“The Harder They Come” by Jimmy Cliff (1972)

30 10 2008

You know I love reggae.  After all, you and I sing with your “Uncle Bob” Marley all the time, especially on the way to school in the morning.  But let me tell you another reason I like it:  some of it is downright revolutionary.

Jamaica sits just below Cuba, not too far south of Florida.  And like so many other countries in the region (and around the world), they have struggled against outside forces that moved in years ago to exploit their resources.  Some will tell you that’s a liberal opinion, but it is actually historical fact.  Just check the dictionary definition of “colonialism.”

You can boil human history down to a struggle between the “have’s” and the “have not’s.”  Those who “have” do everything in their power to hold onto or increase what they have, and the “have not’s” do the best they can to survive (or even mildly flourish, like the middle class in the U.S. for a short while).

Jamaica’s struggle is recent and very close to us.  You would enrich your understanding about human civilization by reading the histories of countries like Jamaica.  And not just from textbooks, but from people who were there.

But if you can’t do that, listen to their music.  It helped move the fine people of Jamaica to make their lives better.  That’s what makes people like Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff so extraordinary.  They were outstanding musicians.  And they were prophets for their people.

“Well they tell me of a pie up in the sky
Waiting for me when I die
But between the day you’re born and when you die
They never seem to hear even your cry”




One response

15 11 2008

Check out Joe Jacksons version of this, it really rocks!

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