The ICFTU has just learnt that a number of officials have
already been arrested by the Zimbabwe Republic Police leading up to the proposed
job stayaway which is to begin tommorrow, Wednesday 23 April to Friday 25 April
Peter Munyukwi the ZCTU Central Region Chairperson was
arrested on Monday at 8:00 and later released at 10:00 pm for allegly
distributing flyers urging workers to go for the stayaway.
Percy Mcijo, Mandlenkosi Sibanda and Reason Ngwenya all
officials of the ZCTU western Region which is based in Bulawayo were also picked
up by the police today in the morning for allegedly distributing flyers which is
a crime according to the Public Order and Security Act (POSA). Sibanda was later
realesed but the fate of Mcijo and Ngwenya is still unknown at the moment.
More arrests are expected as the Police are in possession of
a list with names of the Executive and District members of the ZCTU Western
Region in Bulawayo.
The ZCTU would like to urge the international community to
condemn this brutal action by the Police and urge the government to recognise
and respect Human and Trade Union Rights.
The ICFTU has given the strike its full support.
The ICFTU represents 158 million workers in 231 affiliated
organisations in 150 countries and territories. ICFTU is also a member of Global
For more information, please contact the ICFTU Press
Department on +32 2 224 0232 or +32 475 67 08 33.
At that time I challenged myself, and my fellow residents of planet
Earth, to use the power within ourselves to build a world for the 21st Century
that is free of war; that is free of hatred; that is free of ignorance and
superstition; and that can confront, and overcome, the many challenges we face.
In my book, in my published statements, and in my various talks, I urged
everyone to enjoy and appreciate the spectacle that nature was then providing to
us, and then asked them to imagine building that world I have just described. In
my concluding words of my book Everybody's Comet, I pointed out that that world
"begins with us, here, today."
Over five years have elapsed since Comet Hale-Bopp was shining in our
nighttime skies, and it has now receded into the dark outer depths of the solar
system. Life here on Earth, meanwhile, continues on, and we are now in that 21st
Century of which I so often spoke. But we haven't quite built that peaceful
world yet, and in fact we seem to have fallen much farther from it than we were
when I first issued my challenge. New wars seem to sprout up on almost a
continuous basis, and we appear to be drowning in a deluge of hatred, of
ignorance, of destruction. At times it seems that any hope for a peaceful future
is drowning alongside us in that same flood.
But I believe we are better than
In 1961 then-U.S. President John F. Kennedy challenged us to commit
ourselves to the goal of landing humans on the moon and returning them to Earth
before the end of that decade. Despite enormous scientific and engineering
challenges, and seemingly overwhelming odds against us, in July 1969 humanity
accomplished this goal. We did this -- because we believed we could do it.
A quarter-century ago humans launched two spacecraft called Voyager
towards the outer planets of the solar system. Despite a never-ending stream of
difficulties, a dedicated team of thousands -- of which I was privileged to be a
part for a couple of years during the mid-1980s -- nursed these two spacecraft
on an incredible journey by the outer planets, in the process returning to us
photographs and knowledge beyond our imagination. The two Voyagers are now
leaving the solar system, as humanity's emissaries to the stars. We accomplished
all this -- because we believed we could do it.
During my lifetime we have made enormous progress against many diseases
and physical ailments that were once thought incurable, and we have made great
strides in unlocking the mysteries of life itself. We have built a
transportation system that can deliver any one of us to any location on the
planet within a day. We have developed a system of communications that can put
us into contact with almost anyone, almost anywhere on this Earth, almost
instantaneously. All these things, along with many other incredible
achievements, we have accomplished -- because we believed we could do
We still have a long way to go. But:
We can build a world that is
free, once and for all, of the wars, and of the hatred, and of the ignorance,
that have overshadowed us ever since our barbaric past. We can build a world
where our disputes and grievances are resolved peacefully, without resorting to
violence. We can build a world where everyone, regardless of race, or of
nationality, or of skin color, or of religious beliefs, or of sexual
orientation, is treated with dignity and respect, because they are human beings.
We can do this -- if we believe that we can.
We can develop a society where every individual, and especially every
child, regardless of where they live on this planet, is fed, is clothed, is
housed, is protected from disease, is educated, and is given the opportunity to
live happily and to make his/her own contributions to humanity. We can eliminate
poverty, and restore dignity to every human community. We can do all this -- if
we believe that we can.
We can create a world where the air we breathe is clean, and where the
water we drink is pure. We can develop the means to create the energy we need to
run our society, without destroying the environment in which we live. We can
preserve the beauty and sanctity of our Earth, not only for ourselves, but also
for all the other living things with which we share our planet. We can do all
these things -- if we believe that we can.
We can leave our Earthly cradle, and expand out into the limitless
universe that surrounds us. We can understand, and learn to mitigate, the
natural disasters that sometimes befall us here on Earth. We can succeed in our
quest to understand the hidden mysteries of life, and how it operates, and in
the process eradicate the diseases that still continue to afflict us. These, and
many other things, we can do -- if we believe that we can.
Writing the above paragraphs was easy. Accomplishing those things
described within them will be enormously difficult; the technological, and
sociological, challenges are many, immense, and complex. Some, of course, will
say that I'm being idealistic, and perhaps they're right. But what is the
alternative? Do we strive to create the best world we possibly can? Do we
utilize the power within ourselves to build a just and honorable society for all
of us? Do we reach for the very stars themselves, and someday reach them? Or do
we allow ourselves to sink and drown in a hopeless flood of hatred and ignorance
That choice is ours. And no one is going to do the hard work for us;
that's our job.
Hale-Bopp is gone, but meanwhile, a new light
approaches. A little over a year ago the Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT)
program, based in California, discovered a comet out beyond the orbit of the
planet Saturn. Right now Comet NEAT is almost exactly the same distance from the
sun and Earth as Hale-Bopp was when I discovered it, and it can be seen as a dim
patch of light crawling slowly through the stars of the constellation Fornax. In
April, May, and June of 2004, however, Comet NEAT will be near the sun and
Earth, and should be shining brightly in our nighttime skies.
Like I did with Comet Hale-Bopp, I would like to challenge my fellow
residents of planet Earth to go out at that time and gaze up at Comet NEAT, and
resolve to use the power within us to create the world I have described.
Unfortunately, though, we just don't know how bright Comet NEAT might become. It
might rival, perhaps even surpass, the spectacle presented to us by Hale-Bopp,
or it might be much dimmer, to the point of not being visible at all, or it
might be anything in between. We will just have to wait and see what nature
presents to us this time, as we have no control over the brightness of Comet
NEAT, or Hale-Bopp, or any other comet.
But we do have control over the
brightness of our own future. Let us seize this moment; and build that world for
ourselves, and for all the generations that will follow us.
September 11, 2002