Sun | Oct 17, 2021

Muhammad Ali and Bob Marley – Tale of two warriors

Published:Thursday | September 23, 2021 | 12:08 AM
Bob Marley
Bob Marley
Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali


I have been watching the documentary on Muhammad Ali being shown on PBS, and was struck by some similarities between the life of this legendary African American boxer and that of the legendary Jamaican singer-songwriter, Bob Marley.

– Both had a strong sense of purpose from early in their lives.

– Both were hard-working and enormously self-disciplined.

– Both sought and found spiritual inspiration in a religion: Ali in the Nation of Islam and Marley in Rastafari.

– Both experienced considerable hostility from some of their compatriots: Ali was stripped of his title and sentenced to imprisonment and fined; Marley survived an assassination attempt and had to flee from his country.

– They both became international symbols, in sport and art and of the struggle against oppression.

– They both became bigger than their disciplines: Ali is bigger than boxing and Marley is bigger than music.

The warrior is a symbol in virtually all cultures. The Europeans have their Hector and Achilles, the Japanese have their samurai, and native Americans have their braves. In more recent times, Americans and oppressed peoples everywhere have had Muhammad Ali, the rebel with the fast fists and dancing feet. Jamaicans and oppressed people everywhere have Bob Marley, the rebel with a guitar.

Even those who do not like their sport or their music can respond to the spirit of the warrior in each – persons who risked and suffered much in their fight for causes that seemed of vital importance to them and others.

Much of the world is very thankful to them.