|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
From News24 (SA), 11 July
Mugabe's time has come
Johannesburg - There can hardly be a more melodious or cheerful way to send someone to blazes than co-opting South Africa's international music star Hugh Masekela to do the job. While singing and trumpeting, Masekela sent Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe a farewell message, during the African Union (AU) concert at the Sandton conference centre. The concert, held in conjunction with the AU's official launch in Durban, was sponsored by the South African government. "Mugabe should have gone long ago. What is he still doing there? Charlie Taylor [of Liberia] must also go. Thank you Daniel Arap Moi [Kenya] for deciding it's time to go," Masekela declared in his song, Everything Must Change. Following President Thabo Mbeki's explanation of the aims of the new African organisation - without identifying problem countries by name - Masekela liberally laid on the diplomacy. And in the process unsettled a number of Zimbabweans dancing in the concert halls. A few Zimbabweans yelled, "Leave him [Mugabe] alone!" and "Why are you singing about these issues?"
From The Independent (UK), 11 July
Gaddafi's African roadshow sets off with 400 guards, three jets and a ship
Durban - The Muammar Gaddafi roadshow has left Durban on a tortuous drive home after the Libyan leader and his heavily-armed entourage upstaged an African summit called to map out a new path for the continent. The Libyan President's security detail, several dozen strong, have taken with them a special jamming device installed in one of his vehicles. So people on his route are likely to suffer sudden interruptions of their cellphone conversations as the convoy passes by. Bemused Swaziland residents living on the South African border said yesterday they thought South Africa was invading, after being confronted by the Libyan leader's massive security apparatus. In Durban, there were some near-catastrophic encounters between South African security officers and the Libyan guards. More than once, proceedings at the summit had to be halted while the Brother Leader railed against the West, Africa's new development plan and other obsessions of the moment. One security officer said: "He works totally above the law. They came here with the attitude that Gaddafi is the Golden Leader and that they, as Libyans, are above all of us."
On Saturday, there was a stand-off between South African and Libyan security forces. "It was almost a war," the South African officer said. "There were 40 of us against almost 400 of them. We were totally outnumbered and outgunned." South African security officials had already grounded 60 armoured vehicles accompanying Colonel Gaddafi. Their ostensible purpose was to provide a safe return by road for the Libyan leader through Africa. But South African government officials feared he would use the vehicles to visit black townships in an attempt to steal the limelight from the summit host and chairman of the new African Union, President Thabo Mbeki. On Wednesday, one of Colonel Gaddafi's planes was grounded in Mozambique after rocket-propelled grenade launchers were discovered on board. The President arrived with two Boeing 707s and two more planes, including an Antonov, among the largest freight planes in the world. An initial search of some cargo turned up 27 sub-machineguns.
Along with weaponry and a fleet of vehicles, Colonel Gaddafi also brought a container ship filled with goat carcasses and two 46-seater buses. "Each vehicle was packed to capacity and we even found $6m (£3.8m) in hard cash in one car," the security officer said. "They point-blank refused for some of their baggage to be searched." With tension mounting, the South African contingent called for back-up, and within minutes, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aziz Pahad, arrived in an effort to restore calm. Shortly afterwards, he sent a fax instructing security personnel to release everything to the Libyans. Although the Libyans were issued with permits for 21 AK-47 assault rifles, when the weapons were checked in at a Durban hotel, they had multiplied to 48. Protocol allows for four firearms to be carried by a president's personal detail, although special permits are sometimes issued. Once a foreign leader is in South Africa, his security is regarded as the responsibility of the South African President.
There was another near-calamity when heads of state convened for a meeting and there was a scuffle between security forces and the Libyan bodyguards. The security officer said: "He [Colonel Gaddafi] jeopardised security here and now he's going to jeopardise the security of all the civilians all the way to Mozambique." Although Colonel Gaddafi's travel arrangements are supposed to be a closely guarded secret, insiders say his convoy will pass through Swaziland, Mozambique and Kenya on a self-promotional tour that will continue all the way to Libya. There are indications that Colonel Gaddafi will fly to each country along the route, leaving a brother to anchor the roadshow. A source close to Colonel Gaddafi's delegation said one of the 10 armoured cars in his entourage was fitted with a jamming device which disrupts all electronic and radio signals in the vicinity of the security-conscious Libyan leader. The device, which is clearly visible on the roof of one of the vehicles, is reputedly designed to ensure that any electrical remote-control to detonate a bomb in the vicinity of Colonel Gaddafi's car would be neutralised until the leader was well out of range. Libyan officials declined to comment on the jamming device. A South African police spokesperson refused to discuss "security issues" or whether South Africa had given permission for the device to be used.
