Monday, October 28, 2019

The True Story of Reggae Music (Nigger Music) – Part 1: A Jewish Brainchild


I find it quiet amusing that out of 2.9 million inhabitants of Jamaica, according to a recent study, it is now estimated that nearly 424,000 Jamaicans are descendants of Jewish (Sephardic) immigrants to Jamaica from Portugal and Spain from 1494 to the present, either by birth or ancestry, while everywhere else they try to convince us that they are less than 2% of any population (which obviously is pure bollocks). Edward Kritzler, a Jew who lived in America & author of the book Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean, boasts on the cover of the book ‘How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews carved out an Empire in the New World in their Quest for Treasure, Religious Freedom and REVENGE’. In a journal article published in the Jewish Social Studies Vol. 49 No. 3/4 (Summer – Autumn, 1987), pp. 303-316, written by Thomas G. August named : An Historical Profile of the Jewish Community of Jamaica, begins like this:
The Jewish community in Jamaica is unusual in many ways. It is probably the oldest Jewish settlement in the New World, dating from the landing of Columbus in 1494. Though he himself was not Jewish as several writers have suggested, Columbus did have on board with him a number of Marranos or cryptic Jews, several of whom were instrumental in planning the transatlantic voyage. Unlike the other Spanish dominions where Jews were prohibited from settling, Jamaica was the sovereign possession of Columbus and his family. When in 1580 the granddaughter of Columbus married into the Portuguese house of Braganza, a colony of Jews who had found asylum from the Spanish Inquisition in Portugal came to Jamaica. When the English captured the island in 1655, the Spanish were expelled but the Jews, or Portugals as they were called, remained and their descendants can be found in Jamaica to this very day. The Jews of Jamaica therefore antedate all other New World Settlements and are also the oldest continuous living community on the island.
Longevity is not the entire reason for studying Jamaican Jewry. The record of the Jews in Jamaica is a success story with few parallels in the diaspora. Clandestine (Surprise!) in their worship under the Spanish, the Jews enjoyed a more tolerant religious & economical environment in the wake of the English conquest. Though they were denied complete civil & political equality in addition to being subjected to unequal taxation, Jamaican Jewry were far better off than their European brothers & sisters who lived a ghetto existence. Interestingly, England granted its Jews full civil & political rights thirty years after similar legislation took effect in its colony of Jamaica. Antisemitism existed but never in the virulent form endemic to the Old World or for that matter to the United States. Where else but in Jamaica would the majority of Jews state that they had never experienced any anti-Jewish feeling? Rabbi Bernard Hooker, spiritual leader in Jamaica between 1965 and 1974, expressed a view widely shared among the community: ”Just as Jews have been good for Jamaica, so has Jamaica been good to the Jews. There has been complete absence of anti-Semitism or prejudice of any kind, thus supporting the National Motto, ‘Out of Many, One People””.
The National Motto itself speaks volume about who surely coined the term! If that was all the connection Jews have with Jamaica, I wouldn’t be here today writing this article, but alas, there’s also a story that whether true or false link them to the country and to our story here and that story ironically was concocted a century before they set foot on Jamaica – The Kebra Nagast or The Glory of the Kings. Please bear with me while I reiterate it.
Before and during the time of King Solomon, Ethiopia was ruled by Queens, never by Kings, and during the aforementioned period the Queen on the throne was Queen Makeda, better known as the Queen of Sheba. Now we are all familiar with the story of the Ark of the Covenant and how coveted an item it was, even to this day many stories abound about it’s mystical powers. The Queen of Sheba wanted the item for Ethiopia and so the story goes, she went on a ceremonial pilgrimage to Jerusalem to pay homage to that most wise-man (beautiful words aren’t they?) King Solomon. He was renowned for his manly prowess and he desired the Queen (a shiska by definition), yet she played it coyly and hard to get until he asked the servants to mix a drink for her so he could … yes you guessed it right, rape her and bear fruit from her. She returned back to Ethiopia soon to give birth to a son, the Son of Solomon named Menelik I, yet without the coveted Ark. Some time after, Solomon wanted to see his half negro son, but the Queen was adamant at first till she saw an opportunity to get her hands on that most prized item. She sent the son to his father so he could be ‘schooled’ (in the art of deception surely). So after many years living with his father, one fine day an angel appeared before the son beckoning him to return back home, this time with the Ark. The story goes that this most sacred of objects flew all the party back to Ethiopia (and people think that Sci-fi was invented recently) and from that moment on (and this part seems to be true) only Kings were to rule over Ethiopia. Many claim it is still there (even the so called adventurer/historian Graham Hancock has a book about it called The Sign and the Seal, more of an Indiana Jones book if you ask me) in a place called Axium. The place where it is said to resides is a no-no to anyone but the priests that guard the temple.
Now let us fast forward to the 20th century, precisely to 1930 when Tafari Makonnen, who was Governor of the region of Harar and given the name Ras (which means Head or Duke) {* Something out of context but I wanted to add is, I’m from Malta and in my native language, Maltese, which is 75% semitic & the rest a mixture of broken English, French & Italian, the word ras also means head though we mostly but not exclusively, use it to refer to the body part rather than a title) was crowned King of Ethiopia, presumably the 225th from that brief relationship between Queen Makeda & Solomon and given the Title of Haile Selassie I.
And the connection with Jamaica?
In the 18th Century many black slaves in the New World were envisioning a return to Africa fueled by that abomination called the Bible, especially through a passage from the Psalm 68:31 which goes as “Princes shall come out of Egypt and Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.” (supposedly written by the father of Solomon, King David). Championing the cause was a Jamaican by the name of Marcus Garvey who even went to the United States and became a noted civil rights activist, founded the Negro World newspaper, a shipping company called Black Star Line and the Universal Negro Improvement Association, a fraternal organization of black nationalists calling for a return to Homeland Africa. He is said to have died of a stroke but knowing how the Vermin works and how it went against what they had in mind for the United States, I will never accept that answer as the cause of his death.
Back in Jamaica the poor blacks saw the coronation of Haile Selassie I as a sign of God and ‘voila’ the movement of Rastafarianism was born. Don’t be fooled as to think that it was only a Religious one, oh no, it was also a Social one. This Abrahamic socio/religious movement spread faster than fire among the city ghetto poor (not the rural ones at first) & from there also sprang what we now call Reggae …. to be continued.

P.S. : The thoughts & opinions expressed within this article are my own. Renegade Team has nothing to do with it.

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