1
Paradise Island

Who Are the Rastafarians?

The Rastafarian cult is a messianic movement unique to Jamaica. Its members believe that Haile Selassie, former Emperor of Ethiopia, is the Black Messiah who appeared in the flesh for the redemption of all Blacks exiled in the world of White oppressors. The movement views Ethiopia as the promised land, the place where Black people will be repatriated through a wholesale exodus from all Western countries where they have been in exile (slavery). Repatriation is inevitable, and the time awaits only the decision of Haile Selassie. Known only to the true believers, the details of the actual departure are secret. In the past some fantasies called for planes to the United States, and then ships from there to Africa. Some envision the operation being launched from the shores of Jamaica by at least ten British ships at a time, while others see the operation being undertaken in Ethiopian vessels at Jamaican expense.

The destination of this great migration is also vague in the minds of some speculators. The majority see Ethiopia as their homeland; others view Africa as the true homeland. There is no unanimity about the destination. To many, Ethiopia means Africa, while to others, Ethiopia is the

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The Rastafarians
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1 - Paradise Island 1
  • 2 - Domination and Resistance in Jamaican History 29
  • 3 - Ethiopianism in Jamaica 68
  • 4 - Beliefs, Rituals, and Symbols 103
  • 5 - An Ambivalent Routinization 146
  • 6 - Dissonance and Consonance 167
  • 7 - After Selassie: The Rastafarians Since 1975 210
  • 8 - Where Go the Rastafarians? 248
  • Afterword 267
  • Appendix 271
  • Notes 281
  • Bibliography 295
  • Index 299
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