The Sunday Mail
An intended consequence of the illegal Western sanctions on Zimbabwe is unemployment.
Credit lines have thinned, funds in Western banks have been frozen, and key entities such as banks and industrial concerns have been embargoed. Even fertiliser firms have not been spared.
The objective is to increase unemployment, hunger and general social malaise.
In this regard, the sanctions have worked: unemployment is a real challenge for Zimbabwe. As such, there are many idle hands and minds around, and the Devil is working overtime with this workshop that sanctions have presented to him.
The idle hands and minds are doing the bidding of those who would seek to destroy them; calling for protests against import controls that are designed to improve their own manufacturing capacity, calling for protests against bond notes that are meant to help them as they do not print US dollars of their own, calling for protests against a President who has led them out of colonialism and wishes to empower them.
The activities of those with idle hands and minds are the fruit of approaching national politics without any sense of history or understanding of why we are where we are today.
And Heroes and Defence Forces days provide for reflection within the context of the past-present-future continuum that makes any nation.
Which is why it is good that General Constantino Chiwenga, Lieutenant-Gen Philip Valerio Sibanda and Air Marshal Perrance Shiri have over the past week sought to refocus debate on national economic and security matters within the framework of our history of resistance to subversion.
History is a tool.
If the present does not make sense, it could be because insufficient respect has been paid to the past.
And the net effect of that insufficient respect for the past is the real possibility of plunging headlong into an uncertain future.
For both individuals and nations, understanding the past is of paramount importance.
Psychotherapists are masters of this, or are at least supposed to be. Their brief is “the excavation of the past as a means of untangling the present and rendering it liveable. It’s detective work of sorts, crouching in the blind alleys of the unconscious.
And it begins with the taking of a careful and detailed history”, to borrow from psychologist and novelist Jonathan Kellerman.
In this regard, the excavation of history for the purpose of understanding the present becomes more than just an academic exercise, as it mostly is for archaeologists.
It becomes an existential imperative, a life and death proposition.
We are told history repeats itself. That could be because of our lack of understanding of that history.
If we do not excavate and analyse it as much as we should, or not at all, the chances of making the same mistakes again are very high.
The lack of historical knowledge will keep us in a loop of repeated error, of reinfection with the same disease and continued contamination of our knowledge gene pool with uninformed decisions about our political and economic direction as a nation.
We must excavate the past.
And when that previously unexcavated history confronts us, we have the option to either shake and scream in horror like primitives suddenly seeing a new god, or sit down and reflect on the false truths of before and start charting a new way forward so that we do not repeat the same mistakes.
It is for this reason that this Heroes and Defence Forces holiday, we urge the nation to reflect on the sacrifices of the tens of thousands of men, women and children who died in their quest for an independent Zimbabwe.
We should ask ourselves if the choices we are making today are informed by that history or if they are a direct subversion of that same history, a subversion that will result in a new colonialism from which we may never break free.