As Zimbabwe Burns…

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By Jean Gasho

As Zimbabwe burns, United Nations is silent. I repeat, as Zimbabwe burns today, United Nations is loudly silent.  As Zimbabwe burns, the world calmly looks away.  Just last week some Zimbabweans were celebrating on social media when #ThisFlag leader (or not leader) Evan Mawarire appeared on CNN in America adorning himself with the Zimbabwean Flag. “At least he has put Zimbabwe back on the world map”, I saw a number of #ThisFlag supporters reassure themselves on Facebook.

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The city of Harare on fire today…

But today, as Zimbabwe burns, where is the world coverage?  I saw a little report on BBC Africa today, it wasn’t breaking news or anything, just a little “by the way” kinda news. The reality for Zimbabwe is that we are on our own. The international noise made by ThisFlag was unnecessary, because on the ground that noise has done absolutely nothing for Zimbabwe, well apart from securing asylum status for a certain somebody.

Today I have watched in utter horror as disturbing videos and images from Zimbabwe have dominated social media. The brutal evil police force in Zimbabwe have fired tear gas and water cannon at MDC opposition supporters who had gathered for a peaceful protest march in Harare. In fact the police started firing tear gas before the protests even began! The police have also brutally beaten up people wearing the red MDC T-Shirts. Women have been beaten and teargassed. What is happening on Zimbabwe soil today under the Mugabe regime is unbelievably barbaric and evil.

On Wednesday, my little sister who is in Zimbabwe called me in a state of shock and panic. She had been tear gassed by the police as she ran for her life in Harare. She was not even a protester. She is not a member of any political party. She had just gone into town for private business, and she ended up being chased by the police. She told me that she saw a protester being beaten to death by the police, prompting the protesters to pick up stones and started throwing them towards the police. She said civilians where running in all sorts of directions, some running into moving cars as they struggled to breath from the teargas. On Wednesday, my little sister found herself thanking God, that she had been lucky to survive the sudden terror that unfolded in the capital city of Zimbabwe.

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Innocent women being teargassed by the brutal Zimbabwe Police in Harare today

Today as Zimbabwe burns, the reality is that there will not be any international support from anyone. And even if they report it on BBC or CNN, no one is going to do anything to help the people of Zimbabwe. We do not have oil in Zimbabwe. So no one will help. Not even our neighbors. The African leaders will continue to treat Mugabe as an icon. Just last week President Mugabe was due to visit Ghana, where the country was to honor him with an award and give him a hero’s welcome. Mugabe appears to be oblivious to the cries of blood of the Zimbabwean people. The truth is, he just doesn’t care. His strategy is to beat, torture, arrest and terrorize. He  has made it clear that he is not going anywhere, he will stay on the throne until nature takes its course, if it does.  He is 92 years old, a little frail, stumbles here and there, falls asleep in most meetings, but apart from that he appears to be in very good health for his age. He does not look like hes going to die anytime soon. And with the police and army  force firmly on his side, this man may be old and frail but he is without a doubt painfully powerful, and strangely influential to the other African leaders.

Its very painful for me to admit, but as I pen this article I have to say I do not see any change coming to Zimbabwe any time soon. There is no pressure on Mugabe from anyone apart from his own people, which he doesn’t seem to even notice. Right now as Zimbabwe burns, Mugabe is probably enjoying a three course foreign cuisine in the comforts of the State House. I have read somewhere that he likes caviar.  That’s if he hasn’t already jetted out of the country. His sons eat and dine with world class celebrities. Oh and still talking of luxuries, as Evan Mawarire continues to do selfie videos from America saying #ThisFlag movement is not dead, or something of that sort, on the Zimbabwean ground activist Sten Zvorwadza has been arrested again today. Tajamuka spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi was also arrested today for apparently inciting public violence. And mother of five and activist Linda Masarira is still in jail.

