9/11: Day West loves to hate
Posted: Monday, September 15, 2008
By Caesar Zvayi
Printer friendly version
September 15, 2008
SEPTEMBER 12 is a milestone in the history of Zimbabwe as it was on September 12, 1890 that the Pioneer Column, a military volunteer force of settlers organised by Cecil John Rhodes, arrived in the country to colonise Mashonaland on behalf of the British crown.
The settler brigands hoisted the Union Jack at a garrison they set up at the Kopje and named Fort Salisbury in honour of the Third Marquess of Salisbury, then Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Settlements later radiated from that fort, growing into the Harare of today.
And it was in Harare, a few metres from the Kopje, that a deal was struck between Zimbabwe's main political parties, on September 11, just hours shy of the 118th anniversary of the colonisation of Mashonaland. The symbolism of the deal does not lie only in its timing, which also coincided with the ninth anniversary of the launch of the MDC, as a revolutionary anti-thesis, but in the fact that the deal effectively dealt the death blow to neo-colonial attempts to effect regime change in Zimbabwe.
Future generations will read that on September 11, 2008, rather than prevail over Zimbabwe the way they did on September 12, 1890, the Westerners came unstuck, suffering the equivalent of a foreign policy bombshell on the scale of 9/11. Their regime change ship simply ran aground as they tasted defeat for the first time in the developing world when the country they had earmarked for destabilisation united against them.
The Western world, which had tried every trick to subvert the inter-party talks, was naturally stunned. Zimbabwe, which was supposed to give George W. Bush a legacy and Gordon Brown a much-needed foreign policy victory, delivered a defeat that stung far worse than the bombings on the Twin Towers seven years ago.
How could a template, tried and tested in Kwame Nkrumah's Ghana, Maurice Bishop's Grenada and Salvador Allende's Chile, come unstuck in Zimbabwe, particularly when regime change experts had given the country a six-month life span, and on September 11 of all days? Well, that is what happens when you base your knowledge of a people on stereotypes. Zimbabwe is a nation born out of a protracted revolutionary struggle, with a conscious populace that knows what is and what is not good for them.
Today, South African President Thabo Mbeki, the man they lampooned, stands in glory; Sadc, the region they hoped to use against Zimbabwe, stands in collective elation and congregates in Harare today. The Western media, whose flushed embeds had hitherto been feverishly covering the talks whenever there appeared to be a snag, suddenly lost their voices, the copy didn't look so good anymore.
All the spin-doctors at the White House and Whitehall could manage was a collective "we are cautious and studying the deal." A tepid response that betrayed inner hurt, a response at variance with the euphoria of the progressive world, as even our brothers in Gaborone instantly forgot their "Mugabe is pretending to be President" line to announce they would be in Harare for the signing ceremony.
No need to question their motives now except to extend a hand, welcoming them to the real world.
Far from the wreck Westerners had hoped for, Zimbabwe is standing. President Mugabe is in charge as Head of State and Government; the two factions of the MDC come into Government as partners, not victors; the real victors are the people of Zimbabwe, who have lived up to their legacy of setting aside sectarian interests for the national good.
It is time the Westerners respected us as a people entitled to sovereignty over our political space. Suffice to say they also need to respect our rights to participate in and benefit from the multilateral agencies we are members of.
In other words, we do not need their approval, we are not their subjects. What we simply want is the unconditional removal of the illegal sanctions they imposed when they claimed to be speaking and acting on behalf of a section of Zimbabweans who are now marching with the rest to a great future for our country. The West's reaction, however, is hardly surprising. It is a reaction to be expected from an investor who fails to get returns on years of painstaking investments. To them, the deal is the equivalent of a stock-market collapse. Will they or won't they get returns from the investments they made?
What of the ground already lost to the Chinese and Russians? Will they be given a foothold?
Well, the prospects are not that bright given that Zanu-PF is still in control. What could have been possible under a purely MDC government is not tenable in the new arrangement.
It is a matter of public record that Western nations, led by Britain and the United States, spent billions of dollars in attempts to unseat President Mugabe. This was the whole point of the economic warfare they launched at the turn of the millennium; the numerous pirate radio stations broadcasting hate speech to various parts of the country, the ubiquitous online publications, and the plethora of NGOs sworn to regime change.
To many of these NGOs, the power-sharing deal is the equivalent of a death certificate. I, however, do not doubt their capacity for reinvention.
But the biggest challenge lies with MDC-T.
Will it continue pursuing the politics of Western appeasement or will it become a bona fide Zimbabwean party, agitating a Zimbabwean and African agenda as its compatriots in MDC have been painstakingly working to become?
Unless they become the change they want to see in others, the MDC-T leadership risks becoming the snake in the house, the one you do not turn your back on lest you invite a sting on the heel.
There can be no going back now, as the deal they are party to is a triumph of African diplomacy as personified by President Mbeki.
The West stands put on notice.
Send page by E-Mail