And take on babylon them evil boys pound for pound
Without even blemishing his royal gown

from Stephen Marley (Ft. Buju Banton & Damian Marley) – Jah Army Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

Babylon is an important Rastafari term, referring to human government and institutions that are seen as in rebellion against the rule of Jah (God), beginning with the Tower of Babel. It is further used by some to mean specifically the ‘politricksters’ who have been oppressing the black race for centuries through economic and physical slavery. In a more general sense, Babylon refers to any system that oppresses or discriminates against all peoples. Rastafari is defiance of Babylon, sometimes also called Rome — in part because of the 1935 Italian invasion of Ethiopia, then ruled by Rastafari’s ‘Living God,’ Haile Selassie I, and partly because as the head of the Roman Catholic church (the Pope) is considered an opponent of Selassie I and Rastafari. “Babylon the Great” and “Whore of Babylon” are apocalyptic terms from the book of Revelation that may have been used to describe the pagan Roman Empire, which often persecuted Christianity. Babylon is also sometimes used by some Rastas with the more specific meaning of “police”, insofar as they are seen as executive agents of Babylon’s will. Most specifically however, “Babylon” is the corruption and perversion of the Word of Jah. The amalgamation of Pagan holidays and days of the week is but one example of “Mystery Babylon”. Major Church feasts were adopted from pagan holidays, e.g. Christmas from Saturnalia. The perversion of truths is “Babylon”. Anything that is a lie regarding the truth of Jah, is the actual root of what is considered “Babylon” by Rastafarians.

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