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17th January 2018

May 11 is a Reflection on the Injustices by Marley's Timeless Songs

By Ahmed S. Nasralla (22/05/17)

Yes, he was identified with marijuana but reggae legend and social commentator Bob Robert Nester Marley's life was not about 'ganja'.


It’s unfortunate that many people seem to misunderstand late Bob Marley around the globe, especially in Sierra Leone where May 11 (date Bob Marley died) has continuously been wrongly celebrated as marijuana abuse day instead of using this day for reflection on the messages this great son has left for us in his prophetic songs. Smoking cannabis to senselessness is the wrong way to observe May 11.

May 11 is not a day that should be commemorated predominantly with marijuana smoking, but a day to reflect on the social, economic and political issues raise in Marley's timeless songs.

February 6, 2017 would have marked his 72nd birthday if he were alive, but almost 36 years after his cancer related (that’s what the western doctors say) death in 1981, Marley's songs still speak to our times as if they were written, sung and released a couple of weeks ago.

He sang about freedom of nations, individuals, legitimate protests, peace, love, unity, social justice, human nature, politic and so much more in very simple and carefully crafted words loaded with emotional and inspirational meanings.

Therefore, as we celebrate his life and death on May 11, let us draw inspiration from some of his greatest songs ever:

“GET UP, STAND UP - 1973

This universal protest song has probably one of the best political lines: “You can fool some people sometimes but you can't fool all the people all the time. The line actually belongs to Peter Tosh, a member of the Wailers himself.


"No chains around my feet. But I'm not free. I know I am bounded in captivity." Marley's 'Concrete Jungle' is the Jamaican ghetto, as with ghettoes elsewhere, with little or no hope for escape.  Here peoples’ dreams hardly become reality. 


"A hungry mob is an angry mob." If you’re in Third World Africa, you will understand this better.


“It takes a revolution to make a solution."  Real revolution comes with solutions and positive changes.

"WAR - 1976"

"Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned... Everywhere is war/Me say war." Part lyrics from Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I, regarded by Rastafarians as a living god, this message is relevant to any oppressed people, race, ethnicity and sexuality.


“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our own minds. With borrowed lyrics from activist Marcus Garvey, the entire song is 108 words. The message is for people to learn from their pasts, know their presents, and fight for their futures. 

Bo Marley actually wrote this particular song after his dubious cancer diagnosis, reflecting upon his impending death, spirituality and slavery. The late man sang it alone with his guitar. RIP the prophet of music.

Courtesy: By Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (De Monk)


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