Wednesday, December 05, 2007

(HERALD) Million Man March proved vibrancy of the revolution

Million Man March proved vibrancy of the revolution
By Reason Wafawarova in SYDNEY, Australia:

THE Million Man March held on November 30 2007 in support of President Mugabe’s contribution to the independence legacy of Zimbabwe as well as his candidature for the March 2008 election has created a lot of media, political and intellectual interest. It does not matter that The Standard newspaper puts the figure of the participating marchers at "just over 200 000", that the rabid Zimdaily online tabloid puts it at "around 100 000" or that the bitter professor from Tsholotsho loudly reckons that it was "anything between 500 000 and 700 000".

The indelible fact remains that the crowd was massive and a lot of Harare residents who were not yet born in 1980 had never seen such a crowd before.

It also does not matter much that The Standard would rather imagine that "most" of the marchers were coerced and force-marched to Zimbabwe Grounds — ostensibly by a minority of the usual "Mugabe cronies" — or that the irascible professor from Tsholotsho believes that the marchers were "barefooted and running on empty stomachs".

The fact remains that a massive crowd marched for 10 kilometres and did gather, listen to and applauded President Mugabe at Zimbabwe Grounds.

Obviously, the words attributed to Professor Jonathan Moyo by one online publication as well as the editorial of The Standard can only mean one thing — that some of our political commentators and newspaper correspondents have evolved into miracle workers. Not only do these people want the readers to believe in miracles by saying hundreds of thousands of people can be forced into marching, singing, ululating and dancing by a handful of President Mugabe’s "cronies" but the Professor would also have us believe that all this 10km marching, all this singing and dancing, was on empty stomachs.

Away from the delusional denials of the spiteful, this writer wants to explore why and how a man so demonised as a tyrant, dictator and habitual human rights violator by the Western media can attract a crowd running into hundreds of thousands at a time his own country is facing ‘‘a critical economic crisis’’ as well as other social ills. How do the United States’ so-called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, the European Union sanctions and the blockage of International Monetary Fund/World Bank credit lines all have a benign effect on the political support of President Mugabe?

The only answer to this is the language of a revolution. A revolution refuses to be suppressed; its core tenets are perseverance, courage, resolve and the never-ever attitude. Suffering fuels people in a revolution; they are propelled by the challenges from the enemy; and their vision is always the glory of turning around repression into liberty.

If the British are as astounded as the BBC seems to be by the November 30 pro-Mugabe Zimbabwe march, then they need to be reminded of their own history. In their belief that the colonial territories were part of an acceptable revolution worth defending and protecting, as well as the belief that their imperial aspirations to annex the rest of the world as part of the Great Britain Empire were justifiable, the British found themselves under heavy attack from fellow imperial aspirants, Germany, at the end of 1941.

Without its usual allies and for a solid 57 nights, Britain was under heavy bombing from the Germans and cities like London, Bristol, Coventry and others were all under attack and Britain lost 47 000 of her children to this attack. Winston Churchill, the World War II British Prime Minister, stood firm in defence of the British resolve and on October 29, 1941 he was invited to give a speech at the Harrow School of Excellence and his four minutes and 12 seconds speech has always been remembered as his greatest speech ever – all for three words made eight by the repetition of one.

Said Churchill, "Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever give in."

There is a myth that these words were all he said before resuming his seat while others claim all he said was: "Never give up." Of course, all this is not true, but the speech was extraordinarily short, anyway. In the same speech, Churchill asked his audience of aspiring world leaders, a product the Harrow School boasts of producing, the following important question. He asked about the war itself: "Did you not expect to move from crisis to crisis?"

Encouraging his fellow countrymen not to focus on the appearance of German arsenal, Churchill had this to say, "You cannot tell from appearances how things will go".

On the way forward for his people, Churchill said: "Without imagination nothing will ever happen."

The British just need to revisit their German role on Zimbabwe in the last eight years and try to find out how many times President Mugabe has said: "Never, ever." They also need to find out how many times he has reminded Zimbabweans that the illegal sanctions imposed on the country will get the people to move from crisis to crisis. Indeed, they need to remind themselves how many times President Mugabe has insisted that despite the appearances of Britain and her allies, Zimbabwe will never be a colony again.

Lastly, they need to remind themselves how many times President Mugabe has been demanding decisive and imaginative leadership from his Cabinet since the days of the War Cabinet.

If those who today sit in Churchill’s chair can answer themselves honestly to the above questions, then there is little trouble understanding why such multitudes of people as did turn up to endorse President Mugabe’s leadership. If imperial Britain, under attack over its stolen territorial possessions, could make a resolve to die to the last man, what more Zimbabwe, under unjustifiable attack over its decision to repossess its stolen land — ironically stolen by some of the most rogue of Britain’s children?

It must be noted that even if Professor Moyo’s wish of seeing barefoot and hungry people were true, the march would still have been a success for it was a march in revolution — a march whose language is never ever to give in.

Now the march has not only disabled the perfidious and slanderous propaganda machine as existing in the name of the Western media.

The march, more than anything else, took off the mask of the giant that has always been put on the tiny and not so attractive face of Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC faction. The delusions of grandeur have been exposed for what they are and indeed even many of the die-hard MDC supporters have now come to terms with the right size of their insidious party.

