Millions of innocent people are slaughtered in these wars and hardly anyone notices or even cares. People are trained to derive their happiness from money, power and position and not get distracted by all the wars we are fighting against innocent people. All the system needs to do is call them “terrorists”(the “witches” of yesterday) and provide “evidence” of their “terror” and everyone’s conscience is in the clear again.
This song sums up the way our system is designed: to take our identity and freedom away and replace it with a materialistic “brainwash education”.
“We refuse to be
What you wanted us to be;
We are what we are:
That's the way (way) it's going to be. If you don't know!
You can't educate I
For no equal opportunity:
(Talkin' 'bout my freedom) Talkin' 'bout my freedom,
People freedom (freedom) and liberty!
Yes, we've been trodding on the winepress much too long:
This is exactly what it takes to break free from the shackles of an oppressive system: to refuse to be what the system wants us to be. By even just listening to a system that “doesn’t care for you or me”, our minds and hearts become polluted instantly. That’s why we have to use our independent intellect to rebel.
“Babylon system is the vampire, yeah! (vampire)
Suckin' the children day by day, yeah!
Me say: de Babylon system is the vampire, falling empire,
Suckin' the blood of the sufferers”
I think that by now even naïve people begin to understand that our system is truly a vampire who sucks our blood. Politicians are mostly absorbed in creating one new tax or oppressive law after the other, trying the best they can to drain everyone as much as only possible.
“Building church and university,
Deceiving the people continually,
Me say them graduatin' thieves and murderers;
Look out now: they suckin' the blood of the sufferers.”
Here, Bob Marley addresses church and university, by calling them what they are: deceivers who ‘graduate thieves and murderers’. I still remember the words of an Indian philosopher and saint who called universities ‘slaugther houses of intelligence’. It took me a while to understand at the time I heard this first, but as the years have gone by, it has become clear to me how true it is. Just like mundane religions promote war, science and education create the means to wage these wars on the resources of the planet and on our neighbors, or even among ourselves.
GET UP, STAND UP
This was always one of the most important questions in my life: will I always continue to be willing to “get up and stand up?” One thing is for sure: Bob Marley keeps reminding me.
“We're sick and tired of your ism-schism game
To die and go to heaven in Jesus' name
We know and understand
Almighty God is a living man
You can fool some people sometimes
But you can't fool all the people all the time
And now we've seen the light (What you gonna do)
We gonna stand up for our rights”
Although it is true that you can fool some people sometimes and you can’t fool all the people all the time, some people can be fooled for an incredibly long time. “Isms” and “schisms” just polarize and divide. The most important truths in life are simple and they can be realized while living. No post-dated checks are required in order to find fulfillment.
There may be no more powerful civil rights movement on the planet today, but we still have to realize that we do have rights, understand those rights well and not be lethargic when it comes to fighting for those rights. The system has no right to destroy the planet, including ourselves, and we should never surrender to this lie.
Despite being very realistic about what is actually going on in the world (in all its ugliness), Marley was still able to hear a “natural mystic blowing through the air” and he also understood the solution well: “One Love”. Knowledge without love, is dry and cold. Love without knowledge is just sentiment. Joined together, however, they are the strongest force existing. For one who has true knowledge and love, there is no death. That’s exactly why Bob Marley will continue to live, long after those who persecuted him (as well as countless others), will be gone and not worth being remembered.
© Sadhu Govardhan, 2012