"It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society." --Krishnamurti
A Look at Zimbabwe: A Visit and Subsequent Thoughts
- Reaction from Ann in Zimbabwe
- Debbie Jeans' (in Zimbabwe) second reply
- Anonymous reaction
- Reaction from Tony Ballinger in the UK
- Anonymous reaction from Australia
- More drivel from Debbie in Zimbabwe
Ann wrote at http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jan3a_2004.html#link1:
I had a good stew about that very long letter from the tourist.
He was very irritating, and Debbie Jeans is so right as to her conclusion.
I have questions of my own in response. Why didnt this enquiring mind go into a grocery store to find out for himself if he was so interested? Why was he so scared to ask his contacts here about the currency for his holiday- are they all too stupid to use other words, or items like everyone else does? All those photos he took - surely he asked about it first - but it was a pretty stupid thing to do, and he was lucky to get away with it.
What one earth did he want to take the zim $ out for, except to stick on his bar and tell hairraising stories to his dinner guests - they are no use to anyone else except the opportunists in Zambia who he shouldnt be encouraging anyway. As for the road blocks, learn to smile, smile, smile - it works wonders.
As for the wife beating and alcoholic white women - I havent heard of any (and my daughter is in that age group) and I really take exception to this blanket accusation when he admits to his limited experiences. If he said that a lot of people have turned to religion, then I would go along with that. I actually know more women alcoholics in the 'peaceful' outer world, and more philanderers!
So thanks for circulating that one, good for the blood pressure, as usual, and makes us all take a harder look at ourselves, hopefully, but dont bring him back, whoever it was who brought him in. We're all busy making sure we get to read the last chapter in this saga, and get to the Happy Ending.
A reply from Debbie Jeans to my reply to her, at http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jan4_2004.html#link6:
Your reply to my reply only serves to confirm that you are an outright racist and you entertain absolutely no capacity whatsoever to understand our situation because you are so wrapped up in your own self-worth and self-justification!
I have been a World and Olympic level judo athlete for a period spanning 19 years travelling all over the world training and competing - flying the Zim flag wherever I went. The reason I am telling you this is because my experiences in France, Britain, Japan, Korea, Spain, Italy, USA and all over Africa were not as a tourist but as a simple, cash-strapped passionate athlete.
I learned from very early on that no matter where you are, a person's real worth reveals itself when it is challenged time and time again, exhausted, staring defeat in the face, yet deep down somehow, from somewhere you find the strength and the courage to stand up and fight just one more time. Hour, after hour, the fight goes on, day after day, month after month. Covered in mental and physical bruises, every joint aching, muscles screaming out to quit ... but you're in it with all the other athletes from around the world and you look for the tiniest signs that you are actually moving forward.
Then one day, you throw a champion or an ex-champion in competition for the gold ... and you know that it was not that last training session that did it .... it was everything that you had endured before then. You see my pessimistic friend, it's not what happens to you in life ... it's what you do about it .... does life polish you up as a diamond, or does it grind you down into dirt??
How dare you categorise and label our black brothers and sisters. How dare you make blanket statements about our insignificance as whites toward making a difference now and in the future of our beloved country. How dare you.
If you simply cannot bare to believe in a nation which is more unified than ever before across the colour line .... and I see it on a daily basis both in my gym and out on the streets .... then get the hell out of our business and take your attitude elsewhere. This nation is polishing diamonds as I write .... the people of Zimbabwe are suffering together and soon, that one perfect throw will happen. Now, take your dirt and go throw it somewhere else!
"Better to be in the arena, with your face masked by the blood, sweat and tears of defeat, than to be up in the (tourist) stands where those poor, poor souls will never know what it's like to have even tried." (Apologies to F.D. Roosevelt!)
And a couple of miscellaneous responses as well as more self-righteous drivel from Debbie Jeans at http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jan4_2004.html#link7:
Two replies to Debbie Jeans....and her response
Response to Debbie Jeans's letter!!
I don't believe that the letter from the fellow visiting Zim was suggesting everyone still there should jump ship - as one of those whom might be described by Debbie as having jumped ship, I think that Zimbabweans still there should be perhaps less judgemental of those whom have left. Having the opportunity daily through this Netgo service to "catch up" on what is happening at "home" is wonderful, I found the writer's views whilst perhaps not what the average resident Zimbabwean might like to hear - quite interesting and refreshing.
We can all justify what we do in life and where we want to live - but in simple terms there are two categories of Zimbabweans still there - those who choose to remain there when they have the means to live elsewhere ( and whom black and white, some through dubious means, ar e making a fortune) and those whom perhaps might want to leave but don't have the luxury of a choice.
There are many, like myself and our family,who were fortunate to be able to contemplate and finally make the decision to leave - we did not leave because we wanted to particularily - my first son left because he saw no future for his kids, I left as I could no longer see myself surviving there without cashing in a whole lot of my assets for the privilege of being able to stay and my eldest son, the last to leave, did so because he was like so many still there "just hanging on for next year when it will all change" - 4 years later it's changed all right but not the way we would have hoped! I didn't have years to spare unhappily to wait for Zimbabwe to come right and as it's turned out I am more than happy with the decision I made although it for sure has not been easy - that does not mean to me that I should be perceived as perhaps having betrayed the cause - I, like many others I am sure, have huge concern for those less fortunate left behind - and certainly no jealousy for those remaining whom are making a fortune - if they want to make it in those circumstances - good luck to them!
