JC: "Yes, everything is written in the Bible. Who wrote the Bible?"

MARLEY: "The Bible is Abyssinian book, mon, but me now say the white mon write it."

JC: "If the white man wrote it, why does he deny what he wrote?"

MARLEY: "Because them never fuckin' know dis was wha' gon' 'oppen! They write dis fuckin' book long time before His Majesty was born, ya know? This fuckin' book written a t'ousands a year ago... The white mon don't even write the Bible--him a edit it. That mean ya don't get none a dis. Because all a dis is African 'istory, ya know? The Bible is African 'ist'ry! International universal 'istory still, but is African 'istory. Because is Jacob and all a dem. Solomon and all a dem, ya know, mon? Take, for example, they show Jesus Christ as a white mon. White mon show that! That is fuckery--they want a white God, when God black. God, His Majsty, and all a de eart' a suffer for dat, bloood claat! Them want a white Go, but God BLACK!"

(The phone rang, and Bob marched over to it, answering with "Rasta!" Exchanging all of three words, Bob slammed the receiver down and continued his discourse.)

MARLEY: "As long as me tell you, and you 'ear it, you know it, and that is your business. Me wanna make sure you 'ear. That mean I don't care what kinna message you come to 'ave after that, but I'm gonna make sure that you 'ear, and have proof. And (that) ya couldn't want a white God when a white mon write the Bible. Check it. So the whole t'ing truth."



photographer: Adrian Boot

photographer: Adrian Boot

JC: "Why don't you spread this all over Africa? Is this going on in Jamaica?"

MARLEY: "Nobody can speed this up before the time! Depend(s) on the right person to get it out. Yeah, mon, we can work on..."

JC: "Who says that?"

MARLEY: "ME SAY THAT!--I say that. We're doing the right t'ing, mon."

JC: "Do you see yourself as God?"

MARLEY: "Children of the Most High. We're just children of the Most High. The whole tíng is, in truth and reality, a mon can't really look 'pon his life and start bring it in a individual sense, so that. 'Why this is how I look 'pon myself...'--that is fuckery! Every mon don't have a right to do any a dem t'ing. We know God is Haile Selassie, Him Mighty God. Now Him save the poor earth right now, and Him save the people. If it weren't for Haile Selassie, would anyone know Rastafari? No one would know Rastafari. So Haile Selassie save the eart', and true dat dem overthrow 'im. In a sense, all a de people around him was really weird. But just how it go--few people overthrow 'im, but 'im save the whole of the people 'pon the face of the earth."

JC: "Do you think that someday all the Rastas will go from Jamaica to Ethiopia? When it's peaceful again?"

MARLEY: "We go Africa, ya know, but don't know 'bout Ethiopia--we jus' go a Africa. So it be. People 'ave too much t'ings--dey wanna own dem own land, people want dis and dat, and all a dat is fuckery. All a dem eat the same atmosphere, (and) ya kyaan live without the atmosphere. One sun circle the whole of dem, yet everybody want (to) divide the land 'pon the earth, ya know what I mean? Vexed with Africa still--them a set a idiots! True-true. Rastamon is the only wise mon. One time me think that was a bad t'ing to say, but...."

(Here the next part of the transcipt of the interview is missing. Again we pick up where it continues/RV)

JC: "What kind of government does Jamaica have?"

MARLEY: "Like the one they have in Ethiopia--Socialist. Jamaica govamint a no... the govamint in Jamaica, uh, we conn-trol Jamaica, mon. We conn-trol it--Rasta conn-trol Jamaica. True we no want it! We don't really want it b'cause them ones like the money. So we don't really want to take it from dem, ya know? Them can't stand it, 'cause is a problem. But Rasta conn-trol Jamaica."

JC: "Do the Rastas in Jamaica and the Prime Minister (Michael Manley) get along well together? Do they have the same ideologies?"

MARLEY: "No mon! Michael Manley is a Marxist-Leninist-Socialist, Rasta is a monarchy. Dig It!"

JC: "Do you think Manley will be overthrown?"

MARLEY: "I don't know, mon."

JC: "If something happened to Manley, what do you think would happen to Jamaica?"

MARLEY: "ANYTHING that 'oppen, it have to be better!"