Among the few heartening reports to come out Zimbabwe in recent weeks are two articles in the ZWNEWS of 16 June that reflect a change in attitude:
The first is from the Sunday Telegraph (16 June), headed:
Mugabe’s Hungry and Unpaid Stormtroopers Threaten Revolt.
One militia commander (part of the 40 000-strong youth militia), who asked to be known only as David, … said, "We've turned ourselves into killers and thugs - and for what?" asked David, 35. "We have no money, no jobs and no future. All we have is hungry stomachs and bad dreams about what we've done."
He described the missions of murder, abduction and arson on which he sent young men and women earlier this year to help keep Mr Mugabe in power. "We did everything they wanted," he said. "We won the election for them, but they have treated us no better than donkeys. They have used us and thrown us away.
The second is from the Zimbabwe Standard (16 June) and is headed:
Villagers Shunned in Land Grab
"The so-called fast-track land reform programme swept past us like a whirlwind," a kraal head in the dry Zaka communal area said last week….
“We were just used as pawns by Zanu PF in its desperation to ward off a stiff challenge from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change," said one of the villagers who was last week evicted from a farm near Chivhu……
"We hope one day, by the grace of the Lord, we will have a fair and transparent land reform exercise which will cater for us all," said a distraught farm worker.
Open Letter: The End Game by Ben Freeth – June 2002
In his recent open letter, Ben Freeth, a regional Commercial Farmers’ Union Officer for Mashonaland West, said that the real question is, “What should we do? What is the right thing to do? What will happen if we do not do what is right? …. If we just ‘hang in there’ without doing anything more than dialoguing, the ethnic cleansing of Nazi Germany scenario is surely not without the realms of possibility.
In JP Sterms’ book, “The Furher and his People”, he expresses the view that if the church had stood up against the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish people, the holocaust would never have happened.
He says that, in Poland in the mid 1970s, the workers’ defence committee decided to start acting in the way they thought society should become. If you want freedom of speech, speak freely. If you want an open society, act openly. If you love the truth, tell the truth. They started to hold meetings with known informers in their midst… They wrote newspaper articles and handed them out on street corners ….
They discovered that inner freedom gives sustenance, even when external freedom is snatched away. Against all odds they clung to the fundamental principles of truth and justice, despite the fear of imprisonment and worse. One man wrote, ‘the power of fearlessness is astonishing.’”
Man’s Search for Meaning
In the final section of Dr Victor Frankl’s book on the Nazi Holocaust, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Dr Frankl discusses the fact that life is potentially meaningful under any conditions, even those which are most miserable. He writes: “This in turn presupposes the human capacity to creatively turn life’s negative aspects into something positive or constructive.”
“… I speak of a tragic optimism, that is, an optimism in the face of tragedy and in view of the human potential at which its best always allows for:
· Turning suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment
· Deriving from guilt the opportunity to change oneself for the better, and
· Deriving from life’s transitoriness an incentive to take responsible action.
…The world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best. Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of….”
The Diary of Anne Frank
In July 1942 Anne Frank and her family, fleeing the horrors of Nazi occupation, hid in the back of an Amsterdam warehouse. She described vividly in her diary the frustrations of living in such confined quarters, the constant threat of discovery, the hunger and fear. Despite being exposed to the horrors of the holocaust, however, she was still able to write in her diary, “I still believe that man is basically good.”
Crimes Against Humanity
If this is the case, and if man is basically good, then it follows that the majority of those who have been drawn into crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe are doing so against their own beliefs and value systems, which is a very painful place to be. The newspaper articles quoted confirm this: “We have turned ourselves into killers and thugs… and all we have is hungry stomachs and bad dreams….”
Shift in Consciousness
I believe that we can use this shift in consciousness taking place right now in Zimbabwe to turn the situation around. If enough people want to effect change, and are prepared to work together as a cohesive unit, then change can be achieved, despite what may at this point appear to be insurmountable difficulties. If the overwhelming numbers want and demand change, it has to happen. The minority can only hold down the majority for so long. Good has to triumph over evil.
There is a quotation: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” The government thrives on inertia and, if we are to achieve change, we have to overcome the inertia that is currently dragging so many people down.
According to Dr Caroline Myss PhD, “power is the life force…” and one of the reasons we are on this earth is to learn the management of our power. Every situation relates to power. If we give away our power to people or situations, the experience will be repeated in different ways until we learn the lesson.
