Bob Marley Was Dangerous


September 16, 2015 08:00 EDT

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.

We bring you perspectives from around the world. Help us to inform and educate. Your donation is tax-deductible. Join over 400 people to become a donor or you could choose to be a sponsor.

Support Fair Observer

We rely on your support for our independence, diversity and quality.

For more than 10 years, Fair Observer has been free, fair and independent. No billionaire owns us, no advertisers control us. We are a reader-supported nonprofit. Unlike many other publications, we keep our content free for readers regardless of where they live or whether they can afford to pay. We have no paywalls and no ads.

In the post-truth era of fake news, echo chambers and filter bubbles, we publish a plurality of perspectives from around the world. Anyone can publish with us, but everyone goes through a rigorous editorial process. So, you get fact-checked, well-reasoned content instead of noise.

We publish 2,500+ voices from 90+ countries. We also conduct education and training programs on subjects ranging from digital media and journalism to writing and critical thinking. This doesn’t come cheap. Servers, editors, trainers and web developers cost money.
Please consider supporting us on a regular basis as a recurring donor or a sustaining member.

Will you support FO’s journalism?

We rely on your support for our independence, diversity and quality.

Donation Cycle

Donation Amount

The IRS recognizes Fair Observer as a section 501(c)(3) registered public charity (EIN: 46-4070943), enabling you to claim a tax deduction.

Make Sense of the World

Unique Insights from 2,500+ Contributors in 90+ Countries

Support Fair Observer

Support Fair Observer by becoming a sustaining member

Become a Member