We must never forget
THE memories of Tembue, Doiroi, Chimoio, Freedom Camp, Chifombo and Nyadzonia massacres linger.
Yes they are different, for the Rhodesian has his own memories and we have our own.
The Rhodesian talks about ‘terrorists’ or ‘insurgents’.
It was just another war; human life, the lives of Africans are not important.
However, for a freedom fighter who lost a child in the war, memories of places like Chimoio and Nyadzonia where thousands of Zimbabweans were massacred are agonising.
Perhaps the greatest agony stems from the fact that these people died for a cause which sometimes in our forgetfulness trivialise, or in some cases, demonise, if we are close to the Rhodesians and their cousins.
The Jews have never forgotten what the Nazis did to them.
No amount of time can erase those painful memories.
Great-grandchildren remember their grandparents and no-one has asked them to disregard and forget them.
However, some in our midst are asking us to forget what the Rhodesians did to us as a people.
How can we forget?
How can we forget our fathers, our mothers, our sisters, our brothers, our friends, a majority of whom left without saying goodbye?
Many left, never giving us the opportunity to say the things beneath our hearts.
We can never forget them.
We hoped and prayed they would make it back, but many did not and the words we wished to tell them, today we still carry.
We remember the thousands who lie in marked and unmarked shallow graves countrywide.
We remember the many in mass graves because it was impossible to bury them individually.
To date, we remember and celebrate them through the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Heroes’ Acre.
We have not forgotten.
We have to account for every single soul lost in our liberation struggle.
Not only do we remember the departed heroes, but the living as well.
Boys and girls, men and women who made it back, but carry scars because any struggle in the history of mankind inflicts scars that run deep.
The physical scars are obvious and are a permanent feature on many who were victims of Rhodesians.
Some have never received proper medical attention; others carry shrapnel and bullets lodged in various parts of their anatomy beyond the reach of any surgeon’s knife.
And we conveniently forget these heroes.
Perhaps worse are the mental scars that run deep in the psyche. These have been given all sorts of names, but to the psychologist, it is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I have no suitable explanation for these mental scars, but they are a reality for a whole generation that society has decided to vilify and denigrate.
So, whenever we disagree with people who have been exposed to these traumas, we should take these issues into account.
Physical scars are fairly manageable; it is the mental scar that is difficult to heal.
Trauma is the mental scar that our brothers and sisters, who sacrificed so much, have to carry for the rest of their lives.
Therefore, as we move forward as a nation, let us always remember where we came from, because forgetting is detrimental to our future and of course to future generations.