Meet with the obeah man - ZJ Rush says PM should treat spiritual healer like other religious leaders
Dancehall producer and selector ZJ Rush has never shied away from giving his opinions about controversial issues. Having heard about last week's request from an obeah man to meet with Prime Minister Andrew Holness to discuss crime-fighting strategies, the radical thinking selector says he sees no issue with the man's desire.
Rush said that the obeah man's request should be treated the same as requests from other religious leaders.
"Whatever he (the PM) does, he should also do the same when Christian leaders want to meet him, and the public should react even worse than they are now," Rush said in an interview with THE STAR.
Rush was making reference to some of the comments made by Jamaicans when the story broke. Many social media users bashed the obeah man, stating that his might have evil intentions.
"How can evil eradicate evil? If Satan cast out Satan, how can his kingdom stand? A more demons this devil want to bring on the land," one social media user commented.
However, Rush was disheartened by most of the comments. He said it is unfortunate that rather than seeing obeah as an active part of our history that was passed down by African ancestors, the practice is seen as evil by most Jamaicans.
"Why is obeah and voodoo and the word pagan seen automatically as evil? Why is obeah ridiculed in Jamaica, why is it even illegal in Jamaica in the first place?" he questioned.
"The original inhabitants, the so-called West Indians, weren't Christians. The West Africans weren't either. Christianity was forced on us Jamaicans by slave traders, who made African religious beliefs such as obeah/myalism/voodoo illegal and scorned to protect their own Christian religion. The descendants of these slaves now scorn their own original African beliefs and defend the slave masters' religion. This goes to show that slavery was thorough, and the ignorance is real."
The selector explained that while he is not promoting obeah and doesn't believe the obeah man can help fight crime, he believes the man should be given the same opportunities any other religious leader would be granted.
"No other religious man can (fight crime) but they don't scorn them. I am not advocating for obeah or voodoo as anything we should push or spread, but we need to see that it was slavery that made us see it as evil," he said.
"I want people to understand why they see the obeah man the way they do. I want them to learn their history and understand that what they think is evil, as taught to them through slavery, was a tool of oppression. This is about people seeing through what they were taught."