Thursday, August 14, 2008

Zimbabwe Heroes Day Lessons for Africans Around the World

Heroes Day lessons for Africans

By Obi Egbuna
Reprinted From the Zimbabwe Herald

AS the people of Zimbabwe paid homage to their fallen heroes throughout the country on Monday, there are several valuable lessons daughters and sons of Africa both at home and abroad can learn.

While the majority of people who visit Zimbabwe annually eagerly anticipate visiting Mosi-oa-Tunya (commonly referred to as Victoria Falls) or Great Zimbabwe in Masvingo because of their breathtaking beauty, it is the National Heroes Acre in Harare that will help people not only understand the people’s collective resistance spearheaded by President Mugabe and Zanu-PF.

The national shrine also puts Zimbabwe’s current political and economic challenges in a proper historical context.

The first thing that stands out about the shrine should not be the beautiful architecture, but the deliberate effort to bury comrades in Zanu and Zapu right next to each other as comrades-in-arms and not political rivals.

This shows the African world the kind of unity that led to independence on April 18, 1980.

Because the West continues to deliberately overlook Zimbabwe’s positive achievements, they will never grasp the true meaning of Heroes Day and the Africans under their thumb are in danger of letting these valuable lessons pass them by.

The national shrine is arguably the strongest political statement on the lengths an oppressed people can go to when attempting to unify their resistance efforts while in pursuit of total liberation.

This has significance on both the Memorandum of Understanding and the talks between the three main political parties.

While US and British imperialism and their neo-colonialist counterparts intensify their efforts to diminish the talks and their political value, they underestimate the political culture of Zimbabweans.

It is these dynamics that made both formations of the MDC realise that the leadership of President Robert Gabriel Mugabe and Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe is the driving force behind the bond that makes the masses in Southern Africa rejoice that they reside in the most stable and unified region of the African continent.

The African community inside US borders is light years behind Zimbabweans and our comrades in the Sadc region when it comes to the concept of unification.

It is quite contradictory that the Africans inside US borders who have decided to devote their energy to condemning President Mugabe and Zanu-PF, using the same baseless rhetoric as the Bush and Brown administrations, are unwilling to do the necessary work to create and maintain a united African front among organisations fighting inside the belly of US imperialism.

We have seen in the last 10 years the funerals of human rights icons like Kwame Toure, James Forman and Rosa Parks turn into showcases for many spokespeople who still haven’t learned how to properly pay tribute to fallen comrades.

Instead of using these platforms to showcase their oratory prowess, they should highlight the work of the fighters they would have gathered to honour instead of behaving like they are trying to earn the final spot on a debate team.

If they came to Zimbabwe for Heroes Day, the first thing that would stand out is that President Mugabe is the only speaker of the day, and others who are gifted in articulating ideas that are the cornerstone of the revolutionary process in Zimbabwe, actually have the humility to sit down and listen to someone else without itching to be the stars of the show.

The way President Mugabe uses this opportunity is both humble and brilliant. He highlights the giants of yesterday for the born-free generation and this ensures the work of comrades like Herbert Chitepo, Josiah Tongogara and Joshua Nkomo will be not only remembered but continued.

He then turns to confronting Zimbabwe’s immediate challenges.

A few weeks ago at a the Press conference after the MOU was signed, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said nobody held a monopoly on patriotism.

This was perhaps his most eloquent remark since he has been on the political scene in Zimbabwe, even going back to his days as the secretary-general of ZCTU.

Tsvangirai will have to admit he has never heard President Mugabe or anyone in Zanu-PF ever declare themselves a patriot.

We can say with certainty that Tsvangirai will find it extremely difficult to find any significant historical figure in any liberation struggle, whether in Africa, Asia or Latin America, who will claim to be a super patriot.

Such a label can only bestowed upon you by your people.

So when evaluating his role in Zimbabwe’s struggle, if the majority of his compliments are coming from Britain and the United States, perhaps this will help expand his understanding and appreciation of who President Mugabe and the fallen comrades buried at the Heroes Acre are.

Tsvangirai can also travel the world and visit the Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia which have a rich revolutionary tradition like Zimbabwe, and we are confident he will find that the accolade of a patriot can only be given by the people.

The climate of unity in Zimbabwe is stronger than ever and this has helped the country stave off the negative propaganda that comes from Westerners who would like to see the revolution and the talks fail.

What is becoming increasingly obvious is that the US and British governments have made their biggest foreign policy blunder in the manner in which they have chosen to engage Zimbabwe.

This is because of a combination of two dynamics: their hatred of President Mugabe and Zanu-PF and their inability to convince both formations of the MDC to merge and march to the beat of their drum.

As more accurate information is revealed about Anglo-American imperialism’s dual agenda on Zimbabwe, the African world will discover in the near future that the opposition was created to do anything to frustrate President Mugabe’s revolution.

Any means necessary were to be used in this quest.

That is why the West is worried about the present talks and it is working night and day to ensure they do not succeed.

The West has not backed Tsvangirai for all these years only for him to sit at a negotiating table with the man they want removed at all costs.

The European Union, the US and their allies do not have confidence in Tsvangirai’s negotiating skills and they thus do not want to see him talking face-to-face with President Mugabe.

The West will settle for nothing less than President Mugabe’s total capitulation and they do not see this coming out of dialogue.

Today Zimbabwe is too united for the West’s liking and the spirit of oneness, as embodied in Heroes Day, is too much for them to bear.

Arthur Mutambara was present at the Heroes Day commemorations and it is for this reason that the anti-Zimbabwe campaign will try now more than ever to try and make him look irrelevant.

Zimbabweans has resisted such attempts to divide the nation before and they will resist again.

Long live the fallen heroes! Long live President Mugabe! Long live Zimbabwe!

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