JE NE PEUX PAS ATTENDRE TROP LONGTEMPS (une transcription)
At only eighteen, in and around Kingston in the early 80s, Barrington Levy released everlasting, forever shining high, oh-so-deep roots reggae cuts, collected on his ”Poor Man Style” album. Sinsemilia, True Love, This Little Boy. Every song on there is a small piece of spiritual and musical knowledge, carrying an inimitable style of vocal works, speaking very specially to me and, I know it to be true, a large, fierce and peaceful army of dub devouts.
Listening to this song for a thousandth time, touched once again by Scientist’s sound waves, Flabba’s bass and, in always new ways, by the beauty of such holy lyrics, powerful as true prayers can be, I find out no one has ever transcribed those words of wisdom online, an unforgiveable broken path from Jamaica to the cloud, a genius not yet on Geenius.
Longing for meaning is a thing, trying to write it down a form of seeking. I and I did this on a morning with a good spirit, now even more questions arise. The main one being about the One Being : why only He? She shines so hard too, made us for sure, and They do the good works too, can be all of us, that’s true. Who will help We fill in the blanks, correct the wrongs, for tomorrow and yesterday, for He, for She, for They.
Leonard Howell was the most victimized of the early Rastafari leaders due to his advocacy of the movement’s doctrine. As one of the most visible early leaders who preached the divinity of Haile Selassie I, Howell may well be described as the very first Rasta. But in becoming the first Rasta, he needed to acquire a following, and it was this work of building the movement, a task that he started within months of his return to Jamaica from the United States in 1932, that, in time, would also make him the main target of the effort to suppress the Rastafari movement. No one who opposed the movement in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s held this position without having some sense of the work of Leonard Howell, some understanding, however limited this might have been, of his advocacy of the Rastafari doctrine.
The first major triumph of the suppression campaign was the two years at hard labor that Howell received from the chief justice of Jamaica in the courthouse at Morant Bay in 1934, along with the one year at hard labor that was reserved for his lieutenant, Robert Hinds. The highest court official in the colony had been sent all the way from the island’s capital of Kingston to preside over the trial of the man who was regarded as the leading figure of the Rastafari, the man who was seen as having started this new religious movement, which many Jamaicans thought of as strange, but which also promoted race consciousness and African solidarity, and overall a radical African-centered philosophy. Howell was the one who was seen as having taken the Rastafari virtually to the doorsteps of the executive and judiciary of the colonial government; and for this role he was eventually made to face conviction for one of the most serious offenses that a civilian could be charged with by their government, the charge of sedition. Howell was sent to jail on this occasion because he was said to have been preaching to people about not pledging allegiance to the colonial government, or to imperial Britain. This kind of advocacy was seen as not merely anticolonial rhetoric, but as the preparation for a revolution, and possibly one that would take place through violent means.