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#ThisFlag: Provoking Critical Thinking.

by Maureen Kademaunga 

“All books about all revolutions begin with a chapter that describes the decay of tottering authority or the misery and sufferings of the people. They should begin with a psychological chapter, one that shows how a harassed, terrified man suddenly breaks his terror and stops being afraid. This unusual process, sometimes accomplished in an instant like a shock demands to be illustrated. Man gets rid of fear and feel free…without that there would be no revolution. This sort of reasoning was put out there by prolific Polish Journalist the late Ryszard Kapuscinski, I couldn’t agree more with him. . In recent episodes in Zimbabwe we have witnessed great acts of courage, defiance and fearlessness by ordinary people. From Dzamara and his heroic activities in the Africa Unity Square, which led to his abduction, #tajamuka with its feisty revolutionary master spectacles, to Pastor Evan Mawarire and #thisflag campaign that has ignited fire in many Zimbabweans.

These acts of courage produce a deeply affecting mental image of man breaking free of his shackles that is stamped on the mind of the oppressed. It essentially becomes the driving force behind the revolution as has been the case with the current wave of citizen awakening and action. We have reached the point where our anti-poverty and anti-oppression struggle, which is forward looking and wide ranging, is imagesanchored by the optimism that one day soon we will get Zimbabwe working again and a fierce desire for freedom and the zeal to speak out and act. Those who have embraced the passion of the moment can attest that the feeling of pursuing the dream together is rare and liberating, it’s remarkable! This to me is a once in a lifetime momentum that we must sustain and defend at any cost. For the past 11 weeks, Pastor Evan played a central role in this movement. He became a candidate for targeted victimisation, outside the Rotten Row Court where thousands turned out in solidarity with him while he was incarcerated, I could overhear conversations of ordinary citizens in awe of this overnight wonder, super hero. Linda Tsungie Masarira nd 300 other activists who were incarcerated round about the same time were largely ignored, it felt like they were a distraction to the one man who mattered, the super pack.  I was worried, I knew then that this unhealthy investment in one individual was a disaster waiting to happen. Many were confusing the revolution with the revolutionist. And indeed the day came when Pastor E, cornered by the regime, was left with no option but to run to safety.

I was disappointed to the point of tears, not by Pastor E’s choice to run in the face of danger, but by the unmeasured hostile criticism that followed it. To me Pastor E is an innocent Pastor who, sick and tired of being sick and tired, woke up one morning and decided to take the bull by its horns. Unlike the elected officials whose misdeeds most of us are scared to slur in broad daylight, Pastor E does not answer to you or me. He made it clear right from day 1, he answers to the truth and his Maker, and should we also not be accountable to these two- the truth and our maker? His was a personal frustration and a feeling of emasculation for being denied the opportunity to provide for his children the basic and inalienable right to education. Like him, many of us have our own frustrations and the big idea is to speak with one voice and connect our selfless acts of boldness into one entwined mesh that is massive and resilient in the face of the inescapable clampdown by the regime?

Why then should one man assume the role of the messiah and bear the brunt of the cross alone? Why must you angrily force him to be the ambassador of your own suffering and frustrations? Why must we shamelessly persecute him and demand accountability from him when we cannot demand accountability from our elected officials who have much to atone to. It is such a shame that the same crowd that applauded Pastor E’s coronation is the same crowd that’s applauding his beheading. Is it because people like a show or because we are yet to co-create the roadmap to our shared vision of a new Zimbabwe? The magnitude of our challenges is bigger than the smallness of our politics, let’s rise above it!

The ultimate lesson here people is that #thisflag was and is never about one man. #thisflag is about the people’s revolution that will bring an end to the tyrannical rule, the revolution that will secure the education of the small boys and girls whose future right now stands uncertain, the revolution that will allow us to freely employ our talents and passions in the pursuit of happiness, the revolution that will see men and women work together side by side to rebuild our beautiful country, the revolution that will make us once again a proud member of the family of nations, the revolution that will see our doctors and nurses happy to serve communities in functional public hospitals, the revolution that will murder corruption and  secure accountability and transparency, the revolution that will deliver a booming industry and create jobs for our underutilised skilled human resource base, the revolution that will make Zimbabwe safe for diversity. #thisflag is our movement together, united standing firm for truth and justice we shall deliver the promise for future generations. Take out that flag, show up and speak out. In J.F Kennedy’s words “indeed a revolution is coming- a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough, compassionate if we care enough, successful if we are fortunate enough but a revolution is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character but we cannot alter its inevitability. My clock says it’s a quarter to “new Zimbabwe”, let’s push!

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