Human misery is sustained by cowardice

As long as the buffalo is able to fight its predator, it carries the hope that it might survive. The ultimate death is preceded by its bellowing. At that stage, the bellowing is intended to alert others for help, possibly from the same herd. Otherwise, the buffalo would have totally surrendered itself to the predator, allowing the predator to feast on it, without further restraint.

Death is, therefore, the next step, preceded by fear, whose ultimate condition is the cessation of life. When embraced in cowardice, a person succumbs to fear and misery, thereby, entertaining the condition of death.

A buffalo that turns around to confront its predator, changes the game plan so that the predator becomes the victim. There would be hope, as long as the buffalo confronts the predator. However, when entertaining fear, and attempting to start running away, the pendulum between life and death swings towards death. The condition of death is precipitated by cowardice, while life is sustained by courage.

The African misery lies in succumbing to a condition of helplessness. In Zimbabwe, the entire country is currently geared for a grand march, to protest against sanctions. This serves to announce to the whole world that we are victims of sanctions imposed upon us, by Western nations.

There is no truth in that propaganda. But it rings true, to the cowards, who assume helplessness, without a saviour from someplace. Sanctions can be providential to any country, carrying the hope of survival. We saw how robust, Ian Smith’s government was, surviving without the majority of supporters, locally. That administration engaged in innovative ideas to maintain good governance.

Wisdom poses the question of whether we have innovative leaders in our government, or not. The entire nation can be led to the abyss, just by one coward, when occupying the position of leadership. Such a condition is facilitated by the general populace that believes survival is about running away, rather than confronting the existent problem.

A herd of thousands of buffalos’ thundering hooves, across the valley, can risk breaking their legs when running away from one lion. Yet it takes one or two brave buffalos to confront the lion and survive, in the process. There is no survival in cowardice, but just despair.

The net effect of our Zimbabwean problem is cowardice, more than anything else. This starts with the Head of state who convinces the cowed populace that we are helpless with sanctions upon us.

There has not been any greater disappointment in my life than to observe those claiming to be liberation heroes advancing the sanctions falsehood.  If those imperialists were so important in our lives, what was the reason for engaging them in a war? Everyone agrees that the scapegoats are those who ought to be hunted and destroyed for advocating sanctions.

Where is our hope, as a nation, when the larger part of the citizenry agrees to the sanctions nonsense? This, goes further, as to justify eliminating one another, out of such peddled propaganda. To be engaged in civilized activities does not require big numbers. This is just as one or two buffalos can confront a predator and survive longer. Survival requires forsaking the crowd mentality and start thinking independently on issues that make a difference for future generations.

Cowardice, among our people, is easily detectable by corruption and other criminal activities. The cowards start by postulating that they would be helplessly languishing in poverty. They confront their condition of poverty by doing the opposite of survival. They weirdly destroy their symbiotic environments. In other words, life to them is about today; so tomorrow doesn’t exist, in their vocabulary. This suggests that one can be dead while still appearing as alive.

The blame game syndrome is synonymous with cowardice. The Holy Bible reveals that humanity’s sustained condition of suffering is synonymous with a lack of faith. But when carefully analyzing the condition of faithlessness, one sees cowardice being the real problem. For purposes of illustration let us use the example of Peter, rescued by Jesus, at the point of drowning.  The disciples had observed Jesus strolling upon sea waters, without sinking.

“During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lack. When the disciples saw him walking on the lack, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ ‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’” (Matthew 14:25-31 NIV).

A lot is learnt from this incident, but let’s focus on cowardice, being what the real problem was. Jesus clearly stated that Peter’s problem had nothing to do with his body weight, but with a lack of faith. As long as Peter had maintained focus on Jesus he managed to walk on seawater, without any problem.

But, his problem arose as he allowed doubt, which led to his loss of faith. Faith should mainly be viewed as sustained by the conviction of certainty in what is believed to be true. Doubt is a mixture of two mental conditions—being certain and not being certain.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith, we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:1-3 NIV).

