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past is not over unless it's dealt with
February 10, 2012
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are excerpts from the speech delivered by Father Fidelis Mukonori
at the launch of his book The Genesis of Violence in Zimbabwe.
The first Chimurenga
opens the way Zimbabwe was born. Its birth was a birth of violence.
May people want to get rid of that as if it never happened. It did
happen. Thousands of people were killed. Blacks and whites. I-m
sure the British Empire at the time was shocked at the audacity
of such primitive people-s attempt to engage and resist it.
Zimbabweans tried to do that. After that, when we look at life then,
most of our people began to look down on themselves. It is not the
best way to do it. When you look down, you are not yet over the
anger of defeat or conquest. What you are doing is that you-re
going to ensure that you will look for someone who is less than
you. Then either you beat your wife, or you beat your husband, and
if you can beat them, then you beat your children. We have to learn
to look at the anger, accept the humiliation, and then we become
humble. Then we can ask ourselves what is next.
The past is
not over unless it-s dealt with. Those of my age, and a little
bit younger will know that a war is not a wedding, we should not
romanticise war. No soldier goes to war eagerly. Most soldiers say
'I-m a reluctant soldier, I-m a reluctant fighter.-
What we went through from 1966 or -64 to December 27 at midnight
1979 was an ugly scene. One shouldn-t want to go over it again.
In Rhodesia we had five armies . . . five armies is not a joke
in a little country such as ours.
violence takes place, violation is taken for granted that it-s
the way of life and in Zimbabwe violation is not even considered
to be something not right. As a result we get so used to violation,
that when violence is committed it-s less shocking because
our consciences have been disturbed already.
Zimbabwe was quite a shock for some. No one who understood the war
situation could say people went round in cars with guns. Overnight
people said no more war. Within weeks some roads which were impenetrable
were open. So much was done in order to get things going. That gave
us a sense of peace. In my view, however, it was a peace that was
short-lived. The reconciliation as it was promulgated by the then
new Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, was not taken to its logical conclusion
both by the whites, as well as ourselves, by the blacks. Consequently,
for such a war, which had taken fifteen years, as well as colonial
past issues, had not been resolved. These revisit us almost fifteen
or twenty years later.
Those who have
worked with me in my earlier days know how tough I can be with young
people. I believe in young people. The painful part for me is that
I have watched and seen young people in Zimbabwe being used. No
one in Zimbabwe uses his son or daughter to go and do something
ugly. They look for someone else-s child to go and do it.
The question is why do we allow that to be done?
We do not have
the time to teach our children the basic civic education for them
to be in a position to understand conflict, how to know their rights
as youth, how to know their duties and responsibilities as citizens.
We don-t teach them that. In my view I think this where we
have to take the blame humbly.
I believe that
the political parties can do a lot. They don-t have to be
Christians, they only have to be human beings to teach their young
people to behave as young people. So that in the future they can
salute their elders and say 'what a great job you did, you
may have made mistakes but we have somewhere to start-. We
should not employ young people with violence. The practical sensitivities
of politics and economics have to be the responsibility of the State
and its citizens. We have to teach our young people to have pride
in who they are as citizens and how they can assist their country
in the future.
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