By Prof Artwell Nhemachena
FAILURE to defend one’s territory cannot be forgiven when even animals defend their territories, with all their teeth and claws.
Of course, I am aware of contemporary global environmental discourses about the erosion of binaries between humans and animals. But I do not intend to equate humans to animals herein. I merely wish to argue that humans can do better than animals.
When the West advises some Zimbabweans to become unpatriotic, this should not be read as upholding human rights. If an animal takes pride in defending its territory and it considers defending such territory as its right, it boggles the mind why human beings would not similarly consider it their right to defend their own territories.
When Zimbabweans besmirch their territory, wish and invite harm to their territory, this cannot be understood as human rights because even animals would not do the same for their territories.
Humanity is not only marked by liberal freedoms, including freedom of assembly, press freedom and freedom of association, among others, rather, humanity is marked by patriotism and defence of one’s territory.
If animals do, as is known, defend their territories, then it means failure to defend one’s territory reduces humans to something worse than animals. The point is that when Africans are fooled into becoming unpatriotic, they are, in essence, being reduced to worse than animals.
Patriotism should be a basic human right, and indeed an obligation for the citizens and the leadership in Africa. Patriotism is read here not to mean failure to hold one another accountable. Rather, it entails holding one another accountable in ways that do not pose a threat to territorial integrity.
As I showed in one of my previous articles, even Cecil John Rhodes remained patriotic to Britain despite challenges of unemployment and crises caused by the First Industrial Revolution.
In fact, Rhodes’ solution was to colonise Africa in order to solve the problems back home in England.
He colonised Africa and then sent the proceeds to Britain to assist solve the challenges his country faced at that time. He even donated funds to universities in Britain, including the famous Oxford University.
But instead of defending their territories and going into the diaspora to source resources to bring back home for the betterment of their territories, some Africans go around the world wishing every possible harm on their own territories and peoples.
Rhodes did not even wish the British Queen harm; instead, he colonised Zimbabwe in the name of the British Queen in order to solve problems back home in England. Put differently, during the time Rhodes colonised Zimbabwe, Britain was a failed State wallowing in crises of unemployment, food shortages, avarice, exploitation and all the other challenges emanating from the First Industrial Revolution.
In spite of all these challenges, Rhodes and other colonists remained patriotic to their territory. In fact, they remained so patriotic that they decided to colonise other people’s territories in order to save their territory back home.
Indeed, during the Anglo-Ndebele war in the 1890s, Rhodes and other colonialists sang the song ‘God Save the Queen’ even as they were colonising Zimbabweans.
Rhodes did not sing songs vilifying the British Queen or any other British leaders for the challenges of unemployment, lack of food, avarice, exploitation and so on. He did the opposite – which is to say, he sang the song ‘God Save the Queen’.
Of course, Rhodes and other colonialists may have quietly resolved any issues they had with their British Queen and leadership, at least in ways that did not erode British patriotism to the British territory.
In fact, Rhodes never ceased to boast superiority of the English race, despite problems back home in Britain.
The implication of the foregoing is that States fail because citizens are not patriotic.
If Rhodes was unpatriotic and did not defend his territory, Britain would have failed to solve its challenges during Rhodes’ era.
Absence of patriotism is a factor which accounts for the failure of African States. And Cecil John Rhodes knew that very well.
Nothing would have prevented Rhodes from travelling all over Africa telling African kings, chiefs and peoples that the British Queen had failed.
Instead, he chose patriotism and to defend his territory — meaning Britain and the British race.
In the light of this, the question is: Can we not argue that it is not the Zimbabwean State that has failed but it is Zimbabwean citizens who have failed to be patriotic enough to defend their territory and to assist it in the way Rhodes assisted Britain?
Zimbabwe’s leadership has not failed but they are doing everything to stead its ship being tossed by a belligerent West and sadly not all hands are on deck to help.
Recently, King Charles III had a coronation which was attended by huge crowds of British people. Some Africans complained that the crowns had stolen diamonds and that gold which was stolen from Africans was stashed in the vaults of the British monarchy.
However, the British people themselves have not disowned their monarchy – their queens and kings, despite them using crowns made of stolen diamonds and keeping stolen gold in their vaults.
The English people have remained patriotic over the centuries since the time colonial lootings started taking place.
In fact, during King Charles IIIs’ coronation, British citizens even helped their king adorn the crown notwithstanding the fact that it was made from stolen diamonds, from South Africa for instance.
