[Entertainment]:::Bob Marley, a national hero?

No. 60 Monday, March 1, 2010
Bob Marley has been dead now for almost 29 years, but the influence of his music keeps getting stronger and stronger. There have been calls in numerous quarters for him to be given National Heroes status, but this having hit somewhat of a pause in recent times.

   Their has been a lot of opponents and proponents of this request but has expressed contradictory views because of various reason and it is with this that a careful analysis will have to be done before a definite position can be maintained.
   Bob was never accepted by the social high class in his time on earth. Even now he is only accepted because of the strong commercial impact and message of lasting peace that his music have. The youngster who was born to a Jamaican mother and English father music wasn't recognized by his own people in Jamaica until his first album 'Catch A Fire' became an international hit, thanks to Chris Blackwell, but interestingly at the time Rastafarians were regarded as outcasts, or 'Black Heart' men in the 60s and 70s.
   It is widely felt among Jamaicans that Bob Marley deserves to be among Jamaicans National heroes. His contribution through his Music has for Jamaicans than most of our politicians who have done very little to stop the wanton bloodletting now devouring the Islands. Marley's music served, and continues to be, the unofficial spokesperson for Jamaica. Even his song 'One Love' was adopted as a theme song for the Jamaican Tourist Board and voted as Anthem of the Millennium by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC).
   Marley's laundry list of recognitions is undoubtedly more reason to dub him, not just a national hero, but an International Icon. His birthday - Feb. 6 - is declared a national holiday in Jamaica and he was awarded the Order of Merit (OM) in 1981, which is Jamaica's third highest honor. The United Nations awarded him the Medal of Peace and he was voted Artiste of the Century by Billboard magazine.
   Bob was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and his album Exodus was chosen Album of the Century by Time Magazine. The United Nations awarded him the Medal of Peace and he was voted Artiste of the Century by Billboard magazine. Last but not least, Bob has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and an award in Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
   This man who is a product of the ghetto gave reggae a voice to the poor and disfranchised citizens of Jamaica and to the world. In so doing, he also instilled pride and dignity in their heritage, however depressing the realities of their daily existence was. Moreover, Marley's reggae anthems provided uplifting rhythm and melody that induced what Marley called "positive vibrations" in all who has heard it. Marley's music was a powerful remedy for troubled times. Amnesty International uses Bob's song "Get Up, Stand Up," as their anthem.
   To many was a messenger of peace but he never aligned himself with any political party, even though he was often accuse of been involved in politics he found an urgent calling to bring together a divided nation ripped apart by political violence and hostility in the late 70s. At the Smile Jamaica Concert held on December 5, 1976 at the National Heroes Park in Kingston, Bob Marley and the Wailers performed in front of 80,000 people and in an unprecedented move, warranted on stage Prime Minister Michael Manley and opposition leader, Edward Seaga to put their hands together in unity. This single action is probably the moment that saved this country from descending in all out civil war. This is all the more reason to add him to the esteemed list of National Heroes.
   His Ganja smoking habits is probably one of the reasons he is not on board as also his Rastafarian beliefs. The Fact is Jesus Christ and his apostles used a cannabis-based anointing oil to help cure people with crippling diseases. The truth is, the opposition to name Marley Jamaica's 8th national hero is coming mainly from members of Jamaica's influential Christian church community and the upper classes, all of whom Marley took pot-shots at during his lifetime, as he referred to as "The Establishment.
   Is it because he was a well known womanizer and had numerous baby mothers? Well if this is so iconic persons such as King Solomon, John F. Kennedy
and Martin Luther King would not be accorded the reverence in which they are so highly held if truth of their intimate personal life becomes exposed. It is also felt that had he holder of political office that like Garvey, Bustamante and Norman Manley he would be lying in National Heroes Park.
   Bob's music bridges the cross-cultural divide, soothes the heart and mind from what Bob called "mental slavery," and can be heard by people of every gender, race, religion, color, ethnic background and political affiliation. Bob Marley is still serving the people through his music and its message that advocates for social change ­for freedom for all mankind, regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status.
   He is a legendary icon that cannot be forgotten. The government should move forthwith to ensure he is accorded Heroes status after all they have made worse choices at our yearly Heroes day celebration that honors persons of less ilk and substance.

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