February 7, 2005
It has been a busy, chaotic week. Bob Marley's 60th birthday celebrations have largely moved on from Addis Ababa now, down the road to Shashemene, the Rasta community about 150 miles south of here. Unless something dramatic happens down there, the world's media is likely to move on as well.
Most of the coverage of the 'Africa Unite' Marley events tended to focus on Ethiopia's small community of Rastafarians and the heritage of Bob Marley. There has been less interest in the reaction of the Ethiopian population.
While I was talking to UK rastas and Reggae managers in the press area at the concert in Meskel Square, AFP was out getting these great quotes from the crowd.
“I am really surprised to see this celebration in a place where I was condemning Haile Selassie on the orders of (the communist government),” said pensioner Abebe Gutama, who turned out to watch the concert.
A septuagenarian former employee in the emperor's palace, Assefa Tessema, said he was stunned by Haile Selassie's new-found prominence.
“I was afraid his deeds and activities would remain buried like his body,” he said. “I never expected to hear his name again as glorified as today in dignity and honor. It's really a miracle.”
A bit of background - With the coronation of Ras (Prince) Tafari as the Emperor Haile Selassie in 1930, Marcus Garvey's Christian black nationalist movement adopted Ethiopia as its spiritual home and Haile Selassie, the Lion of Judah, as its messiah. To some Rastafarians, Haile Selassie is more than a messiah - more a God. To Ethiopians as a whole, however, he is simply their last Christian emperor.
Posted by aheavens at February 7, 2005 6:35 AM