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The Evolution of the Movement
RAS TYEHIMBA: What is your view on the way the Rasta Movement has evolved and changed from the earliest times where you have experienced it, to now?
RAS MARCUS: The Movement needs to be reformed because so many things have happened over the years. Go back to the time when His Majesty was called by his father. When his father realized he was going to move on, he called His Majesty at the age of thirteen years and three months (as it is stated in the autobiography) and gave him a title. After he called up his servants, the messengers and everybody, he told them to take care of Ras Tafari Makonnen. He handed them in his hands but it was in the hands of the Creator. They wept because at the time it seems like he was moving on. About six months after, his father passed and he later became the great person who he is. If you read the history of His Majesty's autobiography and other information, you would know he was a man who traveled widely; His Majesty was a man who traveled widely.
Ethiopia was in a very degrading condition. It was in a better condition when His Majesty ruled than it is in now. He laid some good foundation and must be regarded as a great African patriot. He is my brother. He is a great brother and fatherly figure of the African people. As time went by, he made speeches and laid down philosophies and opinions for people to follow. Then there was the revolution in Ethiopia. Since that revolution, his Majesty was not seen again. I do not know where His Majesty is. Although I have never met him, I would have liked to meet him and speak to him. He is not around now as far as I am concerned. He is not walking around in Ethiopia as he used to and he is not going to the United Nations to give speeches like he used to do. He has not been traveling anywhere and nobody on earth can tell me where he is. I had written once that he was missing in action. Although that was not agreed with by some of the bredrens, they still couldn't tell me where he is.
Things have certainly changed in Ethiopia. There are different government leaders over there and His Majesty is not walking around and involved as he used to be. This cannot be swept under the carpet for the purpose of religion. This has to be looked upon and be changed according to what is happening. Look at the realities of life and try to change the things that we preach. Update it according to the reality; that's what I think. Many bredrens do not think that way. I may even get burn with some fire for saying this. But this is my state of mind. I have to face reality. I am not going around the bush. If I need to speak with His Majesty now, I do not know where to find him. Jesus Christ was also spoken about and he has been missing in action for more than a thousand years. People are praising him and everything but he has been missing in practical action for more than a thousand years. All these Christians have been waiting for him to come back.
RAS TYEHIMBA: Those who are encountering the Rasta Movement especially for the first time, are accustomed to interacting or relating to a religion. They come to the Rasta Movement expecting to find a religion, but Rastas say that the Rasta Movement is not a religion. In fact, there are a lot of different practices within the body of those who call themselves Rastas. What is your take on that?
RAS MARCUS: Religion is something that people preach but they cannot prove. They believe in it but they cannot prove it so it is a belief. Belief is different from knowledge. When you believe in something, you have to wait until the day of revelation comes to see if what you believe in is true or false. Now that is what is happening in the Movement. The Rastafari Movement has a certain belief that His Majesty will come again with lightning and thunder and so on. They believe that this will happen and that it will happen in the future. Knowledge is something that you know. That is the difference between belief and knowledge. When you believe something, you still have to wait for the day of revelation to prove it. This is what happened with the Movement. The Movement is now being taken over by White people. There are a lot of White people in the Rastafari Movement while the Rastafari Movement is a Black Power Movement. We are talking about Africa for Africans at home and abroad which was coming from Marcus Garvey and which we carried on. Now that the Rasta Movement is crowded with a lot of White people, it becomes a religion and everybody can be in it.
Over the years, a number of Rastafari bredrens have been to Ethiopia and they are living there. But things are not so pleasant with the conditions there. It was supposed to be Zion where everyone could go and inherit everything. But Ethiopia is not capable as yet to take care of African people. It cannot even take care of itself right now. I am dealing with people directly in Ethiopia who I grew up [with] and they live there. Right now, there is some conflict going on about the land that was given by His Majesty. They want to cut a road through the land what the Rastafari people live on and they will have to find somewhere else to live. There are big discussions going on about it right now. That land was given by a great man, His Majesty. He gave five hundred acres of land to the people in the Western Hemisphere in appreciation for all their travels with him in the world. He gave that land and sure would have given more land if it was developed from time to time. That land may now be taken away because from what we learned, developers are getting some of the land. Rastafari people are living on a very small piece of land and now it is being taken away. All those are things that have to be looked into. His Majesty is not even there for us to give him a call.
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