We are in the second Republic, the christened new dispensation, and we are in the process of economically re-engaging the Western world, and I do not in anyway wish to undermine the decent efforts of those genuinely trying to find a lasting solution to our economic problems; which are many.
However, there must be no illusions over the magnitude of resentment towards our country since we embarked on the Third Chimurenga, better known as “the land grab” in other circles.
Symbolically what we did in 2000 was a huge blow to the foreign policy of world powers in the Western world — an unacceptable threat to Western interests.
Our land question was at the time as contentious as is the land question in Palestine, or at least the principle behind the two conflicts was similar.
These similarities are not exactly a matter of mere opinion, but a derivation from historical facts. There is a telling historical connection between the founders of Zionism, Israel’s founding philosophy, and the founders of colonial Rhodesia, now our very own Zimbabwe.
The principal architect of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl, who surprisingly justified anti-Semitism as “inevitable”, wrote to Cecil John Rhodes, the founder of Rhodesia, in 1895; as he considered Rhodes an outstanding visionary. Rhodes had popularised himself as the face of the mass of white settlements in Southern Africa after countless bloody battles with the African population.
Herzl wrote to Cecil John Rhodes:
“You are being invited to help make history. This cannot frighten you . . . it does not involve Africa but a piece of Asia Minor, not Englishmen but Jews . . . I turn to you . . . because it is something colonial . . .”(John Rose, The Origins of Zionism, 1986).
Herzl was an Austrian Jewish journalist who covered the much-publicised Dreyfus trial in France in 1895, a trial that provoked an outburst of anti-Semitism that Herzl surprisingly conceded as inevitable and justifiable.
He declared: “Above all, I discovered the emptiness and futility of trying to combat anti-Semitism.”
Herzl, as a founding member of Zionism, found it convenient to justify anti-Semitism, just because the suffering of fellow Jews in Europe and other parts of the world would work in his favour at the time; as he was desperate for a push factor to get Jews to join his Zionist dream of going back to Palestine.
This was a regrouping largely seen as a fulfilment of Biblical scriptures and promises based on the doctrine that Jews are God’s chosen people, and as such a royal nation, and that the Holy Land philosophy.
Herzl’s efforts came against a backdrop of a Jewish Diaspora community that did not show the slightest inclination to uproot themselves from their newly found homes and return to the land of their religion’s founders.
For Herzl, the persecution of Jews was fine as it propped his campaign for a return to Palestine.
This is pretty much the same way the gruelling suffering effected by the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by some Western powers is welcomed by opposition leaders who believe it abets their campaign for a revolt against the Government, or its downfall.
Herzl was hankering for the escalation of Jewish persecution so his personal agenda could succeed, and we have politicians in Zimbabwe who celebrate and rejoice at the suffering of our people because they believe if they suffer bad enough, they will have to do an uprising against the incumbent Government, so the opposition could benefit from the Government ouster.
The role of the British government and the likes of Herzl will be pursued a little later, but for now it might just be necessary to look at how Rhodes responded to Herzl’s call that invited him to take part in “making history” by helping in the colonial occupation of Palestine.
Rhodes, whose major motivation for colonialism was recognition of the role imperialism could play in drawing off an “unwanted” portion of the British population who could otherwise become a source of instability, was quite impressed by Herzl’s invitation and wrote back saying:
“I was in the East End of London (a working class quarter) yesterday and attended a meeting of the unemployed. I listened to the wild speeches, which were just a cry for “bread”, “bread” . . . I pondered . . . and became more and more convinced of the importance of imperialism . . . In order to save the 40 million inhabitants of the United Kingdom from bloody civil war we colonial statesmen must acquire new lands to settle the surplus population, to provide new markets for the goods produced in the factories and the mines. The Empire, as I have always said, is a bread and butter question. If you want to avoid a civil war, you must become imperialists.”
Herzl was impressed by Rhodes’ imperialist beliefs, and he went on to assert that the only guarantee to an eventual Jewish state would be one based on what he called “assured supremacy”.
This meant obtaining imperialist backing; and he again wrote:
“England, with her possessions in Asia, should be most interested in Zionism, for the shortest route to India is by way of Palestine. England’s great politicians were the first to recognise the need for colonial expansion . . . And so I believe in England the idea of Zionism, which is a colonial idea, should be easily understood.”
