Bob and Jamaican Politics

 Like most Rastafarians, Bob Marley had a distaste for " politricks", but because of his undeniable influence he was frequently swept up in some political struggle. It was thought that his endorsement of a candidate could actually sway a national election in Jamaica. In 1976 Bob was to perform at the Smile Jamaica concert, a non-political event by design, when Prime Minister Manley announced a national election shortly after the concert. This would look like an endorsement for Manley and the PNP, for it was known that the two had been planning the concert together. There were immediate threats from Manleys opposing candidate, conservative Edward Seaga of the JLP. Some were death threats aimed at Bob Marley. Two days before the planned festival, several gunmen staged an ambush at Bob's compound, spraying automatic gunfire. Bob was wounded, Rita was shot in the head (but survived), and Bob's manager was wounded and nearly died. Bob played the concert anyway, then went into a 14 month exile.

In 1979, Bob persuaded the same two politicians to shake hands onstage during the One Love Peace concert. Despite the obvious danger he was putting himself in, he clasped the two politicians hands together in his own and consecrated a new era of cease fire between the warring factions.

It was for efforts like this that Bob was awarded the United Nations Medal for Peace.

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