(Ironically, as Marley answered this question, the face of Jimmy Carter loomed giantly on the screen of the color TV that was directly next to Bob, and I tried in vain to get a picture of the two... Meanwhile, Elias turned the topic to music.)

JC: "Your music isn't promoted very much in this country, and there's not much reggae played on the radio, either. Is there anything you can do about that?"

MARLEY: "In Jamaica where we come from, dem no play it that much, neither."

JC: "But how, then, can your music be promoted?"

MARLEY: "People do it! Dem no advertise herb, and the people smoke it. As long as the music keep doing the right thing, mon, them can't stop it." JC: "Bob, have you ever played in Russia?"

MARLEY: "Me don't want to play Russia. The only time me play Russia is when Ethiopia run smooth again. (At this point, Marley reached a point of intensity rarely encountered offstage, and he began to rage--) Ya can imagine if you go to Ethiopia now and say, 'Rastafari!' and people say, 'GO AWAY! GO AWAY! NO SELASSIE! BURN! KILL SELASSIE! KILL RASTAFARI! KILL HIM!' Them blooood claat people! Wicked! All over Ethiopia, 'BURN SELASSIE!'--Them no know what sin them commit; that's why them dead off so much. That is a terrible sin them commit. Fuckahs! All the people in the parliament of His Majesty traitors, too. Yeah, mon, dem cause the whole t'ing, and then watch how black people have no pride. His Majesty is 84, Mengistu (Mengistu Haile Mariam, chairman of the military junta in Ethiopia) is 32, and Mengistu go stick up a mon who is 84! Now what kind of dignity does this Ethiopian have? There was none there--that was a sack of shit! That was no war--that was just a SACRIFICE! All the people so foo-lish! Them no try to solve the problem, them use the problem to fight 'gainst God. They say, 'We want television! We want telephones! blah-blah! Boom-boom!' It terrible t'ing--terrible, terrible, terrible t'ing, you know, Rasta."



photographer: Unknown

(This brought to mind another "terrible tíng"--the attempted assassination of Marley and his family in December of 1976. A carload of men armed with submachine guns stormed Bob's house during a rehearsal, shooting Marley, his wife, and a friend. Though Don Taylor (his manager) had to be flown to a Miami hospital where he remained in critical condition for some time, Bob and Rita survived the barrage well enough to go onstage at a concert for 50,000 Jamaicans three days later.)

I asked Bob if he felt that that trouble was over with, and if he felt safe in Jamaica now. In a low voice he answered, "I feel safe. When me check my way, is that, if God plan my destiny, (that a guy go shot me an' kill me), 'ow can y'ever escape that? So me deal with life--me never fear nobody or anyt'ing. Anytíng that 'oppen, it jus' have to 'oppen. Ya kyaan stop it. So check as far as these guys that have all a dis atomic energy business--me know, if God want a summer t'rough 'ere, well, the ras clot place jus' catch a fire! The sun catch the place a fire! Some people can't stand the heat; them dead. And you know if God want it, 'e can stick the heat! The night come, the place dark, and the heat HOTTER than the day! Blood clot! And earthquake after that, 'cause after everything get cris'--jus' shake. Rain after that, mud it up, ha! ha! ha! A big rubbish 'eap!"

(After Bob's belly laughs subsided, Elias asked him how he felt about the use of ganja, of which he consumes a lot.)

MARLEY: Herb is herb! Herb teach you to find yourself, mon. When you find yourself, you find His Majesty.

JC: Which comes first, herb, or Rastafari?

MARLEY: Ya couldn't really say that. It's jus' that, what come first, life or the breathin' blue? You can't live without the atmosphere, but it's still a part of you, seen? What really come first is Rastafari--herb come later, after ya start eat food... (He chuckled to himself after this wry slice of humour went virtually unnoticed.)

Shortly thereafter we prepared to leave, and Bob carefully signed several autographs. He mentioned he was up late the previous night, and that he had much to do the next day (a sold-out performance at Berkeley's Greek Theatre). Bidding farewell, I declared to Bob, "You work mighty hard!" "Yeah, mon!" he replied. "Talkin' is a hard work, ya know. Talkin' the whole day and the whole night extremely hard. Talkin' and singin' not a' easy t'ing, mon. Talkin' is where 'alf the strain go."

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