No Unity Without Reality
January 16, 2005
There are two debates that remain a sore point with most Rastas on these boards: one, the clear Christian views expressed by Haile Selassie and his effort to change Jamaican Rastas, and second, understanding that some ethnic groups would have viewed Haile Selassie and the Amhara ethnic group as a colonizing power.
The responses to these two topics show some of the same western-type arguments made in defense of the European colonization of Africa. One argument suggests that the Oromos were better off under Haile Selassie's rule, as if they should be happy with that response. This is rather strange, really quite similar to Whites saying that Blacks are better off today because of European colonization. Of course, there are Whites and Blacks who believe this, but generally speaking we regard any form of forced assimilation as a denial of our basic rights. It should not be difficult to see that other ethnic groups would have a problem with Haile Selassie's moves, and people should not just casually dismiss these opposing views simply for the sake of 'unity.'
I would say that in principle, if we are against certain imperial moves, then to be fair we have to see them as bad for people across the board.
As I stated earlier on the board, Haile Selassie clearly did not understand the dynamics of Rastafari as a movement that developed in the Caribbean, and why would people not see or admit that simple fact? How can an Emperor be expected to fully grasp the feelings and desires of poor people, and the reasons for many things that they do to survive? How could he fully understand Blacks in the Caribbean under White rule, and the way Christianity was used to maintain the oppression of Blacks? Clearly he did not get that. He also did not fully appreciate why some Blacks choose to call him the new messiah or god.
Why is it difficult to simply say that 'I' disagreed with Haile Selassie? How does disagreeing with him make him any less than who he was? By the responses of some people, we are not supposed to disagree with Selassie because he is God. For those who believe that, no 'unity' with them is possible unless Haile Selassie is followed unquestioningly. I guess this is why some get so offended or feel insulted by some posts that question decisions that Haile Selassie made. I would say if people are speaking about unity, they had better start uniting with reality instead of their preferred projection of history.
Of course the Oromo poster on the board is biased. Why should he not be biased in favour of restoring what was denied to the Oromos? I don't know the poster and I am only going by the facts of history there; he is no more biased than we should be when dealing with restoring rights to Blacks. An aggressive move to return what was stolen from Blacks is not about appeasing ignorant Whites, or ignorant Blacks for that matter. It has to be a position in favour of seeking the interests of Blacks. The Black community has internal issues to work out, and these should not be pushed aside for the appearance of unity. Reasoning on race, colorism, and gender biases is not about dividing the community; it is about getting to the root of disunity. Reasoning about the negative effects some ethnic groups had on others is also about getting to the root of disunity. I would suggest that people do have the capacity to see all these wrongs for what they are, and to chart a new course that offers redress while building Black movements and communities.
I think many of the better posters on the board have to take a hard look at how they hold certain positions and see that denying or not properly engaging these fundamental issues is the real cause of disunity. People who say that we should put aside these differences to fight a common enemy are chasing a dream, and are not really striving for unity. These unaddressed issues are why all people are so divided.
It takes integrity to unite with reality/truth/ourselves.
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