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now have to share ideas via condoms
Comment from the Financial Gazette (Zimbabwe)
March 11, 2004
were alive today, Sigmund Freud, who died in 1939, would have a field
day analysing the paranoia apparently gripping our government.
Freud, who was born
in Czechoslovakia, moved to Austria with his parents at the age of four
years. After graduating from the University of Vienna Freud founded the
branch of abnormal psychology known as psychoanalysis.
defined as "a method of studying the mind and treating mental and
emotional disorders based on revealing and investigating the role of the
Freud would be particularly
well placed to diagnose what afflicts the Harare government because he
had close encounters with the aberrations of another paranoid regime in
Europe 70 years ago.
Despite the fact that
by this time, Freud had achieved international status, when the Nazis
came to power in Germany in 1933, they burned all his books, along with
those of other "enemies of the state".
Seeing imagined enemies
where none exist is something our government definitely shares with Adolf
Hitler's Third Reich.
We are all familiar
with the delusions of persecution that have characterised the endless
conspiracy theories our government has come up with in reaction to perfectly
One of the regime's
most outlandish claims is that some western powers planning to remove
it from power have conspired to "mislead" the people of Zimbabwe
into knowing that they are tired of a quarter of a century of ZANU PF
tyranny and corruption and want change.
After reading 20th
century clinical psychiatrist, A. Krae-pelin's definition of paranoid
schizophrenia, one would be excused for thinking he was describing our
rulers. Kraepelin said: "In terms of continuity, the delusions of
the paranoid schizophrenic can range from a jumble of vague and contradictory
suspicions to an exquisitely worked out system of imagined conspiracies."
Such aberrations were
displayed last week when a story that should have induced no more than
a good chuckle provoked the government into making the most extraordinary
allegations against the United States, namely that the American government
was trying to achieve regime change in Zimbabwe through the use of condoms!
The US, as the only
superpower on the globe, can surely think of better modalities if it decides
to deal with Zimbabwe in that sense.
It is laughable that
the government chose to react in this disproportionate and outrageous
manner to a story that gave state television viewers and radio listeners
a rare light moment and a welcome break from the monotony of repetitive
and agitative party dogma and propaganda that masquerades as news most
of the time.
The story was that
the evidently clever, innovative and creative activist group, Zvakwana/Sokwa-nele,
had attached its logo and the slogan "Get up, Stand up" (the
pun is hilarious) to about 700 000 condoms before distributing them.
Instead of frothing
at the mouth as the government' s propagandists did, they should have
enjoyed a good laugh, as many weary Zimbabweans must have done.
Two years ago, I reacted
with rib-cracking laughter when I read a similar story in an international
magazine. That particular story was to the effect that some Moslem women,
at their wits' end over how to make their calls for peace heard during
Sudan's civil war, resorted to denying their husbands their conjugal rights
as a campaign strategy.
I have no idea how
successful these women were in driving their point home and neither do
I know what impact Zvakwana/Sokwa-nele's "talking" condoms have
But I am certain of
one thing. After doing everything in its power to deny Zimbabweans their
civil liberties, the government should not cry foul when imaginative citizens
try to find loopholes in its draconian laws.
Over the last few
years, the state has made sustained and frenzied efforts to curtail and
abridge the freedoms of speech, the press, assembly, association and the
right to petition the government for the redress of grievances.
After the misnamed
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the apartheid-era
style Public Order and Security Act (POSA) have closed all avenues of
communication and peaceful protest, the state should in fact, be ashamed
that the people now have to resort to sharing ideas via condoms. It should
not blame non-existent conspirators for a development that underscores
its abusive and iron-fisted misrule.
Moreover, the powers-that-be
should ask themselves why they alone in the whole wide world should have
so many enemies supposedly plotting against them all the time.
This siege mentality
and the consistently unconventional reasoning patterns characterising
it point to the fact that, to paraphrase Freud in layman's language, someone
with an oversized ego is holding the people of this country to ransom.
As Kraepelin, quoted
above, has said about the delusions of persecution of paranoid characters:
"Furthermore, they often involve a grandiose expansiveness of personal
worth and position. In order to have so many and such relentless enemies,
one must, after all, be someone very important."
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