If ever there was a term most abused in this country, and by similarly villainous regimes across the world, it would be ‘patriotic’, or ‘patriot’ – as is has been mischievously bastardized to mislead a clearly disgruntled and displeased nation into enduring their unbearable pain and suffering, inflicted by a ruthless, remorseless, and heartless leadership,
If ever there was a term most abused in this country, and by similarly villainous regimes across the world, it would be ‘patriotic’, or ‘patriot’ – as is has been mischievously bastardized to mislead a clearly disgruntled and displeased nation into enduring their unbearable pain and suffering, inflicted by a ruthless, remorseless, and heartless leadership, in complete silence – whilst, expected to always be supportive of this sadistic cruelty, as a form of ‘patriotism’.
As is to be expected, all those who dare question the corruption, brutality, and injustices perpetrated upon an innocent, vulnerable, and defenceless citizenry – by those mandated to protect, care, and improve their livelihoods – are unceremoniously labelled ‘unpatriotic’, ‘dark forces’, ‘nefarious’, ‘bad apples’, and any other insult that a good dictionary would so ready provide.
Nonetheless, are these regime claims the truth? Can such accusations be taken as fact or fiction?
As per my norm, a bit of lexical work would be the best place to start this discourse – because, in my 31 years of mass media writing experience, the main reason for most misunderstanding and disagreement, usually emanate from a lack of common interpretation of the basic facts involved.
Based on my own trusted dictionary, the word ‘patriotic’ translates to, “Inspired by or showing patriotism; done out of love of one’s country; zealously and unselfishly devoted to the service of one’s country” – whilst, ‘patriotism’, means, “Love of one’s country; devotion to the welfare of one’s compatriots; passion which inspires one to serve one’s country”.
Just to add one more interesting fact, ‘patriot’ is derived from Middle French ‘patriote’, from Late Latin ‘patriōta’ from the Old Greek πατριώτης, from πατρίς (“father land”, “country”), from πατήρ (“father”).
As can be clearly deciphered from the above definitions, the major tenet of anyone who may be described as being ‘patriotic’, would be their “love of one’s country; devotion to the welfare of one’s compatriots; passion which inspires one to serve one’s country”.
Therefore, what would be more patriotic than a person, whose ‘devotion to the welfare of his or her compatriots’, motivates them to speak out, and stand up, when those entrusted to serve, protect, and care for the country’s citizenry, are at the forefront of unleashing the most heinous, brutal, and atrocious acts of injustices upon them?
Let us be honest at this juncture. Can any person with even the slightest knowledge and understanding of the political, social, and economic situation in Zimbabwe – whether from the recent past, or today – with a straight face, claim not to be privy of the kleptomaniac and thieving nature of those in power, which has resulted in the heart-rending impoverishment of the majority of the population (characterized by lack of bare essentials in our public hospitals and schools, poor infrastructural development, an economy that reduces its workers into paupers unable to afford the basics of life)?
Nor, can anyone say that they did not know of the zealous persecution of those who dare to stand with these same repressed and poverty-striken people?
Yet, we have those in both the country, and outside, who would rather pretend not to see anything wrong in the pain and suffering the authorities are inflicting upon the people – coupled with others, shameless enough to defend, and even delight, in the sordid treatment and welfare of their fellow compatriots, at the hands of their government…an unequivocal opposite of the definition of the word ‘patriotic’.
Today, as with numerous incidents before, I was (not surprisingly) bemused listening to the minister of information Monica Mutsvangwa, urging Zimbabweans to be patriotic, by marketing their country (read, government) – as we are now all too familiar with the deliberate and disingenuous misuse of the word ‘country’, to covertly mean, ‘government, and ruling party’.
If the opportunistic ruling elite in Zimbabwe have not yet comprehended this basic fact already, then let it be articulate again – no amount of public relations and marketing can even redeem a corrupt, impudent, and merciless regime, since there are things in this world which are virtually impossible to defend.
In fact, any attempt to do so, only makes one a fool in the eyes of the world. It just does not work. A rotten apple will remain a rotten apple – no matter how much sugar one adds.
Zimbabwe – today, more than ever before, considering the dire and desperate situation we have been subjected to by our government – needs those who can fearlessly and unwaveringly ‘love their own country, and are devoted to the welfare of their compatriots’.
When we see sadistic brutality being inflicted on our compatriots, let us speak up. When we see the despicable and callous looting of our God-given vast resources – to benefit only a few in the ruling elite, and their connections, whilst the rest of the nation wallow in abject poverty – let us stand up.
Only then can we be said to be truly patriotic, and show an unparalleled ‘love of our country, and devotion to the welfare of our compatriots’ – anything else is gross betrayal, treasonous, and the height of unpatriotism.
Surely, how can one claim to ‘love one’s country’, yet would rather silently watch it crumble into dust, whilst its people cry daily – as, the powerful eat, and the poor starve?
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263733399640 / +263715667700, or Calls Only: +263782283975, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.