• ANOTHER SET OF LENSES TO LOOK AT THE SHOOTING OF PROTESTERS IN THE STREETS OF HARARE.

    ANOTHER SET OF LENSES TO LOOK AT THE SHOOTING OF PROTESTERS IN THE STREETS OF HARARE.






















    One experience to a group of people will produce different outcomes to different people groups. It is not the experience that will determine what we will get in the long run but it is the lenses through which we use to analyze the experience. On Wednesday the 1st of August alleged MDC Alliance supporters took to the streets to protest against what they said was election rigging to the recently held Zimbabwe’s harmonized elections. The police are said to have failed to handle the protesters hence calling for assistance from the military. In handling the situation, to date 6 people are reported to have died as a result of shooting in the process.



    Different spaces, whether social, state owned, private owned and general public discourse are analyzing the situation and giving their opinions of the situation. People have different opinions but the truth of the matter is that some people died, others were injured while many were hurt emotionally and the general peace of the environment was disturbed and trust levels tampered with. Who is giving you the lenses to look at the situation?  It is this person that will control your response to the whole scenario. Is it the social media or the public discourse? Is your political affiliation influencing how you look at the whole incident?


    It is upon this background that l will try to present before the people of Zimbabwe and the world at large a fresh pair of lenses to look at the situation and move forward to building the Zimbabwe we want in a peaceful environment. I will quote the viewpoint brought forward by Martin Buber, a German Jewish Existentialist philosopher and theologian in the time of the ascent of Adolf Hitler. He noticed that whenever human beings in a relationship with each other where they essentially could destroy or harm each other, in order to destroy or inflict pain on another they first had to dehumanize their opposition. The dehumanizing of another would only be possible if one group would identify the other group in an impersonal and inhuman way. People would allow differences to create the opportunity and pressure to demonize and brand what was different from them hence the Nazi approach in the time of Hitler.


    Buber describes this as turning the other human being into an ‘IT’ with a label like ‘gay’, ‘Muslim’, ZANU PF, MDC etc. The label reduces the whole complex species of a human life narrative down to a stigma that in a moment based on the source slimes on the meaning of the word. We must never allow an ‘I’, ‘IT’ to form over our differences but maintain an ‘I’, ‘YOU’ realizing that even if we disagree, the person whom we disagree with is made in the image of God. As a carrier of the image of God, this would make you refuse to relate with them as an IT


    What do we see from these words? The whole Zimbabwean political field from the past has been filled with polarized partisan politics whereby people have been seeing each other according to political tags and labels that has led to dehumanization of people. Some people dehumanized the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, while others dehumanized the ruling party and were tearing everything that bore the face of the president. Others dehumanized the opposition party leadership and followers and saw them as deserving the inhuman treatment and death which sadly came upon those who were shot.  The violence activities of the past and the inhuman treatment of people in the past all resulted from the separation of 'I' and 'IT' coming from labeling each other with inhuman tags instead of looking at each other as 'I' and 'YOU' individuals created in the image of God.

    What we would not want is a continuous cycle of dehumanizing each other in tags that allow us to further hatred. Labelling different people groups whether ruling party, opposition or military in a group that can be dehumanized into an 'IT' will result in further antagonism and fueling of more violence. A love response would mean dealing with people of differing opinions as dignified human beings created in the image of God. This would not mean ignoring the offences done but bringing justice to individuals created in the image of God and not dealing with an inhuman 'IT' that we can give a different label. This would mean allowing everyone to exercise their constitutional right or responsibility whether government, military, ruling party or opposition with a respect of the image of God in every human being (human dignity).


    As the presidential results are being announced and as we move towards the post-election period let’s continue to preach the gospel of peace in ourselves, relationships, families, political affiliations and the nation as a whole. Peace is disturbed at individual levels when you dehumanize yourself and fail to realize that you are a valuable and important person that is created in the image of God. God went to the last degree to save you with the sacrifice of Christ because of the value that you carry. The same human value coming from the image of God in you is in the next person. Don't dehumanize them and we can build peaceful societies that are conducive for development and maximizing our potential and realizing the preset Zimbabwean dream.


    May the peace of God be upon you, your family, Zimbabwe, Africa and the World at large!!!!


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