In His co-existence with humanity, Jesus kept on emphasizing faith. He even stated that with faith as little as a mustard seed, one could move mountains. It is one thing to hear Jesus speak, and quite another to believe that what Jesus said would be true. Faith does not come from another source, except oneself. At one stage, in their frustration about always hearing about faith, the disciples requested Jesus to increase their faith (Luke 17:5-6).

Jesus responded by giving a parable showing that faith was within their prerogative, rather than from other sources. The dependency syndrome is the only symptom of a lack of faith. But independence does not mean stealing from other fellow humans. It means enhancing the lives of other fellow humans, who, in turn, provide you with whatever you might also be lacking. Doing unto others as one would like them to do to him is an axiom of survival.

The inability to confront is what causes problems in our country, rather than the fantasized enemies from elsewhere. The term “confront” does not imply the procurement of arms to eliminate opponents. It means approaching the enemy with good intentions, catering for his own survival as well. Calling each other names, as entertained, by our beloved brother George Charamba, is anti-survival. It gives the impression of scoring points but maintaining the condition of succumbing.

Survival is doing unto others as one would like them to do to one. That axiom was revealed by Jesus and is as workable as it was, approximately, two thousand years ago. Making money and driving beautiful cars over potholed roads does not define affluence. It reveals a condition of poverty that is driven by corruption. There is truth in that we have billionaires in our country.

But how can those billionaires feel comfortable parading their wealth in a country that lacks basic commodities, for poor citizens? One of the greatest philosophers on this planet, Confucius, issued a legendary Quote, still workable in our time: “If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?” Whatever can be found to be true, remains true, regardless of the character, attributed to have said it.

It takes a man of character to confront himself. But it takes a weakling to avoid himself and place blame on others and other conditions. The truth, which is the only condition for freedom, is found in self, rather than expecting it to come from other sources.

We are what we are, based on what we believe ourselves to be, as a nation. But each person is what he/she is, based on what he/she believes him/herself to be. Without confronting the self, it is impossible to change.

Things are pretty excellent for some families, in terms of meeting basic requirements for survival. But the majority of our citizens live without knowing how the following day would pass by. This is extremely unworkable, as epitomized in the inability to confront conditions that craft our survival as a nation.

An elderly person of eighty years still managing to muster comfort and joy, only because his own children have secured wealth, is insane. Happiness cannot be found in prejudicing other people. Happiness is found in enhancing other people’s lives. That is the only way an eighty-year-old man can depart from this planet, assured of the safety of his own children.

Cowards assume safety when their activities are focused on introversion. However, courageous people assume safety, only when their activities are focused on extroversion. It remains to be what one does for other people, more than what other people do for one.

Humanity is psyched in the mind of self-destruction, which is described as introversion. Extroversion is not saleable, yet depicts the only workable philosophy for human survival. Jesus came to correct that mindset, which He first introduced to His disciples, but, also applicable to normal people, willing to adopt it.

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28 NIV).  

The above statement cannot be saleable by wholesale advertisement, because it requires courage to confront evil. Cowards would find it extremely unworkable. The worst thing a nation can do is elect a coward for leadership. That person thinks about himself, more than thinking about those, he assumes to be subhuman.

The idea of assuming that one is elected to be a leader because of being considered wiser than everyone else should be viewed as insane. But it results from a condition of cowardice, sustained by the question: “What’s there for me?” The example of Jesus can be cited as depicting a workable idea, for the deliverance of humanity.

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider quality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11 NIV).

The quotation of the above Scripture should not be viewed as a religious statement applicable to Church-goers only. It is a statement that determines matters of life and death. A coward would declare himself as wisest, because he would be assumed to have secured the wealth, compared to others.

It takes a courageous person to see that such a philosophy would be unworkable. We survive only when others are also surviving. The business of living is found in what one does for the survival of other people, not in the person’s own survival.

Each waking day requires production. But that production ought to be tailor-made to cater for the survival of humanity in one’s environment. Some people can sing the mantra that corruption is cancerous, yet involved in corruption for their livelihoods.

When surviving from the corrupt proceeds, one would be just as corrupt. Corruption is endemic so it becomes impossible for one to point at corrupt people without pointing at oneself. The inability to confront, due to cowardice, is the basis of corruption.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

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