It has been more than 30 years since the late great reggae musician Robert Nesta Marley has departed, yet his legacy continues to inspire people the world over.
This week at 35,000 feet in the air I am on the inspired list having just watched the Kevin MacDonald film “Marley”, a tribute to the life of the Jamaican and Rastafarian messenger of peace and goodwill.
As I traversed the globe from East to West in recent weeks, Marley’s message of unity is particular poignant: “I don’t really have no ambition you know. I only have one thing I’d really like to see happen. I’d like to see mankind live together. Black, White, Chinese, Everyone. That’s all.”
People are simply people – created in the image of God – yet we, our colonizers and, yes, our ancestors have concocted doctrines and diktats of division that continue to debilitate mankind, and we admittedly buy into the mess because of our ignorance.
We subscribe not to God’s laws but to mankind’s varied interpretations of “truth”, not to mention conspiracy theories and misleading messages in the media that continue to prey on the educated and uneducated alike, retarding peace and progress on the planet.
Marley said that his life was only important if he can help “plenty people”. He lived for people regardless of color, class or creed, after all he was the product of a White father and Black mother. “My life is for people,” said Marley, who sung in Positive Vibration: “Why not help one another on the way (and) make it much easier. You just can’t live that negative way, make way for the positive day.”
As we watch world leaders behave like children in the halls of the United Nations General Assembly, hurling insults at one another year after year, we should take heed to Bob Marley’s message of “One Love” which helped heal the political divide in Jamaica during a period of political violence.
And what about success and wealth at the height of a successful musical career? “Possessions make you rich?” he asked the reporter in the film, “I don’t have that type of richness. My richness is life forever.”
In every complexity resides the simplicity, and today, I am thankful for the airlines for helping to share the simple, yet profound messages of Marley to international audiences. It’s exactly what he would have desired.
“We can make it work, let’s come together and make it work.”