The world needed none other than a woman of British origin, one Peta Thornycroft, to tell it as it is that the MDC that Tony Blair created — that house that Anthony built — is not as glamorous and as strong as the Western media has been shouting. While she was busy telling the pirate SW Radio what the real MDC is like, Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade was telling the whole world how the Western media had misled him about the situation on the ground in Zimbabwe — and he had no kind words for the British ambassador in his own country whom he accused of grossly misleading him as well. That says a lot about an African leader falling prey to foreign Press and foreign spokespersons presenting issues about his own continent.

Anyway, it is the picture of the miry MDC that was given by Peta Thornycroft, an avowed critic of the Government of Zimbabwe in the mould of the BBC’s Hillary Anderson, the brains behind the Panorama imaginations, that is most telling.

This writer, just like many other analysts, has written before about the MDC having been founded on the strength of Zanu-PF’s points of weakness rather than on any alternative policy. This meant that the rallying point for those who founded the MDC was protest over perceived Zanu-PF failures. This meant that various interest groups — some of them with irreconcilable interests as well as conflicting principles — all came together under the unifying factor of hate politics towards Zanu-PF and the Government it leads as well as their common interest in Blair’s money. It goes without saying that from the outset the MDC’s point of weakness has always been its multiple power centres and Thornycroft agrees that her biased colleagues and herself never bothered to get it right with what the MDC was really made of. Now that she can openly agree that the MDC was never the united democratic movement that she and her colleagues preached about with the zeal of fire-and-brimstone evangelists. It may be time for those who were hoodwinked to accept the reality of Western media deception.

Thornycroft outlined in precise detail how the MDC is not a political party deriving its existence on an ideology, but an industry providing a source of living for people who have no qualms remaining in opposition as long as they can continue to dupe Westerners into pouring money into the party’s coffers. She did mention that Tendai Biti is seen as the finance director who must keep popping out money like an automated teller machine — yes, even to foreign-based "provinces" of the party.

Thirdly, Peta alludes to the media-created delusions of grandeur on the MDC — a party clearly overrated above its station. In the same vein, she concedes that she and her colleagues underrated Zanu-PF and portrayed it is a party with no support while, in fact, the party had "massive support" in many parts of Zimbabwe. She even expressed shock at more than 4 000 voters voting for Zanu-PF in the Budiriro by-election, right inside Harare, an area the MDC claims is their 100 percent monopoly.

Fourthly, she helps put home the point we have always tried to put across — that the MDC did not bother creating any synergies in Africa, totally alienating themselves from the political circles of Africa while endearing themselves to their crumb providers in the West. Thornycroft thinks this was purely lack of strategy and may be political experience, but the real reason is the MDC is a Western creation. Here is a party that launched itself by vowing to violently remove a legitimate government and went on to openly call for sanctions against the people. Consulting fellow Africans on such treacherous, if not treasonous, issues would be akin to a cheating spouse trying to share details about her evil deeds with the sister of her husband. Indeed, the MDC was hiding from Africa hoping that the suffering they were campaigning for would drive Zimbabweans into revolting against the Government and they hoped the uprising would in itself give them legitimacy in Africa. Of course, all attempts at an uprising were dismal failures with the last cruise ending up in a few bruises.

Number five, Peta notes that the West is now giving up on their political project and she laments the fact that the Government has been so triumphant over London that Gordon Brown is now "exiled in his own continent", a reference to the announcement by the unelected British premier that he will stay home while the elected leaders of Europe and Africa talk business at the EU-Africa Summit that begins this weekend — all because Brown can’t face the man behind the bravery that has withered away the power of the sanctions his country has so painfully mobilised over the last eight years.

This writer avoided quoting Thornycroft for the major reason that she only said what has been all along so obvious about the MDC — of course, also because this writer is no big fan of the lady and what she stands for.

Lastly, Peta expresses bitterness that the MDC is a violent party, and she says she overlooked this in 2001 just because she thought she was covering a cheated party.

When Tsvangirai vowed to violently remove President Mugabe, the MDC had not participated in any election, and when they coined and popularised the term "jambanja" in 1999, they had not participated in any election and, therefore, no electoral cheating could have been a factor. Peta is of the opinion that the MDC’s violent tendencies would be understandable if the aggression was not directed towards fellow members to the party — an inference that violence against Zanu-PF or the Government could be acceptable to her and, by extension, to her Western allies.

The MDC infighting, its current fractious state, its lack of ideology or policy — all put together with the shock of the November 30 pro-Mugabe Harare march — will definitely lead to some Western players deciding to ostracise the MDC and it won’t be surprising if the US will be among the first countries to do so. After all, Uncle Sam has a reputation for discarding fodder that outlives its usefulness just like he can pick up alliances with former enemies without problems. With the US, Al-Qaeda can turn out to be an ally one of these days should they decide to redirect their energies towards, say, the Chinese.

The crowds that marched in Harare were a big statement for Zimbabwe’s revolution. That the mighty waters of Western sanctions have not doused the revolutionary fires of the Third Chimurenga is what we all have learnt from the march.

For the marchers and all the children of the revolution in Zimbabwe, it is homeland or death! Together Zimbabwe will overcome.

l Reason Wafawarova is a Zimbabwean political writer and can be emailed on:

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