Anyone who is fond of listening to reggae or gospel music could not have avoided hearing about Zion. Examples include Bob Marley's upbeat "Iron Lion Zion" and the renowned black gospel song "Zion is Calling Me" by Stephen Hurd. Despite its abundant appearance in lyrics and slogans, a lot of people identify this revered place as mystical than real.
This utopian place is important for both Judeo-Christian faith and the Afro-centric movement. And it is with these two principal set of points where one can determine the ideology (myth) and the geography (real) of Zion - and yes, this place is real as far as history is concerned (but we'll get to that, eventually). But first...
The Myth. For the many famous Afro-centric movements, particularly the Rastafarians, Zion refers to the future (post-apocalyptic) African continent. Proponents of the Afro-centric movements believed that the Western world (Babylon) will eventually collapse. Hence, the downfall of Babylon will overturn the historical African Diaspora and recall all of them from Europe, America and the Caribbean back to their homeland, recreating the paradise on earth.
For now, Rastafarians speculate that Zion is Ethiopia. Apart from the fact that it is chosen as the African political capital, it is the homeland of the 'living messiah,' Rastafari (Emperor Haile Selassie I).
The Facts. The actual location of Zion is found in the chronicles of the Judeo-Christian history. At the height of King David's conquest throughout Jerusalem, he conquered a mighty Jebusite fortress at the city's southeastern hill. After claiming the hill, King David named it Mount Zion. Until today, Judeo-Christian faiths understand Zion as God's Promised Land in direct reference to this historical event in the Holy Land.
In Popular Media. With history repeating itself, the history of the Hebrew people bears a stark resemblance to the history of Africans. It didn't come as a complete surprise that Zion represents the sense of freedom that modern humanity is fighting to attain. Hence, Zion as the chosen name of the last human city in a machine-dominated universe of "The Matrix" is just too much of a coincidence.
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