I don't share Debbie Jeans's and others optimism for the future of Zimbabwe - but I hope that I am wrong - the tragedy for us all though is that the expertise has gone and whilst you can buy new expertise in due course ( albeit expat expertise probably ) the damage is well and truly done - for me whatever happens there it will never be the same.
Debbie, (I remember her well from gym) is a super person, so I am not criticising her here, obviously had a knee-jerk reaction when she read the authors letter, as indeed I did, to begin with.
However, when I analysed the letter line by line and and drew up an imaginary score-card in my mind, the author was actually very critical of mugabe and very sympathetic to the situation all zimbos find themselves in.
In no way did the author say 'jump', he/she said 'are we (external people) right in saying 'jump'? and that only time would tell.
Zimbos have become over-sensitive to this type of letter and I would encourage other 'Debbies' (who may feel the same way) to take a deep breath and walk a kilometre or two on a treadmill before commenting on contentious issues.
I found only one or two lines to be anything but the truth and maybe that's what bugged Debbie!!
Tony Ballinger (UK) - (no longer a zimbo according to Debbies interpretation!!)
Hi Craig - this comment came through to me from friends in [deleted], Western Oz - I thought you would be interested since there have been several from defensive Zimbabwean residents (who need to take their heads out of the sand methinks!)
Sent: Saturday, January 03, 2004 10:24 AM
Subject: WORTHWHILE READING
I found this very interesting. I think most of you will find it interesting too. it would appear from the two letters in reply to the original letter; that all will be OK in Zimbabwe once the football game is over! In my opinion unfortunately, it is not a "game" and most of the white players in the team have already been sent off! Even if they were still allowed to participate in the "game", their input would have no significance, as Bob's team has already been declared the winners! Once Bob and his team has retired, they will be replaced by another team, also not requiring white players for support and will continue playing against all the other friendly teams in the region,until all the balls have burst, the pitches ruined and the goalposts broken!
....And Debbie's FINAL response.........
Thanks for the response to my reply to "tourist's letter"! I was afforded the honour and opportunity to speak to Zimbabweans in London in February last year ... asked by an annonomous a-political sponsor who wanted myself and two prominent Zimbabwean women to give an honest account of what the situation was REALLY like on the ground .... for those living over there who are tired of reading papers or hearing second hand accounts.
Our picture was far from pretty, economically all bad news. But as a community all three of us told of a new national pride .... in simply being Zimbabwean and actively being involved in community rebuilding from people from all walks of life, colour and culture back home! What humbled us was the response we received from ex-farmers and youngsters living in London. Supporting each other, helping each other, networking and doing the most incredible work to achieve the same purpose as Zimbabweans still back home ..... to start rebuilding the future. There was absolutely no anger, bitterness or justification for leaving / staying. We all shared a common purpose and the mutual feeling was intoxicating!
My heart has been broken time and again sadly bidding so, so many people farewell over the years. I am the first to appreciate the diverse and often tragic circumstances that necessitate a person making the enormous decision to leave. I am also only too acutely and painfully aware that any day my circumstances could change and I could be the one on the plane.
However, as is the case with Zimbabweans here, by God's grace alone am I afforded the opportunity and the means to stay here .... and I believe that my purpose is to shine a light wherever and to whoever walks, stumbles, is led or falls into my circle of infuence. This is all I have to offer and it is all I am giving on a daily basis ... believing, believing and believing. If I lost everything that I have worked so hard to build, well, so be it. The journey is far more important than the material worth.
My children are growing up strong, healthy, happy, disciplined and are part of an incredible community ... my gift to them is the same as the gift my parents gave me; being raised under a free, African sky with all that a diverse, changing, unpredictable African birthright has to give them. For the time, they are living, eating, learning, competing and playing with peers comprising of black and white Zimbabweans just like themselves. There is NO debate about whether or not there is a future here .... the future is made of what's happening in the present at any moment in time.
You see, living here affords us the reality of seeing first hand for ourselves how the process of rebirth is happening right under our noses with the next generation and because so, so many of us are actively involved in rebuilding we are able to put forth our objection when a visitor to the situation is able to sum up mostly negative perceptions and impressions as the common national trend in a few days! Our tourist's reply to my reply only justifies my initial reaction to his attitude! He is a racist and a pessimist of note!!!
To all the Zimbabweans out there wherever you are ... we have absolutely nothing to gain from delving on the past and projecting dire happenings in the future .... what a waste of precious energy! Let us simply remember that the job at hand is to make a difference in this world, no matter how small or seemingly ineffective. Concentrate on giving 100% to the present and the results will take care of themselves! The ripple effect of every one of our actions is felt in places we will never know so let us ensure that no opportunity to contribute to moving our nation and our people ... here at home and all over the world ever forward ... and upward. God Bless Zimbabwe.
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