Herzl’s religious beliefs and his fanatical ambitions of finding a home for Jews through “assured supremacy” over Palestinians, was well complemented by the imperial agenda of the day. Britain was trying to acquire new lands to manage the woes of overpopulation, acute unemployment and dwindling markets for its products.
After the First World War, Britain took effective control of Palestine after successfully engineering an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire headquartered in Turkey.
After his death Herzl was succeeded by Chaim Weizmann, who promised that if the British encouraged and allowed a Jewish settlement in Palestine, Jews would “develop the country, bring back civilisation and form a very effective guard for the Suez Canal”, then under threat from hostile Middle East states led by Egypt.
For his efforts, Weizmann was invited for secret discussions with the British government in 1917; discussions led by Lord Balfour, the British minister who had introduced the British Aliens Act, 1905. This was xenophobic legislation particularly targeted at stemming Jewish immigration into the UK.
The number one hater of the Jews at the time became Weizmann’s host at what was to be known as the Balfour Declaration of 1917; a declaration that expressed British support for Zionist settlement in Palestine and Zionist acceptance of British control of Palestine. Of course the motivation was twofold, to get rid of the unwanted Jews on one hand, and to secure economic interests in the Middle East on the other.
The declaration promised “a national home for the Jewish people”. And, as Winston Churchill observed, “. . . a Jewish state under the protection of the British Crown, which might comprise three or four million Jews . . . would from every point of view be beneficial, and would be especially in harmony with the truest interests of the British Empire”.
Israel is now 70 years old, and this is the historical partnership deal that binds Zionism and imperialism to this day. It is the same partnership later taken over by the Americans from the British after the Second World War. Clearly, this partnership was never based on either hatred for anti-Semitism or the love for the ordinary Jewish person. These are necessary pretensions.
Rather, it was based on the religious philosophy of Zionism and Messianism, pushed under the protective cover of imperialism, itself driven by the greed of the ruling elite in the British Empire, an elite that was now desperate to pacify the increasingly discontented lower class of their own society, just as Cecil John Rhodes clearly articulated in his letter to Herzl.
Reclamation of the stolen lands of Palestine would be a blatant reversal of the imperial gains made by the British and the US since Britain took over control of Palestine in 1918.
In the same vein our reclamation of land colonially stolen from us here was viewed as a serious threat to imperial authority and its gains in sub-Saharan Africa. In this context, it is easy to understand why we continue to be subjected to murderous and ruinous sanctions in their various forms — relaxed to an extend by the EU and maintained as is by the United States.
Implicitly and maybe explicitly, anti-Semitism became a partner of Zionism rather than its polar opposite just because it served the convenient purpose of driving the “docile” Jews into the action of what we now know as the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Likewise, the sanctions-induced economic decline has become a partner of the so-called “pro-democracy forces” in Zimbabwe rather than its polar opposite just because it happens to be perceived to serve a convenient push factor role in the opposition’s dream of a mass revolt against President Mnangagwa and his Government.
This is why Tendai Biti and Nelson Chamisa have no other hope to govern Zimbabwe one day other than presiding over its total ruin after the sanctions effect.
Morgan Tsvangirai tried the trick and failed, and his treacherous children are still hopeful sanctions can push out ZANU-PF from power.
If anything, the sanctions have served against their intended utility, creating a strong solidarity base not only between ZANU-PF and the majority of Zimbabweans, but more importantly between ZANU-PF and the people of Africa.
The unanimous African call for the unconditional removal of economic sanctions on Zimbabwe is now unmistakable. It is loud and very clear.
To the Western ruling elite, the feeling of losing to the Palestinian cause for reclamation of their stolen lands; as well as that of Zimbabwe can be compared to the feeling of castration. Imperial hegemony is a heritage for Westerners, and cannot be given away.
The founders of Zionism technically coerced Jews into their dream of the “promised land” by condoning anti-Semitism just as the neo-liberal insidious opposition forces of Zimbabwe are trying to coerce Zimbabweans into a so- called “new Zimbabwe” dream.
