Monday, March 16, 2009

You Can blame it on the Culture of Violence

Saturday, 14 March 2009 15:42
ZIMBABWEAN history is blood-spattered. In the 19th century, the
so-called Pioneers - in reality a bunch of fortune-seeking brigands - raided
this country, pillaging and killing the natives.

But in 1980, the descendants of the natives had turned the tables on
the sons and daughters of the Pioneers - the land was returned to the
original owners as Zimbabwe - after much bloodshed.

But the habit, or tradition or culture of violence was not dissipated,
either by prosperity or the spiritual upliftment of full nationhood.

The new rulers killed and subdued any of their kith and kin who dared
to protest at the hard-fisted manner in which they were running the new

It may come as a shock to many but what solidified the pursuit of
violence as a method of pacification was the struggle for freedom.

Once the fruits it yielded were discovered to be sweet - freedom and
the apparent right to the unfettered pursuit of happiness - the temptation
became irresistible to try it again and again.
Every time the people were perceived to be resisting the will of the
rulers, it was violence which was invariably resorted to rather than

The two political groups engaged in the struggle - PF Zapu and Zanu
PF -were ideologically Marxist-Leninist, albeit with varying degrees of
faith in violence as an instrument of cementing the gains of the revolution.

Both were backed to the hilt by two of the largest communist countries
in the world - the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China.

Both had achieved triumph through the use of violence, even against
their own people.

In the Soviet Union, a slogan used during the reign of Josef Stalin
was: "to make omelette, you need to break many eggs".

Millions were killed before what was viewed as the "ideal state" of
the revolution was achieved.
China was no different during Mao Zedong's reign to that populous
country under the control of one man - The Great Helmsman - took the
slaughter of millions.

In Zimbabwe, the dream of a Marxist-Leninist state, as once publicly
envisaged by Robert Mugabe, is dead and buried.

The use of violence, a vital stock-in-trade of the ideology, may have
given rise to the initial suspicion of foul play in the road accident which
killed Susan Tsvangirai.

There have been many deaths of prominent people in road accidents
since 1980: William Ndangana, Sidney Malunga, Border Gezi, Tsitsi Munyati,
Chris Ushewokunze, Zororo Duri, and Elliot Manyika to name a few.

There has never been any tangible evidence that any of these accidents
involved a "black dog". Yet the suspicion has persisted that, to eliminate
their foes, those in power may not have hesitated to use such stage-managed
incidents to achieve their ends.

Morgan Tsvangirai was quick to eliminate foul play as the cause of the
accident in which his wife died and he himself injured. But it is almost
inevitable that people will continue with the speculation.

In the new Zimbabwe, political violence as employed in
Marxism-Leninism to -as it were - "maximise" allegiance of the people to the
ruling elite - must be eliminated.

Many previously diehard communists perceived the fatal flaws in
communism long before Mikhail Gorbachev's ground breaking denounciation in
the 1980s.

One was Doris Lessing, a member of the Communist party in Southern
Rhodesia in the early 1940s. The 2008 Nobel Prize Winner for Literature came
to this country with her British parents when she was five years old, having
been born in Persia in 1919, when her father worked there.

In Volume Two of her autobiography, Walking in the Shade, published in
1997, Lessing writes: "Why was it that anywhere near the Party, facts became
twisted, people said things which you knew - and they must have known -were

"The Devil is described as the Father of Lies, a resonant phrase,
suggesting other older phrases, like 'Real of Lies'. I have come to think
that these is something in the nature of Communism that breeds lies, makes
people lie and twist facts, imposes deception.

What is this thing? This force? One cannot believe one word that
emanates from a communist source.
"Communism is indeed a real of lies. Stalin, the great deceiver, was
only partly responsible, because it was Lenin, the exemplar, who provided
the blueprint."

Curiously Lessing was declared a prohibited immigrant in Southern
Rhodesia in 1949. She has lived in England since then and has visited
Zimbabwe many times.

She has recently revealed turning down an honour from the Queen. She
would have been called Dame Lessing or something.

Her reason? She fought against the British Empire and was damned if
she was going to become a "Dame of the British Empire".

It too had entrenched the habit, culture of violence, like the

Sunday Opinion with Bill Saidi

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