Zimbabweans could learn a lot from Al Jazeera. During the coronation of King Charles, Al Jazeera did not demonise the British monarchy as a diamond mafia despite African complaints that the crowns were made from stolen African diamonds.
Similarly, Al Jazeera did not demonise the British monarchy as a gold mafia despite African complaints that African gold was looted during the colonial era and that the monarchy had the gold in its vaults.
Besides, even though it is well known that Europe and America looted African artefacts, which some of them are refusing to return back to Africans, Al Jazeera is not condemning them as artefacts mafia.
And, of course, despite the colonial looting of African skulls and skeletons, Al Jazeera is not condemning the West as a skulls mafia or skeletons mafia.
All we read about, and watch, are Al Jazeera videos about African gold mafia while the real mafia are still looting what belongs to Africans.
During this 21st Century new scramble for Africa, there are Western transnational land mafia grabbing land from African peasants. Africans would be grateful if more serious global media attention is also paid to these.
The point here is not to defend any mafia, where they exist, not imaginary ones, but it is to show Zimbabweans and all other Africans that the idea behind some global media reports about the mafia is not to help Africans. Rather the effect is to erode African patriotism.
If the idea behind global media reports on gold mafia was indeed to help Africans, then one would expect to see Al Jazeera and other global media exposing and shaming all other mafia in the world, including diamond mafia, skulls and skeletons mafia, artefacts mafia, oil mafia and uranium mafia, among others, whether located in or beyond Africa.
Indeed, there are also human body parts mafia harvesting human body parts in Africa, India and other parts of the global South before they take the body parts back to the global North.
Besides, the global media itself becomes an information mafia when it exploits and compromises African patriotism.
One’s patriotism can also be stolen by the patriotism mafia who come to Africa to extract patriotism and spirit it away. It is not only gold that is stolen but patriotism can also be stolen from Africans.
Indeed, even some African marriages and families are failing because of lack of commitment and endearments by partners. Similarly, some African States are failing because of lack of patriotism and endearments by the citizenry.
Failure is not necessarily because of the failure of a particular leader or leaders but it is also because of lack of commitment and patriotism by members.
To understand global media more generally, it is necessary to find out who is funding them and whether the funders have no connections to the enslavement and colonisation of Africans.
Rhodes’ empire is still standing and what he looted has not yet been returned to Zimbabweans.
In other words, Rhodes’ mafiahood is still alive yet some Zimbabweans are not eager to defend what survives Rhodes’ looting in the country.
Heroism does not fall to those who defend the immediacy of their stomachs, rather heroism falls to those who, in spite of their stomachs, defend their territory.
The heroism of Zimbabwe’s liberation fighters lies in the fact that they braved hunger, cold, thorns, bullets, executions and/or imprisonment in defence of the territory called Zimbabwe.
The struggles have to be ongoing because adversities and adversaries do not stop, they simply retool and return.
And this means there is a need for more new heroes and heroines who sacrifice as well while learning from legendary heroes and heroines.
The cry during war should not primarily be about comfort, comfort, comfort or food, food, food or electricity, electricity, electricity; rather the primary cry should be defence, defence and defence.
In other words, the cry should be of sacrifice in defence of the territory.
The challenge among Africans is that, often there is confusion between the time for defence of territory and the time for enjoyment and comfort.
The Zimbabwean liberation war heroes were able to fight heroically because they could distinguish between these times.
If one mistakes the time for defending one’s job with the time for marital congress, one easily gets into trouble. It is time to defend African territory, particularly in light of the ongoing new scramble for Africa.
The problem among Africans is to think that the adversaries have gone forever.
Perhaps they need to learn from the 2015 Oxford Union cocktail that was served as the ‘colonial comeback’. A colonial comeback invites African heroes and heroines to come back so that the African territories are defended.
A colonial comeback is not a time for enjoyment and comfort.
Perhaps global media should assist Zimbabweans deal with the mafia that are extraterritorial and then leave Zimbabweans to deal with any mafia within their jurisdiction. In any case, it is harder to deal with the mafia beyond one’s jurisdiction than it is to deal with the mafia within one’s jurisdiction.
Patriotism is also a human right. Insofar as everyone has a right to belong to a territory, one also has a human right to be patriotic to one’s territory.
Put succinctly, if animals defend their territories, why should human beings not do the same or even better?