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EXTRACT FROM DREAD,RASTAFARI AND ETHIOPIA (c) 2010 RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS TELEPHONE INTERVIEW WITH RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE SUNDAY, 29 NOVEMBER, 2009 BLACK ACTIVIST AND RASTAFARIAN ELDER, RAS KABINDA, FORMERLY DESMOND TROTTER CONS ENTED TO BE INTERVIEWED VIA TELEPHONE. HE CANDIDLY SPOKE ABOUT HIS UP BRINGING AND HOW HE WAS DRAWN IN THE BLACK POWER STRUGGLE, HIS CONVICTION FOR KILLING A W HITE MAN ON THE STREETS OF ROSEAU AND HIS EVENTUALLY DECISION TO REPATRIATE TO E THIOPIA. THE CONTENTS OF THIS INTER VIEW FORMED A SUBSTANTIAL PART OF MY RESEARCH FOR DRE AD RASTAFARI AND EHTIOPIA: A HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF THE RASTAFARI MOVEMENT IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF DOMINICA. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Hail RAS KABINDA how you’re doing today? How is the man today? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Well, everything is blessed. I start to see an improvement. I’m using comfrey, t hat I’m putting on it now. It kind of drying it up. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yea, everything will be ire in due time, you know what I am saying. RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Yea, is just a little rest. Sometimes the father does make you take a rest. So I man just take it so. Man just have to humble his spirit in time. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Well, I don’t know if your ready for us to do the little interview for us to get some of your… RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Well, we can talk, I man just there not doing nothing, I man just a chill. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Well as you know I am putting together this little publication to kind of docume nt I and I history as Rastafarians in Dominica, and how the movement evolved fro m the Black power days, to your present stance in I-Tiopia. I know you’ve been t here for 20 years, and more. But will get to that in due course. But I just want to kind of go back to your early days. Tell us something about you, your backgr
ound, and how you gradually began to get conscious of the black power struggle, and give us some anecdotes of what happened in the early days. RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Well in the early days, from when I was about 15,16 years old, I and I were insp ired from reading history books, and reading some of the writings of Kwame Nkrum ah and Cabral, and His Majesty, and Castro who were the thinkers of the time, you understand and the black power struggle in America had start to manifest in Trin idad in the 70s. Those were real revolutionary days there. All those things kind a stirred up little vibes within man’s spirit, and as man began to get consciou s of what is really going on with the youth. You the spirit just interest man , like black consciousness is the path that I and I people supposed to be pursui ng. At a young age, the movement was really at the St. Mary’s Academy where they had kick a youth. A brother [Christian brother] had kick a youth. Think I had j ust come out [left high school] of school at that time. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS What year was that? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE That was …I can’t really remember RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah, because we are talking about events that happened over 30 years ago, maybe 40 years ago. RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Almost about that yeah. Almost about that because we were really young, about 16 , 17. You remember Pierro? RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE He is in England now. Pierro. Pierro was at that time together with I as a youn g man, we start and really organized that movement there. We started the student movement against oppression. There was Birdeaux. You remember Birdeaux Shilling ford. Him had gone up to America for a while. He was more with those brothers fo rm MND. You remember movement for a new Dominica. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Were you one of the founding members of the MND with Birdeaux and Pierro you sa id? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE No, not that Pierro. With MND it was more with Ronald Green, brothers like Para Riviere, Julian Johnson, Swinburne Lestrade those were the crew that really sta rted Movement for a New Dominica. Remember, I and I had branch off, and started Twavay, Manicou Movements, things like that and Black Cry, and them things so.
RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS These were organisations, or newspapers you set up? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Remember I used to publish two little pamphlets, small papers that was the main reason that led to me being condemned because these were the papers I and I used to produce: Black Cray and Twavay. You know there was different things we used to produce. We used to distributed that all in the ghetto. That was our ways and means we used to raise consciousness. We used to adapt writing from man Walter Rodney, especially Walter Rodney from his book ‘Grounding with our Brothers.’ We used to se a lot of his reasoning on African history and things like that. En lighten the youth and them. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS And where was your headquarters at that time? From where you used to operate? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE 28 Great Marlborough Street [Roseau] You remember Donald Peters and them brother s? Yeah, Donald Peters at that time, them was more involved with MND, Movement for a New Dominica. Them man leave afterwards together with Hilroy Thomas Them m an go America and them man get doctorate in education. Them use the educational platform, you know, to promote the struggle. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS We will come to that in a while, because that is on of the thins I have been tel ling Tempie that, a lot of the present day politicians were in fact Black power activists in their youth, you know. So they should be more conscious as the prof essionals today…the lawyers and the doctors and… RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE All those who are in government now are brothers who grew up with I and I, and t he other day the foreign minister of Dominica [Vince Henderson] come right in I yard in Ethiopia and check I out. Telling I must come and check them in DA [Dom inica], check little vibes and, you understand. He tell I that my elder brother retired now, he come back and he working with them, and this and that, and he t ogether with the youth and them. I hear in Dominica now that they saying the pri me minister tell them that any man from DA that want to go to Ethiopia now he do n’t bound to have visas and they seeking to open diplomatic relations with Ethio pia. So is I and now have to instil those consciousness in them man. You can’t b e separated because of the borders. And you see, like how I man been out there so long, them man show I a little respect , and try create certain dialogue and communication with I and I, give I and I certain diplomatic status. So what is crippling I and I out there, we are still being treated like we are Europeans. We have no status to stand up and say, nah! We are a sovereign people, were are one people, you and I. You see because through I and I have no diplomatic status in here in Ethiopia. There is no one really to stand up and talk for I and I. A nd to get into them man offices is always a bit it like, you know…is almost a p olitical manipulation you have to get involved get in to them office. So this is the disadvantage out there. Because the things they doing us out ther e, we not supposed to be going through those things. This is African Union headq uarters, you over stand? This is the base of liberty. And how is it that we are in black Africa and we have no rights, you overstand? If you don’t have money to
get qualify as and investor…you have to show you have about three quarter milli on Birr [Ethiopian currency] If you cannot show that money to get an investment certificate you can’t really get a legal status as a man returning as an African , you know. That is what is written in the constitution. These are things that r ight now that we a try to go to the prime minister and the African Union about. Between the next few days that is where we will be heading. Some brothers alread y go there and get invitation to go Libya to attend certain meetings on repatri ation. We trying to penetrate that into their heads that we are a neglected peop le, we are supposed to be honoured as people who returned home coming from trial s and tribulation of slavery. You see like places and Ghana and Tanzania they ha ve a much more opened policy, and you get assistance from government, they giv e you land, for this and that. But here the Shashemane Land Grant has been taken away. The Government does not offer us any alternative land to where we can set up and develop. The little lands that we have in Shashemane right now, they are cutting up everything. You can’t have more than 500 square metre person. It is like we are coming back into the same city vibes, where we come home to live as man. It is so fundamentally important that we need to get land. If we don’t get land, we won’t be able to survive here as a people. These are some of the realities t hat we face here now and we trying to set it up now to a level to make sure that within the next couple months, or somehow, we have to get land and get capital in order to implement a program on the land. You understand? These are some of t he crucial things that are acing I and I out here. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Ok…Let us go back to the early Black power days. Tell me about the various Afric an liberation Day marches, the Four Corner days, who were the main speakers that used to kind of inspire the crowds in those times, and where those events used to take place? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Well in the early days of African Liberation Day . We first organised that. The first one was in Windsor Park. We had marches through the streets and things lik e that. That time we had brothers like Donald Peters, Hilroy Thomas, Julian John son, Para Riviere, Ron Green and I self used to be among the main speakers. Para Riviere and Julian Johnson them two brothers that played a crucial role in educ ating a lot of the ghetto, you know. Raising a lot of conscious among the youth and them. Them man did a lot of work, Julian Johnson, Para Riviere through educ ation. They used to come around…most of them were based at universities and when ever they would come around they would spend a lot of time in the ghetto, you kn ow, educating the youth them. Ron Green and them brothers there, Donald Peters…t hem man played their part. All those brothers like Bernard Wilshire for a certai n time, he was crucial in that too, especially in the Grand Bay region, Portsmo uth, Mahaut, Massacre we used to move though out the villages hosting educationa l programs, raising consciousness, organising the people and things like that so … There were a lot of other brothers like, Mwata, you know. Mwata was more like, I and Mwata more used to operate at the grass root level in printing little newsp apers and distributing them, backing up the other movement, and any other moveme nt them other man and them would be trying to organise and things like that. Man like Popo. All them brothers were deep inside of the movement. Gantrot, Wah and them other man come in afterwards, more as Fari up in the mountains levity. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS What about Ras Man?
RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Yeah, yeah, yeah, Ras Man was all part of the movement until he leave and go uni versity. But in the early days he was all part of the movement of I and I. Remem ber Ras Man was one of the first man and them to go up in the hills. He was more one of them man on the forefront of the struggles for a good while. Remember th ey had imprison him, all time we were in jail, he was in jail together with I an d I for a while. The man escape, and they almost kill him with licks, and thing s like that then he come back in jail, then after he escape he make a good amoun t of time in the mountain until eventually he go and study law again, and thing. But him right there among I and I still, you know. Now Kasate come in, Henry Sh illingford, I don’t know if you know Kasate? RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah, I know Kasate RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE He come in the late hours. But him there still among the man them. That’s why I man looking to go in a DA and work among the man them to get within the roots of everything because…among the levity of Fari you don’t have much man like the ma n and them in DA when it come to holding the true levity of the life. There’re are some genuine, genuine man them in Da. Like right now, me live out here for a long while but…It hardly have anybody else that experience of living in the hil ls and wanting to work land on a serious level. Because is 20 years I here and can’t get much leeway because although other man talk and say that is what neces sary they don’t really have the living experience of it. So they just back up a talk, but you know, to assist you on a practical form to get you on the land or to back up a movements they serious lacking out there. That is why we a try to r aise funds from that Kaddafi Foundation because we tired a call on Rastaman, nob ody not willing to back up nothing. You understand and Sellasie I say, without money, a government have no function. So even though we have the ideas and we se e the need for things when it come to the movements of the movements, is Rastama n that really have to take up the responsibility of nation building. That is wha t we really lacking as a people. You see nation building is a responsibility tha t is where you have to have a certain level of consciousness and commitment to the cause , because a lot of man they just on personal level endeavour and they limiting themselves to that level. That is where you have to recognise as a nat ion you cannot grow that way. If everyman have to just check a personal vibes, the nation can’t grow. We have to cater for I and I youth that coming up make su re we have the infrastructure to maintain our levity. Them levels, we tired talk to them man and them who singers, dancers, them tired come here and make promises, natty dread. Come here and making promises. Come h ere, and me write project proposal to build about 12 classrooms for students in need, and thing like that, and they getting me go to the Ministry of education and talk to every body and get visas to work, and they tell me they holding show s out in the west, and as the show holding they will send me the money and after that you not hearing from nobody for time. You know, and making us look like re al fools out there, you understand because they going and you dealing with gover nmental officials and showing them, yeah you have proposal to assist the youth a nd then next thing… no fulfilment of the manifestation. That is we have to matur e, you see amongst Fari , we immature. In the levity of the mind . You see like His Majesty had a nation building mind? I and I as a people have not yet adopted that mentality, and that have us seriously lacking. Can’t come into Africa shor t-handed. DESTROT FRAMED
RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS When the time came, when the government formed this plot against you. Can you re call where exactly were you when you where arrest and accused of this crime? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE When I was arrested and thing? RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE What happen, my foot had got blown up, remember a bomb had blown up in my foot. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS That as when and where? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE That was in…remember them arrest me… I go in jail in 1974. My case was in Novemb er I think. Sometime in March April May or one of them time there, what happe n, my foot had get burned. And after the foot got burned then after this thing hap pened over the carnival. It was a carnival period this man got shot and during t hat time there, I was sick also I had fever, I used to suffer from bronchitis. A t that time, I used to work in the police station, you overstand. I used to be t he votes clerk in the traffic department I was the man receiving all money for licenses and things like that, and at that time I was on sick leave during the c arnival period when that man got shot. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS You said that your foot got burned by a bomb explosion? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Yeah, Yeah! RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS So how did that happen? Where did that happen? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE That happen through….remember that Manicou Movements was more like a guerrilla m ovement. Here were certain things that were being planned and thing, and sometim es things happen other wise. You overs, that is what really happen. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Where were you at that time you said, you were on your job when they came for yo u? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE
No no I was in my yard, [home] at that time I was sick. Remember I told you that my foot had get burned. So after the foot got burned…the thing happened over t he carnival time. At the time I was sick at my home from bronchitis and them th ing, and a little time after that the foot got burned, and thing like that and w hile my foot was burned, while I was in my house that is when they come and arr est I thing like that. At first they had pick up my elder brother[ Garner Trotte r] and Roy [Mason], and thing like that, and then afterwards, yeah what happen w as.. I was on a movements on the road walking with some of the other man them. R emember Doctrove and some of the younger brothers and we were going on a movem ent and certain things happen then. Somebody put a, plant a weapon in the bucke t that I was carrying. The bucket I was carrying , is either that or somebody t ook my bucket that I was carrying with little food and we say we going up in th e mountain for a time and chill, and when we reach at Fond Cole, we stayed ther e to go check an elder man. So when we reach there we ask every man what is the ir position, if they have any weapon, and thing like that. Because it don’t make sense to carry thing like that because is on the road we are walk, and you know how Babylon is so just keep calm, and everybody say they clean. So when we leav e to walk together and when reach a certain distance we see the Babylon pass us, so I leave to go up the mountain track to just walk a little faster and avoid t he main road. So when I see nobody doh come yet I stand up and wait for them. Wh ile I waiting on them, I just see the Babylon vehicle come up on I. And when the y come up on I, they say they want to search me. So I said no problem. All I hav e in my bag is stores, but when them search in the bucket them find a weapon, .3 2 revolver. I don’t know up to this day how this weapon get into that, you unde rstand? I have no idea of that weapon at all. And that is what they use, once th ey get that weapon now, they show me that they found a gun in the bucket I was c arrying and they used that as the pretext to say that is the weapon that shoot t he white man, and then they just start to frame it around me. And then this Antiguan woman, who I never know in my life, never see in my life , the police them force her…she had over stay in Dominica, then the police force her to say she hear me say during the carnival talking to Roy, or somebody lik e that, “ that I just do a good job, I shoot a white man.” and kind of Talk like that RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Okay…alright and erm… RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Well that is how the frame up really come about. That is how they had me. Just t he other day I was meditating I should sue the British government because they were complicit in them things. It had to be the British that were behind those kind of things, because even while I was there to hang and everything, when I lo se all my appeals from the Privy Counsel, and I just had about 21 days to live b ecause they say I lost the last appeal, a white, a white man come to me twelve a clock in the cell in DA, and he tell me he come straight from the Privy Counsel , he is this and he is that, and if I want to live I must make a sworn statement telling all the brothers to come out from the hills, and give up the struggle, and things like that, and that they will save my life, and those kind of talk, y ou know. And I tell him best he go and build his gallows because he can’t tell m e to say that because they don’t have no right to treat us like that and persecu te us like that, and we don’t have no assurance that they will stop treating us like that. But is was the British government that had a direct hand that was inv olved in this thing. At that time we more…all the papers we were printing and th ing we used to be attacking the imperialistic, colonialist empire of the world that were controlling all of us in the Caribbean as African people. Our target p oint was more America and England so is there involvement in all those things, and Patrick John was just a puppet, you understand?
RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah!…okay. RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Remember they had make Patrick John a Grand Master of the Forrester Lodge, you k now, the Forrester Lodge is part of the administration of things. You know is t hat kind of set up that was there at the time. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Okay…erm.. So what were your experiences up in the prison like after you er.. RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE In the prison? In the prison? Oh! The prison come like the middle passage, man! You have no rights, man. Every day them attempting to kill you! The amount of at tempts them make on our life on my life in the prison is amazing, man!…They try poison us so many times… RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Like what? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE
Well…they would just try to lick you down. You have to be like gladiators inside the prison.. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Okay, .. RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Otherwise they would just try to lance upon you and lick you down. And I tell yo u Mwata I tell you is a rebel man in the struggle. Mwata save a lot of life in t he jail through at that time he used to be working in the jail.. Every time they try to exercise certain violence and wickedness upon I and I in and Mwata had t o personally come and stand up for I and I. Him save a lot of us in jail, mi ah tell you dread! He see the brutality that they try to …especially one they call skill, and an officer they call Skill, and another one they call Harris. Them w as Patrick John main man. Them man was the most wickedest man upon earth. And at the same time when you see your brethren bring fruits endless fruits and thing for you, they would take all your fruits and hold it in their own locker. At on e time I stayed about 48 days without any food. Them try to poison us give I so me kind of thing to eat and when I eat it ah tell you all my throat would just e at out and mash up, man. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Hmm! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Wah was the main man with I in the jail in them time there, you overs? Wah is th
e man I make most of the time with in the prison. He is a brother I owe mi life to. Him one of the man dem that really protect I in the jail. Two of us make the five years in the security block until both of us escape together. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Him that preserve I, you know, a lot in the jail. Another tough brother they cal l Desmond, I don’t know if you remember Desmond, he was big tough brother. He wa s a Howlings a the time. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS From Kennedy Avenue? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Yea, more from River Street. He was the biggest man in Dominica. Tough, muscular and thing like that. Yea a certain during my jail time, when he was inside ther e…yea! yea! he used to put a protective shield around I. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Until all of us escape because after they pass the Dread Act, and every body was in the jail, it end with a couple of us. There was one particular brother they used to call Masho, who was in jail for chopping up a white man into pieces and burning him, well that brother there. He was in jail. They had condemn him as be ing insanity. Well he was one of the main man. When we escaped he is the one th at really seize the officer, there man and tell us just run and things like tha t. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS That was in 79, during Hurricane David time? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Yea! Yea! After we escape from jail hurricane David pass and mash up the whole o f Dominica and the jail, and that is what legalize I and I, yeah! RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS So how the escape really happen? You scaled the wall, or what? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Well remember at that time a lot of time when I was in the jail I used to contin ue writing. That is how Mwata again was crucial. A lot of my writings. I never s top writing. I was constantly writing and editing newspapers at the same time an d sending them out with Mwata to be published on the outside. It was during that period of time a lot of consciousness was raising up in the ghettoes. So then e verybody had begin to protest against Patrick John because they had expose a plo t that he wanted to sell the whole of the north of the country.
RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE To some Bridgetown mafia man and them, and thing like that. So we had used that to create consciousness and everybody had start to rebel against him. So then e verybody had strike, all the civil servants including the prison officers, so it only had about two three of them remain there. So by the second day of the stri ke when they try to open us up, as I tell you, after they open us up, and they l et us stay inside of the block, and let one man go out. But when they open up th is one particular brother, Masho, him just grab the officer, and just throw him in the cell and lock him up and tell us just go. .So we just run out from the c ell and just run through the gate and go out ’cause no other officers was there. Everybody else was on strike. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Right…Excellent! Now, So…erm what happen after that. How was your final releas e negotiated. RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Well after I stay there for a little while And as I tell you, with all the kind of chaos, because after that Patrick John had get overthrown, you know, then the re was a coalition government that they had set up, you understand? RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE It was during that period they ask me to come back to the jail, so I tell them that I cannot come back to the jail because I didn’t do anything to be in jail i n the first place. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Brian Alleyne was part of the freedom movement at that time, him and Eugenia Cha rles, Charles Savarin and them man. Them used my name a lot to get popular among the people, you know, and campaign on my behalf. So like, after the police was part of the government. Brian Alleyne in particular he was the attorney general so then they make an arrangement that I would just come down in the hospital, a nd rest in the hospital together with the brethren and them. So after that the president would go on the radio. I think it was Jenner Armour at that time RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE And to announce that I had been pardoned, and things like that.
RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Okay! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE And that is how it had really negotiate. I stayed there about a night, a day and by the night time yeah, them announce that. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS So where were you in the hills? You were hiding in the hills? What areas like yo u were hiding in the hills in the meantime? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Yeah, yeah well when I run away from the jail, I was in the mountain. I had go u p in the mountain and hide. But through everybody had strike against the governm ent, and the government had been overthrown, there was no direct order to the po lice to come run me down and thing like that. Their hands was occupied. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS. Yes because the were concentrating on the overthrow of Patrick John? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Yeah! Yeah! RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Because that is when I actually first met you. I think you were at Vivian’s home in Franklyn Lane. That is when I first set eyes on you. RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Yeah! Yeah! RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS After that it was by Mwata RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Yeah! The other day I was watching a picture of when you was young and then I ju st remember the I face pretty well, you know. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! I had my dreadlocks and so …but I myself was persecuted too, you know. I was up in River Clear, and so forth and it was rumoured that… RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Yeah ,I remember. You to be close with Mwata? RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS
Yeah! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Yeah! RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS So…erm, tell me about your early life after you were released, what you did and what was your mission before you left to go to England. RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE What’s that? RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS So when you were finally released, what were your first… erm because, I know the government had given you some tools. And I think you went up to Barbier. RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE They didn’t give I much tools. At that time Athie Martin was the agriculture mi nister, so we had negotiate and I think they gave us a bull, or something like t hat. A cow and bull. They had given us equipment and things like that. We had so me negotiations with them and things were at a level. So during that time I had gone up in the hills to try to rebuild myself, and I had also gone to Grenada. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Remember the Grenada revolution, and thing, was just manifesting its self. So at that time I had gone into Grenada to do some work together with Maurice Bisho p inside of Grenada among the Rastafarian brethren and them and things like tha t. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS And Maurice Bishop was also your lawyer, as well…was one of your lawyers? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Yeah, Maurice Bishop was my lawyer. Yeah, so after the Grenada revolution, he in vite me to come across, you understand? RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE So I go over there and do a little work among the Rasta youth for a period of ti me, and them, and just after that hurricane David had pass in Dominica so when I went over there, mostly, I was more concentrating on sending food back to Domin ica, you know, through we had few accidents with LIAT and thing like that , s o I more used to concentrate concentrating on gathering food and shipping it ou t to DA. That was the first movements. I get there and get involved and challeng ed the revuloting in different movements with Maurice and thing. Yeah! Me go int o Grenada twice, and go back to DA and when things get real hot , remember when
they had that thing about man had kidnap Honychurch, and them thing like that, and things had get real hot, I slip out I go down to Grenada again, yeah! But w hen I go there…. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! Yeah! But I understand you were denied entrance into Trinidad. RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Yeah! Yeah! When I was in Grenada I tried to travel into Trinidad and them blo ck me from entering RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE All of that time, what we were trying to do, that was the second time I was in G reneda, we trying to set up a International conference of rastafari in Grenada t o solidify the revolution. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Right! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE To prevent and imperialstic interventions, and things like that. So we wanted Ra stafari to be accepted as the culture of the revolution, you understand? RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE So as to give I and I an I-nified force. So while I was in transmission to go i nto Trinidad and declare it to the people of the world, and things like that, you overs? You get it? Multule, Haribela and Shango Bakur, and them other brothe rs that time, who produce Rastafari speaks RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! Yeah! Rastafari Speaks RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Yeah! RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! Okay…erm…so then eventually, you decided to go to England why was that? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Well them had deport me from Grenada too, you know! RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS
