Digest of terms

Rastafarian Ethics

Rastafarian ethics can be seen as controverting any kind of colonial dependence mentality. It includes a sense of pride and dignity in one's blackness, and a concern for equal rights and justice, with special concern for the struggle of the oppressed. In contrast to today's 'Babylon', with its oppressive power structures (held to include the police, established churches, the official media, military powers and multinational corporations) Rastas promote an ideal of the non-violent pursuit of a peaceful and cooperative new society, 'Ithiopia' (Ethiopia), prefigured in cooperative life and work in inner-city 'yards' or rural or semi-urban 'camps'. Rastas do not cut their hair, which grows into 'dreadlocks' symbolic of the lion's mane, the lion being in turn symbolic of freedom and power. Smoking ganja, marijuana, as a 'holy herb' or 'sacred weed' (as well as for recreational purposes) is held to promote insight and ethical debate ('reasonings').

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