However, let it be known that Israel has not known peace ever since it was helped occupy Palestine by the British and US forces.
They have lived by the might of firepower and their superficially prosperous economy is almost entirely based on US aid.
At least Israel enjoys the benefit that comes from Western fears of losing control of Middle Eastern oil. There is no logical reason to believe the US can pour $15 billion into Zimbabwe when on average they give $4 billion a year to Israel. Nelson Chamisa must have just cooked up that figure for comic purposes.
Economically, the stakes for Zimbabwe are more symbolic than they are of threatening economic practicalities.
Sadc, which surrounds Zimbabwe, is not as hostile as the Arabic Middle East. Agriculture plays second fiddle to oil, and all the MDC can hope to get from the imperial coalition is a pat on the back and a few crumbs from the wealth to be looted out of our country; should the fight for the imperial reoccupation of Zimbabwe ever succeed.
ZANU-PF is not the kind of party to be toppled by economic sanctions, and Zimbabweans in general are no common pushovers.
It is not surprising that when it suited them, the British blessed anti-Semitism even through their legislation; and when it suited them to demonise it for purposes of mobilising support against the Nazis, they championed the fight with astonishing commitment.
Are we not told on one hand that British politicians and the Americans are not sleeping over the “starving poor people of Zimbabwe” yet at the same time the self-proclaimed philanthropists sit in parliaments across Western capitals debating how best to make the Zimbabwean economy collapse?
Are we not told today of how Venezuelans badly need humanitarian aid, and yet the United States and Britain are withholding a combined $4 billion belonging to the people of Venezuela – their own oil money, and their own gold reserves?
Are these not the same governments that created and nurtured the likes of Saddam Hussein, the Taliban and even Osama bin Laden, only to turn around and tell the world that these people were the worst evil ever to grace the face of the earth?
Examples of imperialist double standards are just too numerous to mention.
However, it is incumbent upon Zimbabweans to choose the best way out of the current situation.
There is no room for staying between two opinions. The harder painful way is to keep confronting the imperialist onslaught by making sure that the land reform programme is successful, and that the economy recovers with or without the West’s support.
This calls for hard work, sacrifice, determination and a resolve to succeed; from both the Government and from every single citizen.
This also requires everyone’s sacrifice when it comes to economic priorities. This means Treasury must prioritise well to ensure production exceeds consumption. Mthuli Ncube cannot compromise on this.
We can also take the easier route of capitulating and competing with Nelson Chamisa to be the more impressive puppets before Western elites, and that way we can easily regain our status as the most democratic state in Africa, generous providers of cheap natural resources, cheap labour, and also an excellent ready market for imports made from Zimbabwean raw materials. This is what good and democratic natives do, and the West will say well done.
This writer does not believe in the perpetuation of imperialism and is definitely opposed to Rhodes’ vision of fixing homegrown problems by embarking on imperialism, with no due regard for the people of the so-called new lands.
To this writer, the reversal of the land reclamation programme would be a revival of Rhodes’ dream; henceforth a revival of Rhodesia, the country he founded, which we proudly buried on that historic 18th day of April in 1980, as we all celebrated the birth of Zimbabwe.
The resolve that is needed to win the war Zimbabwe is fighting against imperial authority is a resolve that says: It’s better to be a free man in one’s grave than to live in chains. It is a resolve not easy to comprehend for some, but nevertheless achievable once those in leadership remain steadfast.
Nothing can stop us from building Zimbabwe — no amount of sanctions can do that. We just have to start off from this self-belief.
Politicians provide a working environment for people to create wealth; they do not create any wealth themselves. It is up to Zimbabweans to choose under what environment they want to work and create wealth; the choice is realistically between providing cheap labour for imperialist investors and doing it ourselves.
There are of course win-win situations where we can have smart partnerships with foreign investors, and we hope these are what our government is pursuing.
We are, first and foremost, Zimbabweans before we form or join political parties.
Zimbabwe was born in 1980 and there is no other new Zimbabwe coming, we need to work on this one for better or for worse; it’s our country, the only one we will ever have, and we must work for it, and defend it to each and every one of us’ last breath.
Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!
Reason Wafawarova is apolitical writer based in Sydney, Australia
Source : The Herald