Peace for Zimbabwe

From sea to shining sea—America. We cherish the First Amendment to our Constitution. Nonetheless, sometimes we take our basic freedoms for granted.

Consider the country of Zimbabwe; found on the continent of Africa. A land with a population 16.5 million. A land with a history of unrest and human rights violations. A land with citizens that long for peace.

In December 1979 a peace agreement was reached between the British and Zimbabwean representatives, following a declaration of independence. In April of 1980 Rhodesia became Zimbabwe. Bob Marley headlined the independence celebrations with his song “Zimbabwe.”

In America Stevie Wonder sang the lyrics “Peace has come to Zimbabwe.”

They want us to join their fighting
But our answer today
Is to let all our worries
Like the breeze through our fingers slip away
Peace has come to Zimbabwe
Third World’s right on the one
Now’s the time for celebration
Because we’ve only just begun

“Over this past year, political proclamations and policy choices in the wake of Robert Mugabe’s replacement by Emmerson Mnangagwa have served only to widen the gap between the southern African country’s rich and its rank and file,” according to a 2019 article in The Atlantic. 

“Referring to Putin as a senior brother,” President Mnangagwa recently reached out for economic guidance from Russia.

The following information was sent in a 2019 letter to President Mnangagwa from The Zimbabwean (A Voice for the Voiceless) website publication:

“Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam International are writing to urge you to urgently take concrete and effective action to address the deteriorating human rights situation and increasing risk of a humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe…We are seriously concerned about the escalating crackdown by your government on human rights defenders, civil society activists, labour and opposition leaders and members and Zimbabweans protesting the recent fuel price increase…We are also aware that several women and girls were reportedly raped by members of the security forces.”

The following information is stated on the US Embassy in Zimbabwe website:

“The United States shares the same fundamental interest as the Zimbabwean people: a stable, peaceful, democratic Zimbabwe that reflects the people’s will and provides for their needs. Our support for the people of Zimbabwe includes ensuring that those few Zimbabweans using their positions of power to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic progress are not benefiting from their actions.”

“The United States remains seriously concerned about the excessive use of force by Government of Zimbabwe security forces since January 14, which has resulted in at least 13 deaths, 600 victims of violence, torture or rape, and more than 1,000 arrests. We extend our condolences to the families and friends of those killed or injured. The Government of Zimbabwe’s use of violence against civil society and imposition of undue internet restrictions betray promises to create a new Zimbabwe.”

Why should Americans care about the people of Zimbabwe? USA for Africa’s “We Are the World,” was released 34 years ago, on March 7th, 1985.

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

I want to daily live without inhuman treatment, torture, violence, war, poverty and so do you. My blessings are many. But obtaining contentment is not possible in lieu of suffering humanity and violated universal human rights in Africa. People like me—people like you. People. Human beings.

Peace will not be accomplished by elected officials and diplomats; presidents and kings; treaties and truces; armies and weapons of mass destruction; popes and preachers; or even by our most altruistic leaders. Peace will be accomplished by millions of civilians standing up for universal human rights, yet marching on their knees. Hands reaching horizontally around the globe, yet reaching vertically toward the sky. Humble people saying humble prayers. Peace for Zimbabwe.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Ohio.