This was a well-known image portraying the late USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) dictator, Joseph Stalin, narrating how to make a hungry and subjugated population docile, and even obedient, to their tormentors.
He allegedly gave an illustration of a farmer who cold-heartedly plucked all the feathers off his live chicken, yet, in spite of this brazen cruelty and pain inflicted on these poor poultry, when he started scattering food on the ground, they lamely followed him around, happily pecking at the crumbs.
This, as disturbing as it is, aptly described the situation we find ourselves in this country called Zimbabwe – whereby, we find a brutalized, traumatized, and impoverished nation, not standing up or speaking out against their tormentors and abusers (who have callously and deliberately authored their misery and suffering, mainly through the wanton and unrestrained looting of our national resources – at despicable levels that border on vulgarity – leading to the demise of a once vibrant and prosperous economy).
Instead, we find ourselves seemingly all too happy, and willing, obediently (as if under some malevolent spell) following around those who cruelly “pluck off our feathers” – either singing their praises, or defending their criminal and thieving ways, or merely sitting idly without raising any objections and resistance to this evil.
As much as many who read this may say, “Well, what else are the hapless people of Zimbabwe supposed to do, considering that they are faced with a more powerful and barbaric regime – which, had already displayed, on countless occasions, its savage and evil ruthlessness towards an innocent population – and also, when one is hungry and impoverished, they will throw all principles out of the window, and do anything and everything to survive?”
It is all a matter of survival.
Well, that truly sounds plausible, and is a very good argument.
But, today (9 August 2021) is no ordinary day in Zimbabwe. It is Heroes Day.
As day that we commemorate and celebrate our gallant Sons and Daughters of the Soil – who sacrificed everything they had, in a devastating and brutal war against colonial rule, which was founded on savage racial segregation and subjugation.
The REAL heroes and heroines of this 1970s struggle had one thing in common with today’s Zimbabweans – they were just as poor, and suffered just as much under a brutal regime that had no qualms massacring civilians – yet, that was never an impediment to their intrepid quest for freedom, democracy, and prosperity in their motherland.
Let me hasten to distinguish these REAL heroes and heroines from the opportunistic power-greedy parasites – who hijacked the people’s cause in the late 1970s, clearly for their own personal glory and ambitions, as proven by how they readily turned against the very majority, whom they claimed to have been fighting for, and have since become their new oppressors.
The REAL heroes and heroines have never sought glory for themselves, have not yet published any self-serving and self-extolling biographies and autobiographies trumpeting and exaggerating some debatable heroics – as we have been witnessing lately.
No, in fact, the REAL heroes and heroines of this country are still wallowing in abject poverty, and largely surviving from the crumbs (as in Stalin’s illustration) dolled out by the parasitic opportunistic ruling elite.
However, during the liberation struggle, these REAL Sons and Daughters of the Soil never allowed fear of a brutal regime to cripple them, neither did they betray the majority by hungrily settling for the crumbs from their tormentors.
They did not betray the majority because of some cash, or cars, or any handouts.
But, they valiantly stood up for a better life, and better future for their children, and grandchildren.
Did they accomplish this, some may be tempted to ask – since, those surviving heroes and heroines are probably worse off than they were under Rhodesia?
A struggle is seldom won by one battle – but, through a series of battles, leading to the final victory.
Just because the first Chimurenga/Imveko did not appear to have achieved the set objectives of vanquishing occupation and oppression, that did not deter the second Chimurenga – but, rather served as motivation and encouragement to carry on the struggle.
Therefore, today’s generation needs to proceed with the next stage of the Chimurenga (in whatever form they may deem necessary under today’s conditions) till true victory has been achieved for the people of Zimbabwe.
Hunger and suffering, nor fear of brutal repression, or despondence, NEVER deterred our heroes and heroines of the first or second Chimurenga – what justifiable reason do we have today?
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and political commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]Post published in: Featured