Yeah, okay! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Remember… they deport me just before them had kill Maurice. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Right RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Some of the other man them, through the Cuba influence, they didn’t really want to give respect to I and I as Far-I, so that bring me in contention with them. Get in some bitter argument with them people in the People’s Revolutionary Party , you understand? RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Because coming and talk to me, a lot of nonsense about prototaliat, and Maxisim and Leninism and thing like that. I tell them all things things were doctri nes suitable to industrial Europe. Right now in this black Caribbean we is ther e, Rastafari emerge as the cultural revolution and the ideology that is motivati ng people to arise. I tell them that is the age you have to recognise, and it’s we now writing the history. But they still want to maintain their dialoge , you understand, like that them is this and that….Marxist… and.. all kind of stupidn ess, man. I get in clash with them, especially one they call Bernard Cord-the de puty prime minster. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE And his wife. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS He’s the one that had the counter revolution. RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Yeah! Them is the one that eventually kill Maurice because, they used to find why Maurice allowing I so much influence in Contry. Because Maurice come to Domi nica, and Maurice see the work we doing in DA, and how we have the ghetto orgain sed on a levels, you understand, so Maurice have us in real high regard. But t hem other brothers just come from England and them places with the university de gree RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Okay
RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Dem man not part of people’s struggle. So you see Maurice and I go into Grenada… I was the only man that could in and out of the Palace, any time, any hour, any day. Maurice had give me full access. The military would bring me up and down, y ou understand. I was treated as dignitary in the place . RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Right. RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE With due respect. So them other man them get jealous of that because they see ho w I reorganise all the Rasta youth and them, and bring them back on a level, bec ause them had ostracise the Rasta youth and them out of the revolutionary proces s RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Right! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE So I come back and bring all the man them back and tell Maurice to negotiate eve rything what ever differences we had. So the levels of respect Maurice had for I so they wanted to break that down.. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Okay RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE And then they deport me out of Greneda. After they deport me out of Greneda, th at is when they kill Maurice. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Right RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Because when I was there they couldn’t do it because all the youth …I bring all the Rastaman them back into the palace with Maurice. Everybody had run away beca use there was an attempt on some of them life, some of them government lives, an d thing, because of the way they were dealing with man and man….you understan’ RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS What year… what year roughly… was that about? That was like in.. erm…let me see …what year do you think that happened? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE ‘81...‘82 RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS ‘81...’82 …yeah
RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Uh! RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Yeah RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Alright…and you said…er, why you decided to go to England? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Well after that when I return to DA, after me stay in Da for a litle while…well is more throught the persecution RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Of the… RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE I went up to the hills. I stay seven years in the mountains RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE During that time in the hills there a lot of war still going on with the police and I and I. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Them coming up in the hills and them runing us down and them a shoot us, and thi ng like that. Until it reach a stage them come in I land and give a man 30 shot s next to me. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Who was that man? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE …and after that… they say is best I move out.. RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS
Who was that man? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Eh? RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Who was that man they give 30 shots? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE A brother…next to I … even forget his name now, oui…From Loubiere side, RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Them come up on the land and meet him there. He was one of the man and them that used to move together with Pokosion… RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE So through Pokosion was wanted, him and his crew was wanted because…Eugenia Cha rles body guard them had beat him up in the hills, and deal with him in certain manner. So then they were looking out for them man. So they happen to meet him on my land. So when they meet him on my land they just massacre him in cold bloo d man! RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Okay!…. And that is when you witnessed that? RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE And them man take us and charge us for different things, man. Them man recognis e that right now…to survive in DA we have to resort to arms struggle. And after… remember there was an invasion of Dominica? The British, French, Americans..the m had come on a military training exercise in Da RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! RAS KABINDA HABRE SELLASSIE Military forces from all over the Caribbean, and helicopter gun ships and all th ose things was around. So we realize we couldn’t stand and fight them man on a military level RAS ALBERT WILLIAMS Yeah! (TO BE CONTINUED)
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