The Sunday Mail
With only a day left before a brand-new school term begins, it is perfectly understandable if some learners are already having the hibbie-jibbies.
Apart from those unsmiling and vile ogres and ogresses stationed at reception areas in most schools, who seem to be sworn to tormenting learners, especially those whose fees are not paid-up, there are always those dreaded creatures — the bullies.
In schools or in real life, bullies really know how to dish out untold grief and misery.
When Bishop Lazi was growing up, particularly on occasions when he visited the city, he unhappily discovered that there lived one such tormenter-in-chief in his neighbourhood.
It was just traumatic.
Each time this evil chap ventured outside his lair, one could tell from the squalls of frightened kids, most of whom had mastered the dark art of hastily melting away to safety, that he was now on the loose.
Whenever this happened, staying indoors was the safest and advisable option.
But there were always those odd occasions when you were sent out on errands, either to buy bread or some trinkets from the nearby tuckshop.
However, the Bishop was handily blessed with one invaluable asset — he could run, and run fast.
In fact, he could outrun the languid, long-legged and ungainly torturer.
This did not guarantee total safety.
There were occasions where unlucky victims were apprehended by kid “militias” that would have been forcibly conscripted into this evil enterprise.
And in any case, they would have obliged for their own safety.
You did not need to have necessarily offended anyone to qualify as a victim, you only had to be unlucky.
Paying homage through giving the bully some odds and ends — often pilfered from home — could buy you some respite, but not permanent insurance and assurance from future abuse.
Often, the victims were not beaten-up, but, on occasion, they would have their shorts or trousers removed and forced to make that traumatic, naked walk of shame back home.
It was not advisable to tell your parent.
One kid made this fatal mistake once and earned his father a good and thorough hiding after he made a follow-up visit.
His family moved out of the neighbourhood after that incident.
Whenever bullies are at large, there is always this unavoidable and constant sense of siege, which seems to be pervasive in Iran today.
After having its top military commander, Major-General Qassem Soleimani — who was leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force — killed on Iraq soil on January 3, Tehran has understandably been hard-pressed to react.
Those in the know knew that obviously Iran’s response could not be as emphatic as what would have been imagined because of the sheer might of the American military machine.
And unsurprisingly, it came in the form of casualty-less token missile strikes on American bases in Iraq last week, which little more than symbolically showed the Yankees Tehran’s military capabilities of firing missiles that cannot be intercepted.
Bishop really thinks that, barring a further precipitous failure in diplomacy and continued escalation of the conflict, the world will not see war between America and Iran.
Forget it! It will never happen!
But the world is now assured that the conflict and fallout will definitely continue, assuming a new and more dangerous dimension, which involves an intensified duel in the shadows.
The assassination of Soleimani, which represents yet another extra judicial killing and flagrant disregard of international law, is not an exception to American exceptionalism.
You see, there is one set of rules for America and another for the rest of the world.
In his 2015 work “The New Rulers of the World”, UK-based Australian award-winning journalist John Pilger highlights the awesome military might of the Americans.
“The capacity of the American military machine to smash impoverished countries is undisputed, conditional on the absence of American troops and their substitution by local or allied forces. The exception was Vietnam. Regardless of the B-52 bombers, napalm, chemical defoliants and weight of numbers, American troops could not match the knowledge and tenacity of a people prepared,” he says.
All this bloodletting will unfortunately continue as Washington increasingly seeks to assert its imperial hegemony on the world, particularly at a time when it is being challenged by the rise of Vladimir Putin’s Russia and a determined and focussed China.
Dear reader, for America to maintain its creature comforts and also keep Moscow and Beijing in check, it has to geo-strategically control the former Soviet Central Asia, which, like the Persian Gulf, is incidentally its source of oil — the lifeblood that sustains its regime.
Without oil, America’s economy would flounder, and with it, its power and dominance.
A 2001 report sponsored by the US Council on Foreign Relations and the Baker Institute for Public Policy indicated that “the world is perilously close to utilising all its available oil production capacity”, adding that world shortages of the commodity could reduce the status of the US to that of “a poor developing country”.
And this is why the oil-rich Middle East will never know peace.
Imagine America being like Somalia. Kikikiki.
However, for the Yankees not to slide into this ignominious state, it means current world inequalities — which continue to condemn countries such as Zimbabwe — and Washington’s vaulting and overweening “interests”, have to be maintained.
Put simply, Zimbabwe has to continue to be poor for America to continue to be rich.
If you doubt this, you definitely need to refer to what George Kennan, a former US strategic planner, said in 1948.
“We have 50 percent of the world’s wealth, but only 6,3 percent of its population. In this situation our real job in the coming period is to maintain this position of disparity. To do so, we have to dispense with all sentimentality, we should cease thinking about human rights, the raising of standards of living and democratisation.”
There you have it folks.
If you wanted to know how a typical bully’s mind works, that is it right there.
And the Americans are more than prepared to use their military might to maintain this skewed and patently unjust world order.
In a shocking cover story written for the New York Times Magazine on March 28 1999, Thomas L. Friedman, a foreign affairs columnist for the Times, brazenly declared that the American military is always more than prepared to maintain this world order.
“The hidden hand of the market,” he said, “will not work without the hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot function without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fuse that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”
It is within the context of this world order that Zimbabwe, particularly the new political administration, which is currently reaching out to former friends and foes alike, has to navigate in order to promote its interests.
But the existing riddle is: can Zimbabwe, which is already under sanctions from Washington, reconcile its own national interests with those of America?
Is it actually possible to placate the Americans? How?
If they choose to be implacable, what is the next step?
What the Bishop knows, however, is that it was not, is not and will not be about democracy and human rights.
As John Pilger said about the Vietnamese, the answer lies in “the knowledge and tenacity of a people prepared”.
I have no doubt that Zimbabwe’s diplomacy will triumph.
Babylon will fall
The emerging new world order — through which it is now only a matter of time before China becomes a counterbalancing superpower, and Russia has made tremendous progress — is very encouraging.
Ordinary people around the world, from Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America, who have been fatigued by the existing global economic inequalities and are beginning to challenge it, also give the world renewed hope.
The resultant upheavals are already spawning new political dynamics around the globe.
The world is changing.
And America should learn from history that empires — the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, etcetera — will always rise and fall as part of a cyclical evolution of the world.
Good also always triumphs over evil.
You have to refer to Revelations 18 for an insight.
“There will be mourning and weeping for her (Babylon) by the kings of the earth who have prostituted themselves with her and held orgies with her. They see the smoke as she burns, while they keep at a safe distance through fear of her anguish.
“There will be weeping and distress over her among all traders of the earth when no one is left to buy their cargoes of goods; their stocks of gold and silver, jewels and pearls, linen and purple silks and scarlet; all the sandalwood, every piece of ivory or fine wood, in bronze or iron or marble; the cinnamon and spices, the myrrh and ointment and incense; wine, oil, flour and corn; their stocks of cattle, sheep, horses and chariots, their slaves and human cargo.” (Revelation 18: 9-13).
It might not come in the Bishop’s lifetime, but this will most assuredly come to pass.