She writes: “The appetite for power can become an addiction that challenges the will of God. The craving for power for power’s sake alone is the subject of numerous scriptures and myths of humans who are ultimately humbled by Divine design…. Gandhi had a clean rapport with power. His desire to improve the lives of the people of India had transpersonal more than personal motivations…”
Caroline continues that: “Managing the power of choice, with all its creative and spiritual implications, is the essence of the human experience…. Choice is the process of creation itself…. Make your choices wisely, because each choice you make is a creative act of spiritual power for which you are held responsible…. Further, any choice made from faith has the full power of heaven behind it – which is why ‘faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain.’ And any choice made from fear is a violation of the energy of faith….”
William Jennings Bryan says that “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice.”
In “Illusions”, Richard Bach says: “Within each of us lies the power of our consent…. to freedom and to slavery. It is we who control these, and not another.”
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Anais Nin
What is most admirable about so many Zimbabweans during this traumatic time is the immense courage they have shown in the face of overwhelming odds. The stories that continue to inspire us will, one day soon, inspire the whole world.
As Ben Freeth said in his letter: “If everyone does what is right and exposes what is wrong and evil, and does so with courage and direction, not counting the cost, we will win through.”
The Way Forward
Everybody I have met – without exception - who has visited Zimbabwe in past years talks about the wonderful people they met: how warm, friendly, open, genuine and thoroughly decent they were. They talk about the beauty of the country and of how much they would like to return again one day.
All Zimbabweans need once again to believe in themselves. We have amazing people, live in a remarkable country and, despite overwhelming difficulties in past years, we have achieved so much. We cannot let all of this slip from our fingers and allow the country to slide into chaos and anarchy. We cannot let Zimbabwe die. We owe it not only to ourselves, but to our children. The Native American Indians say that you have to look to seven generations ahead, not just to one generation.
This is indeed a responsibility.
Having suffered immensely themselves throughout their painful history, their message is that we should all be respectful, humble, compassionate and loving. “Only when we love one another can we get along together - it is quite simple…. We have two options: either we are faced with more chaos, or we learn to unite spiritually.”
They say that everyone learns from their nation and, “from our Buffalo Nation we have learnt to always face the wind.”
It is time now for Zimbabwe to face the wind. It is time for everyone in the country to reach out to his or her fellow beings and to unite in a common purpose. Consider Dr Stephen Covey’s principles: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”:
· Be proactive
· Begin with the end in mind
· Put first things first
· Seek first to understand, and then to be understood
· Think win-win
· Synergise (capitalize on each other’s strengths to achieve a common purpose)
· Sharpen the saw (take time out, spend time in reflection and prayer, re-energise)
All of us are in this together. It will take everybody’s commitment to get us out. We need to reach out to our friends and associates, colleagues, co-workers, employees – everyone, to come up with solutions together. How can we help those who are starving, those without clothes, those who incarcerated in prison, with no recourse to the law, those who have been beaten and injured, those without hope….?
Co-creation requires us to take the first step in faith. “Leap and the net will appear.” Remember, whatever we put into the act of co-creation, God, or the universe, will put in – in equal measure. “Begin to weave, and God will provide the thread. In the delightful little book, “Mister God, This is Anna”, Anna – who is just six years old – says: “We have to become a working part of God.”
An international Zimbabwe Rescue Operation is currently being mounted. It requires the support of people around the globe - and there are many, many people committed to giving Zimbabwe their support. Numerous people are already doing so behind the scenes. The project will involve people of all ages and from all walks of life. It will be a powerful force for good.
On its own, however, an external programme cannot succeed. It also needs overwhelming commitment from within the country to effect urgent change. All of us, during this painful, turbulent and destructive period, will have been asking ourselves why this has happened. We have had to dig deeply and honesty for answers and collectively find solutions.
As a Zimbabwean said to me recently, we have lost our vision. To move forward, we have to rediscover that vision and broadcast it countrywide.
The Bible says that, “Without a vision, the people perish.”
Ben Freeth concludes in his letter: “So long as evil is allowed to flourish, our people will leave and death and destruction will continue. I have heard it said that it would be suicide to do what is right. I believe it is suicidal not to. Let us not be afraid, for with God we shall always be in the majority.”
Let’s take courage from the words of President Mandela. We have to believe in ourselves and we have to believe in the future of Zimbabwe.
FROM NELSON MANDELA’S INAUGURAL SPEECH
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God –
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightening about shrinking
so that other people will not feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God
that is within us.
It is not in just some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
Take heart, may God bless you all and lead you out of this darkness.