Africa must fight alongside Zimbabwe
Date: Thursday, July 26 @ 11:29:10 UTC
By Reason Wafawarova
July 26, 2007
ON September 3, 1986, a 36-year-old revolutionary by the name Thomas Sankara, representative and head of state for the West African state of Burkina Faso, spoke at the 8th Summit Conference of the then vibrant Non-Aligned Movement held in Harare, Zimbabwe. His speech was titled "Ours Is a Seething Anti-Apartheid, Anti-Zionist Dream."
This writer was a mere 19-year-old then, busy preparing for Cambridge O-Level examinations at Zimuto Secondary School in rural Masvingo.
Yes, O-Level at 19, thanks to Ian Douglas Smith who, because of pressure from the escalating war for independence, had ordered the closure of our rural schools in 1976, effectively dumping some of us out of school for a long two years.
The speech by Sankara did not escape the attention of this writer then and today it has reignited precious memories and influenced this article. Sankara's speech was so inspirational then that when Samora Machel was killed by imperialist forces on October 19, just over a month after Sankara delivered his great speech, this writer and 15 other students, abandoned a Cambridge Ordinary Level Shona paper due to be written at 8:30am on October 20, 1986, and embarked on an emotionally charged 20km walk from the mission school into the town centre of Masvingo.
No amount of persuasion from friends and school authorities could dissuade us from the march and we were in such an uncompromising mood that we stopped every motorist we came across and demanded that they unequivocally denounce Pieter Botha, apartheid, imperialism and racism.
The night of October 20, 1986, was to be the first time this writer ever appeared on television and I remember telling one Norman Tirivavi of ZBC that we cared nothing about the Shona paper and subsequent papers because all we wanted was to be given guns and allowed to walk to South Africa and teach Botha the lesson of his life.
We were actually gathered at Zimuto Camp, an army barracks complex and many adults who had come to see what was going on just wept like we were all doing with rage.
Of course, no one granted our teenage plight, choosing rather to persuade us to go back to school in a military truck and making sure that we sat for our paper in a special room at 8:00pm.
This writer got an "A" grade in that Shona paper after writing with tears of bitterness over the death of that gallant son of Africa — Samora Machel — and today he revisits the inspirational memories from Thomas Sankara's speech.
The context in which Sankara delivered his speech was the Cold War era scenario, a situation that made the Non-Aligned Movement so significant to the awakening that brought a refusal by the weaker developing states to be the grass that fighting elephants trample with impunity. Sankara was speaking about a force the imperialist forces were obliged to respect and to take into account, a force meant to recover the dignity of the oppressed.
It was a context reminiscent of what we just saw in Accra, Ghana at the beginning of this month. Two prominent speakers at the 1986, Harare NAM summit were there at the 2007 African Union summit in Accra, Ghana namely Colonel Muammar Gadaffi of Libya and Cde Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
In 1986, young Sankara cried out saying, "Tito, Nehru, Nasser, Kwame Nkrumah, wake up, the Non-Aligned Movement is dying. Help us.
"Namibia is still occupied, the Palestinian people are still searching for a home, and we are still being traumatised by foreign debt."
Today, Namibia is 17 years old and Palestinians are still looking for a home and the Non-Aligned Movement is all but dead. Fifty-three African countries gather in Accra, Ghana and alas, it's still a seething anti-imperialist dream. The Soviet Union is 18 years down under, the US is pushing forward with its selfish and brutal imperial agenda with unmitigated impunity.
If Sankara had not been killed in that brutal imperialist sponsored anti-revolutionary assassination on that fateful October 15, 1987, maybe he would have been part of the 2007 Accra AU Summit. If this had been the case, the firebrand Burkinabe would have no doubt lamented more the departed of our African heroes.
This writer can hear his voice crying out, "Tito, Nehru, Nasser, Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Julius Nyerere, Samora Machel, Joshua Nkomo, wake up, the African Union, born out of your Organisation of African Unity is dying! Help us. Zimbabwe is under imperial siege.
The imperialistic forces isolate Mugabe! They want an Africa without him at their summit in Portugal. They have put his economy under brutal siege.
They are trying to force independent South Africa to join them as a pawn in their shameless attack on the people of Zimbabwe.
The seething dream against imperialism is to see a day when the forces of oppression, manipulation and imperial military supremacy all brought down.
The justice in the philosophy that right is might — replaces a day when the philosophy that might is right — is the driving force behind the suffering of Iraqis and Afghans.
This is the dream in the camp of the silent majority of this planet who have watched the vocal minority from the North plundering the God given resources of this planet with reckless greed.
This is the dream for which Hugo Chavez is termed "a reckless populist", it is the dream for which Fidel Castro is labelled "an intolerant authoritarian", the dream for which Mammoud Ahmadinejad is dubbed "an overly confident dissident Arab leader", it is the dream for which Robert Mugabe is labelled an "African dictator" and it is the dream for which Lumumba, Machel and Sankara himself were killed.
In Accra, someone is reported to have endlessly played Bob Marley's Redemption song, especially the lyrics "How long shall they kill our prophets; while we stand aside and look?" It's a good question given the attitude of some in the African Union as well as some in our African community.
