Let’s take a look at the meaning and role of dissent in society. The process confirms that individual and community action has tremendous influence over the course of events.
BY BRENDA CHAVUNDURA – POLITICAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST
Dissent, is a “protest” that expresses a strong reaction of events or situations against the authorities and is publicly expressed and has an impact on society. So what we need to do now as protesters is to organize a protest as a way of publicly and forcefully making our opinions heard in an attempt to influence public opinion or government policy, or we may undertake direct action in an attempt to directly enact desired changes ourselves. Other ways of protest can be by way of writing essays, letters, newspaper articles, (like me – at least I am doing my bit) books, court transcripts, photographs, song lyrics, works of art, poetry or by way of daily, weekly or monthly vigils. This shows how much of today’s world has been influenced by those courageous enough to demand change. There are so many ways to kill a cat.
I can give you examples of those that are brave enough to raise their voices high enough to be heard by the whole weird world. For Example, the Zimbabweans that go to the Zimbabwean Embassy every Saturday (come rain or sunshine) to protest against the Gross Human Rights abuses by the Mugabe regime. People like Rose and Dennis Benton, Patson Muzuwa, Lovemore “Zunza Mazakwatira” Mukeyani, and me of course, not forgetting Lungile Ncube, Luka Phiri, Jeff sango, I can go on and on but the list is endless. We risk our lives everyday, including our families back home not because we are careless or irresponsible but because we are desirous of drawing the attention of the whole world to the maladministration of justice, murder, torture, rapping and disappearance of the innocent children of Zimbabwe. You may have the freedom of speech in Zimbabwe but is there freedom after the speech? Your guess is just as good as mine brothers and sisters.
Gone are the days when Mr. Mugabe and his cronies used to monopolize on the dissemination of information, telling people only what they wanted them to know or hear but thanks to the internet, things have changed and now we have different ways of sharing information at any given time. Nowadays, the fundamental nature of protest has changed and there is a much wider window of opportunity of sharing information through mobile phones and social networking, this has made it so hard for the dictators to stop people from seeing and telling the truth about their evil deeds to the whole world in a millionth of a second, anyone can be a journalist now.
As a Zimbabwean living abroad, I and many other Zimbabweans have deep commitments of getting our country back and these commitments are rooted in our hearts where we ponder the pain and injustices reflected upon us by the ruthless regime. Many of us now live like we did not arm ourselves with qualifications to better our own lives, we live like slaves in foreign countries and we have been separated from our loved ones for so many years, many of which have died not by the will of God but they were killed because they supported the opposition or they refused to follow the orders they were given by the un-educated so called War Veterans or Green Bombers. Even the authorities have imposed draconian Laws like AIPPA just to undermine the works of the opposition not least oppressing them. I am sure these people do it for money’s sake and not because they really want to be murderers. Anyway, God is for us all and He is the only one in my opinion who is authorized to take someone’s life whenever the time comes. I am sure again that their actions will haunt them for life if they have not started seeing dead people already.
Finally, being a protester is hardly an easy decision to make for there are a number of different factors that may influence you. These factors might be your beliefs or friends and family (because everyone around you will have their own opinion and it is likely that not all of them will be supportive towards your feelings). Though the people around you are clearly important, you have to remember that it is a personal decision and no-one can make that for you.
Let us remember folks, that if we cannot stand up for our own good, no-one will and we will be tortured in silence for the rest of our lives, we will be treated like wild animals in the lands that we have chosen to be in, so let us unite and fight despotism today because tomorrow may never come and maybe one day we may go back home where our hearts are. It’s not over until it’s over.
Brenda Chavundura is a Human Rights Activist and is also a member of the Zimbabwe Vigil Coalition.