For close to 30 years Rasta continued to grow against the tide of official and social approbation. Early elders were charged with sedition and locked up. Others were declared insane and placed in the Jamaican equivalent of Bedlam, a prison for the criminally insane. Churches and schools, newspapers and radio stations were conscripted in the fight against this Ras Tafarian-ism. The entire overclass was united in this fight.
Rasta was the lowest of the low, the poorest of the poor, yet secure in his knowledge that his fight was a righteous one. How could a man love his neighbour, if he did not first love and accept himself? and what did it gain a man or woman to deny their blackness, when that could never be erased and when it was the image of JAH.
At first, society resisted the idea of goodness, let alone greatness in Afrikan people, but as time went by Rasta showed no wavering in the doctrine, despite the horrendous toll that the society through its criminal Justice System inflicted upon anyone who dared to wear dreadlocks or appear to offer support to Rasta.
This above all, was the single most important factor in catching and holding the attention of the people who readily sympathized, when they realized that they were just as vulnerable as Rasta. Now there was a commonality they could relate to. Now they could begin to see that Jamaica was babilan and run under a babylonian system and that they were like those who wept by the rivers of Babylon, when they remembered Zion:
For a while there was serious effort to move Rasta into militancy of te sort that led to armed revolutions, and this culminated in the attack on the Coral Gardens Police Station outside of Montego Bay in the 1950’s. Several policemen died as well as several bredrin. Suddenly the colony had a Ras Tafarian problem. Little could be done, however as decolonization was very much on the minds of the British. Thus was born the idea of the dreadlocked criminal, a stereotype that has worked its way into Holly-Weird .
Rasta spoke out against this type of violence, reasoning at the gatherings ( or NIAHBINGI ) that the way of Rasta was to shun the works of babilan. Since babilan had used violence upon Rasta and the people, in an attempt to convert Rasta to their corrupt mentality, Rasta could not be seen to be emulating the acts of babilan, however worthwhile the intended result.
Furthermore, the commandmants were clear: Thou shalt not kill. Thus was born the enduring image that most Jamaicans have of the true Rasta: That of the peaceloving being.
More info http://www.jah.com/rastafari-movement/