The One Love Peace Concert: How Bob Marley Brought A Divided Nation Together by Duane LewisIt is the 1970s.
Jamaica is now an independent country. With independence comes a desire to bring the country forward; the politicians and the people alike have a vision on what the country can become.
Politics can often divide a country, and in Jamaica’s case, politics led to widespread violence which plagued the island nation.
Fear was rampant with the Jamaican people. The violence needed to stop and the country needed to come together.
It seemed that there was only one person who could bring the different sides of the political spectrum together - to put aside their animosity and come together as one people.
However, it would take convincing - as this one person was miles away from Jamaica, living in exile in England.
To know how things got to be as they were, one must go back to the beginning…
One Love Peace Concert
Could we have up here onstage the presence of Mr. Michael Manley and Mr. Edward Seaga? But it happened, an ebullient Marley standing between the two sullen statesmen, literally guiding their hands together above their heads with his own. One of these two rivals was then Prime Minister Michael Manley, a populist of the left. The other was his conservative opponent, Edward Seaga, who died on May 28 , his 89th birthday. Manley — the son of Norman Manley, who had led Jamaica through independence from the United Kingdom in — was elected in and sought an equidistant course between the two superpowers.
By violence was still widespread in Jamaica, causing a need for reform. This emphasizes the importance of music in the Caribbean, specifically Jamaica. Using this new strategy, both Seaga and Manley urged Marley to return from his self-implemented exile and return to Jamaica for the One Love Concert. It is important to note how Marley was the aim to headline this concert because who else would have been a better candidate to headline it than Marley? His previous concert, the Smile concert, mixed with his messages of anti-imperialism, peace, love and others, crafted him into the perfect icon for the One Love Concert. Looking at the concert, Marley sealed his legacy during this event. For the sake of children, Marley attempts to get people to stop the violence, fighting and oppression in Jamaica.
Edits and Comments
T he One Love Peace Concert, held in the outdoor National Stadium in Kingston, the Jamaican capital, was the longest and most political reggae concert ever staged, and one of the most remarkable musical events I have attended. That day in April was a remarkable day for Jamaican reggae and its greatest celebrity, Bob Marley. It started at 5pm, and ended, under a full moon, in the early hours of the following morning with the prime minister Michael Manley and opposition leader Edward Seaga embracing two previously notorious rival gang leaders, Bucky Marshall and Claude Massop. This was a crucial period in Jamaican politics. Now, the two sides had declared an uneasy truce and the Peace Concert was planned to celebrate the ending of the killings and also the visit to Jamaica exactly 12 years earlier by the Ethiopian leader Haile Selassie, regarded as a deity by the Rastas.
This concert was held during a political civil war in Jamaica between opposing parties Jamaican Labour Party and the People's National Party. Since he was elected Prime Minister of Jamaica in , Michael Manley pursued a socialist agenda intended to redistribute wealth by nationalizing the country's major export industries. His agenda proved to be financially unsustainable, as his policies deterred foreign investment in Jamaica. Manley was also aggressively opposed by the CIA and American business interests, as had happened to similar reformist governments in Guatemala , the Dominican Republic , and multiple other countries throughout the Americas. Ironically, the idea for the One Love Peace Concert came from two such gangsters from rival political factions, who happened to be locked up in the same jail cell together and who both wanted to alleviate the violence.