Many regard Cde Mugabe as a hero just as much as onlookers who dine and wine with the enemy.
What is the point in expressing solidarity with a fellow comrade through the megaphone and from the galleries while one's hands are folded in the comfort of crumbs provided by the very enemy one cheers his brother to stand up to?
Sankara expressed similar concerns about the attitude of the same African leaders during the apartheid era in South Africa.
He questioned, "Will we continue to whip up our brothers in South Africa with our fiery speeches and deceive them as to our determination, thus rashly throwing up against the racist hordes, knowing very well that we have done nothing to create a relationship of forces favourable to blacks?"
He further questioned: "Is it not criminal to exacerbate struggles in which we do not participate?"
Africa adores the Zimbabwean struggle for land rights but hands are largely folded when it comes to participation.
They love every bit of Cde Mugabe's pan-Africanist principles but they would rather have the struggle for those noble principles exacerbated without the remotest of participation.
Just imagine if the Americans merely lauded the Israeli unjustifiable onslaughts on Lebanon and Palestine without active participation through arming the Israelites.
If they did that today, Palestine would be back to its rightful owners and Lebanon would not have been bombed last year.
Africa must take a pragmatic resolve to win its struggles; a resolve beyond conference rage; a resolve beyond merely shunning the imperialistic enemy by diplomatic means.
As Ngugi wa Thiongo would put it, men should talk and act like people "with something between their legs".
It is commendable that both Sadc and the AU have refused to be the pawns of Western imperialistic forces but that refusal should be backed by tangible action in fighting alongside Zimbabwe as opposed to cheering Cde Mugabe from the touchline.
During, the Apartheid era, many delivered fiery speeches against the racist regime in South Africa, but the onslaught and backlash was on the Frontline States, especially Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
We prolonged the Swapo war for independence in Namibia by endlessly cheering Sam Njuoma from the sidelines while giving calculated and cautious support.
Zimbabwe came through 15 slow years of a war of attrition while we left most of the support work to come from Russia and China, although countries like Mozambique did put up a good fight.
When Zimbabwe went to help end the nonsense the US sponsored Jonasi Savimbi was wrecking in Angola, some western oriented intellectuals among us reminded us about the cost of war and the importance of maintaining "cordial relations".
Similar warnings were given when Zimbabwe went to put an end to the madness Alfonso Dhlakama was unleashing in Mozambique and today many are falling over each other writing articles that remind us that the economic problems of Zimbabwe are a direct result of the country's participation in stopping the US sponsored Jean Pierre Bemba of DRC from capturing Kinshasa in a regional war that pitted six African countries.
Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia were the anti-imperialist forces repelling Bemba who enjoyed unfortunate support from Uganda and Rwanda.
These pieces of history do make bad reading. Africa should stop displaying individual docility through its member states.
We must stop this habit of negotiating with our exploiters by betraying our brothers, secretly hoping that in this way we will be awarded some bonuses. Such bonuses are the wages of indignity, of shame and of betrayal.
These are futile sacrifices offered at the altar of political expediency, greed and quick-fix solutions.
These are the futile sacrifices characterising the Zimbabwean opposition; an opposition made up of political upstarts who believe more in sympathy than victory.
They wine and dine with the very enemy of Africa; all for the fuzzy feeling derived from sweet media coverage from the bases of their imperial masters.
They even have the audacity, temerity and face to disown the AU and Sadc in line with the thinking of their masters who like master, like puppet, somehow believe that their imperialistic club makes up the international community.
The dream against imperialism is collective resistance.
The Empire fronting the imperialist agenda knows pretty well that there is no victory against collective resistance and that is why they keep attacking threatening power centres like Venezuela in Latin America, Cuba in the Caribbean, Zimbabwe in Africa, Iran and Syria in the Middle East and Russia in Eastern Europe.
They know as much as all of us do that, a successful socialist project in Venezuela will dismantle their capitalist hold in Latin America, a successful land reform programme in Zimbabwe will lead a revolution in Sub Saharan Africa, a prosperous Iran in the Middle East will tame the bandit-like Israelites, an uncontrolled North Korea will strengthen the Chinese influence and an undefeated Cuba is bad news to the myth of imperial authority.
Is it not a shame that today the developing world stands divided by aid, which in all cases is at most 10 percent of the total wealth looted by the imperialistic machinery?
We even stand divided by the sweet rhetoric of freedom and democracy, the American type of exported democracy, delivered as a shiny package of limitless liberties and individual self-rule.
We all aspire for this freedom to do as each pleases and we even plead for arms to fight each other in the name of this fictitious kind of freedom which does not exist even in heartland America.
This is the folly of deception and I am surprised that the vision of Sankara is dying; the vision of Machel is now ridiculed.
The treachery of Tshombe, Muzorewa and Mangusuthu Buthelezi is what some of us now believe in. The treachery rooted in the politics of silver.
Like Sankara and Machel; is it not more noble that we die fighting on our feet instead of dying with stomachs full of the crumbs from the ill-gotten fruit of the tree of repression and exploitation? This writer rests his case.
Reason Wafawarova is a Zimbabwean writer leaving in Sydney, Australia and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org