Not a doormat

via Not a doormat – The Zimbabwean 15.10.2015

Danilo Dolci became famous for his resistance to the Sicilian Mafia. If you saw the film “The Godfather” you will know that the Mafia in Sicily was originally an organisation of the people to resist foreign rule by the Normans and the Spanish.

At the end even the King of Naples was considered foreign.

Unfortunately the Mafia has not adjusted to the fact that Italy now has a democratic government. It has become a self-serving organisation still operating outside the law. In short it is a crime syndicate and grew in power when it followed Sicilian immigrants to America.

You might say it is like Zanu (PF), which hasn’t adjusted to the fact that we have a black government and has become the oppressor rather than the liberator of the people.

Anyway, Dolci realised that if you take up arms against the Mafia, you end up creating another Mafia. So he resisted them non-violently, either leading public protests or fasting for weeks at a time.

When, late in his life, he said in an interview that he did not believe in non-violence, many of his supporters expressed their disappointment. They were afraid he was abandoning them. But he went on to say “I don’t support nonviolence; I undertake nonviolent protest”. A world free from violence would be a marvellous place, but in the world we live in, we can only eliminate violence by resisting it through non-violent means.

Dolci lived by that principle. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King demonstrated it in their lives also. They were not doormats, which allow everyone to walk on them. They were men who could accept any violence their oppressors aimed at them, and still continue to resist.

When Gandhi led a campaign against the pass laws in South Africa, police came to the meeting at which people were going to burn their passes. They stood by the fire, batons at the ready. Gandhi had a bundle of passes which people had given up; he put one on the fire and a policeman hit him. He put another on the fire and was hit again. This went on till he was lying on the ground, reaching up to put another pass on the fire.

Walking to work
When black Americans protested against racial segregation on the buses, they didn’t just grumble and say there was nothing they could do. They boycotted the buses, walking to work, to school and to visit their friends. This went on for about a year till the bus companies saw they could lose most of their passengers permanently.

Do you remember the day in October 2009 when Morgan Tsvangirai announced he could not cooperate with Zanu (PF) because they did not observe the terms of the Global Political Agreement? He was not saying he would walk out of the unity government.

He said Zanu (PF) had expelled themselves by not observing the agreement, so he would no longer recognise any authority they claimed under that agreement.

That was logical, plain and simple. Acting on that resolution would have created a crisis that even Thabo Mbeki couldn’t ignore. It could have launched a non-violent campaign for real reform, if we were ready for that. We could have faced violence from Zanu (PF) and its police and army, but maybe even the rank and file police and soldiers could have been persuaded by determined passive resistance that their bosses had sacrificed the right to rule. But somebody persuaded Tsvangirai to back down.

Was it Mugabe, pleading for a little more time to get his army and party to agree? Was it someone or more of his own advisers, perhaps including some who now claim they have split with him because of his inactivity? They might have feared losing their parliamentary salaries more than we feared tear gas and baton sticks. We may know eventually.
A great opportunity was missed. But it wasn’t the last. Are we ready for the next one?


  • comment-avatar

    GREAT //Now where are the leaders?? THEY ARE WAITING FOR MUGABE TO HAND OVER POWER TO THEM LOCK STOCK AND BARRELL // As happened in 1980 by the british all very gentlemanly and civilised// They will have a long wait though as there are MANY–MANY thugs waiting in line as well//NO PAIN NO GAIN//DO IT NOW//

  • comment-avatar

    perhaps we are ready, but will we ever find out without leadership?

  • comment-avatar

    We serve a very patient God. Politicians have had their time but this is no longer their time. They cannot argue that they were given enough resources and time to prove themselves as leaders, to the masses. The evidence of their lack of wisdom and integrity is it not before them today? It is not a question of are we, the oppressed, ready; but the question is are they the oppressors ready to face the JUSTICE of God? HE is the defender of the defenceless. JUST WATCH AND SEE if this still the time for the oppressor to keep oppressing, just watch. You will soon see and know that this is therefore no longer the battle for the oppressed but the battle belongs to God. Justice belongs to Him, He has the scales of JUSTICE…Rev 6:5; and He will not negotiate with evil doers…”For evil doers shall be cut off, but those who wait on the LORD shall inherit the earth (Psalm 37: 9) The meek shall inherit the earth and they shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace Ps 37: 11″. OUR GOD REIGNS! JEHOVAH GOD IS THE CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH; HE IS THE VINDICATOR OF THE OPPRESSED! HE IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS ​

  • comment-avatar

    God is not a man that He should lie…Numbers 23: 19