Bob Marley Was Dangerous

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An interview with Marlon James, whose novel about Bob Marley’s attempted assassination has been shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize.

The 1976 assassination attempt on the reggae legend’s life—widely believed to be politically motivated—was, according to author Marlon James, intended to kill, not scare Bob Marley.

Marley was dangerous because he was trying to get poor Jamaicans to think for themselves, James says. But many Jamaicans were very uncomfortable with Marley, and the country was one of the last to embrace him as the freedom icon he became the world over.

The novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, imagines what happened to the killers who got away.

“All of it is rumors,” he says. “In Jamaica, you trust rumors. You don’t trust facts. Facts come with an agenda.”

Marlon James speaks to Channel 4 News about the contradictions of Jamaican political culture, the remnants of colonialism and being haunted by his country’s history of violence.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

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