I am not sure how many of us even noticed it but last week it was big news in Europe: the Irish voted 'no' to the Lisbon Treaty.

It was a proposal to streamline decision-making in a community of 27 nations but the Irish thought it was giving too much power to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, the administrative hub of the European Union. There was consternation in Berlin, Paris and London and the other capitol cities but there was also a realisation that this vote – by one percent of the population of Europe – had to be respected because that was the agreement: if even one country of the 27 rejected the treaty it would have to be scrapped.

It was notable that whatever their views on a united Europe people had nothing to say about the actual vote. It was received with respect because it was the people themselves speaking. Whether you agree with them or not is beside the point: this is what they want. ‘All you need to say is ‘yes’ if you mean yes, ‘No’ if you mean no; anything more than this comes from the Evil One’ – (Matthew 5:37).

In Zimbabwe, we are desperately trying to say ‘No’ but who is listening? We are trying to say no to wild inflation, shortage of food, lack of medicine, the collapse of schools, corruption and the general breakdown of the state. We now have a chance to actually speak our ‘no’ – or our ‘yes’ if we are so inclined – but this opportunity is being deliberately taken away from us in a most violent fashion.

People have endured so much already but now they are being asked to endure even more and for an unknown period. The only thing we are certain of is that eventually the people of violence only win short-term victories. They are then moved aside and their works are obliterated and their names are held in horror by succeeding generations. We may not be allowed to choose but they are able to choose and they are choosing the whirlwind.     

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