No violence this time

After an atrocity, the survivor’s emotions are a pall unrelieved by time – so powerful, so rending, those emotions, that even the avenging spirits have to flee. How does someone live with the horror and pain of watching their loved ones mutilated?

Fact – every atrocity in history was worse than we think. It is not just the parents that are buried in the scorched earth, crushed in the rubble, discarded underneath a jumble of rocks. Wailing children, too. Grandparents, already frail and failing.

Why, do you ask? Why do men do this to their fellow men? Pogroms need no reason. None that can weather challenge, in any case.

Difference in kind is the first recognition; the only one needed, in fact. Land, domination, accusations of insurrection, pre-emptive attacks, WMDs – all just excuses, mundane justifications that do nothing but disguise the simple distinction.

They are not us. We are not them.

Warmongers always view their adversaries no differently from the way they view ants underfoot, herds on the grasslands, or indeed the grass itself. Ubiquitous. A feature of the landscape, to be done away with as they please.

A richly cultured, ancient people reduced to simplistics. Nothing-isms, designed to dehumanise, to make them easier for the simple soldier to destroy without compunction.

Genocide knows the same formula, wherever it is committed. Eradication requires no mathematical calculations, no complex machinations.

All it requires is apathy – good people, strong voices, mute or cowed in the face of horror.

This is why Zimbabwe scares me. You do not know what is going to happen. Will it be next year? The year after that?

Do we have the capacity to brutalise our fellow men, to visit such horror upon our neighbours as to scar them for life?

We have already shown that we can – we have proved how bad things get. But we still have a chance to figure it out, to realise that no matter how motivated, what bring us together is stronger than what pulls us apart.

We are more than this or that party, this or that race, this or that language or ethnicity.

We are all Zimbos, after all.

Not this time.

8 Replies to “No violence this time”

  1. Only those who risk going too far, find out how far they can go…

    I know, not very me is it? Quoting in response to a post, that is. But, I do wonder. Not sure if i am making any sense, but here goes. this is what scares me.

    On the one hand, you have those in power pushing it, because they can. They are allowed to.

    But on the other hand, you have those on the receiving end, letting it go, and I worry how mcuh will be allowed to happen. How bad must it get before the resistance kicks in.

    And in thinking about resistance, when the tipping point is reached, how ugly would it get. I am all for fighting for your rights and what not (ideally through the courts – don’t laugh), but I really (I imagine much like most other Zimbos) wouldn’twant it ever to get to the point where people do some crazy desperate f’ed up heroic stuff like some people have done. Like Bobby Sands (he didn’t even have any heirs – so why?), or Thích Qu?ng ??c, or any other person who’s got so fed up as to upfrontly kill themself for a cause, even a good cause. Am I right in thinking Zimbos just don’t do that sort of thing, at least anymore? It’s not who we are, is it? Also, we wouldn’t, as a collective, go all Rwanda, up on each other’s ass, would we?

    I should eat something!

  2. The Tipping Point is a fantastic myth.

    Resistance is always there – REVOLT, however – actual physical bloody revolt, happens not because of a gradual increase in hardship leading to a action, but is either planned and calculated OR, if spontaneous, then because the ‘system’ loses the plot and takes drastic and sudden action. People absorb slow and gradual – thats how things progressively get worse with everyone moaning and subtely boasting about how they manage to cope, ‘sudden’ jolts them into action.

    pertinently, the initial colonial invasion was a tipping point, UDI was a tipping point, 1997 was a tipping point – inbetween and NOW is just gradual insiduous fuckery with much resistance but no action.

  3. Resistance, but no action, huh? Feels a bit oxymoronish, doesn’t it? Surely, in resisting, the action is the being resistant. Not acting would be being passive, just letting it take you with it. Going with the shitty flow.


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