With this, I will put my pen down, the disturbing images below speaks a thousand words. Zimbabwe is burning, and there is no one to help her…

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No ambulance services in Zimbabwe? An unconscious woman is carried away by men
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On Wednesday, a defenseless female journalist was brutally assaulted by two policemen
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A helpless woman being beaten by the Zimbabwean police
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Today, a defenseless opposition party protester appeared to lay dead on the pavement
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A street sign bearing the president’s name was taken down by protesters
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As the protests turned violent, some took their frustrations on an innocent animal by stoning the puppy to death.
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Has Zimbabwe turned into a war zone overnight?
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Zimbabwe burns…

JADE: Chapter One

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By Jean Gasho 

“I’m sorry”, Jade whispered. “I don’t know why I do these things, it just happens.”
“It just happens…”, he paused and sighed, “ You do these things Jade, and that is  who YOU are!”
“John, you know its you I love, once we get married we can put this behind us, and move on.”
“So you keep saying Jade. I don’t know what difference the wedding is actually going to make.”
“Are you saying you are having second thoughts about marrying me?” Jade asked in disbelief,  with a desperate tone in her voice. “ You know what, don’t answer that. I haven’t got time for this John. My mother is waiting for me right now, I have a gown fitting this afternoon, the bridal shower is…”
“Well go and have your gown fitting Jade, that is obviously more important to you than fixing things with the man you are supposed to marry isn’t it?”
“Oh my, so I’m supposed to cancel this important appointment and sit here in a car park with my over sensitive, over jealous fiance…”
“This is now the second time you have been chatting with your ex. You just can’t seem to resist the guy. I thought you blocked him on Facebook. ”
“John I did. But he had another account…”
“So I’m supposed to be happy with you exchanging these messages with your ex boyfriend on Facebook? Whom you have slept with and I haven’t.  Whilst I am supposed to wait till the wedding?”
“I knew you were going to go there. It’s always about sex, isn’t it with you?  There is nothing you think of more than that. I don’t even know if you love me or it’s my body you want!”
“Well you were not saying that to your boyfriend, were you? You gave it to him on a silver platter, then to me you wanna act all holy. I have tried to be okay with this even though I don’t agree with it, but now going to chat with him just before our wedding…”
“John, you are overreacting. So what if I slept with him. He’s my ex boyfriend! We were not even in love. It was just a fling, well sort of. We have been through this. With you it is love, it is special. The Bishop says we have to wait till after the wedding. We have to honor God and…”
“Oh shut up will you! Honor God? Does your Bishop and your parents know you have been chatting on Facebook till 3am with your ex? Do they? ”
“He is both our Bishop John. You are a church member now. Anyway I have unfriended him. I have blocked him. I have said sorry? You need to get over this John, otherwise you  are going to destroy what we have been building for the last year.”
“I’m sure he has another Facebook account which he will use to chat with you in a weeks time, if not days or hours. Well maybe we should go to the Bishop with this issue. This certainly calls for ‘counselling’ doesn’t it? ” John was searching Jade’s eyes. Her phone started to ring. She breathed a sigh of relief.
“Its mum, I have to pick it. She’s probably there already. I have to go. I love you”
She leaned over to kiss him on the lips. He turned and gave her his cheek, showing her that he was still very angry with her. She pretended not to notice and opened the door. “I will see you on Sunday babe, remember this Sunday is special, Bishop will call us to the front  about the wedding, so you have to dress smart, wear a white shirt coz I’m wearing a white dress,  will call you tonight ok.” With that she answered her phone as she walked off from the car. “Mum I’m on my way. I’m literally minutes away!”

John sighed, trying to breath away all the anger and tension. He watched Jade walk away as she talked to her mother on the phone. She was without a doubt a beautiful woman. She was everything he had wanted in a woman. Smart, funny and beautiful. Dressed casually in a pair of jeans and a matching blue blouse and sandals, she looked effortlessly sexy with her long braids neatly tied into a bun. He could not deny he loved this woman desperately. Part of him could not wait till she was officially his wedded wife. But part of him resented her because he felt she still loved her ex boyfriend, whom she had given her body to. He hated her ex boyfriend  and could not help but feel uncontrollable jealous in his heart as he starred at his future wife.  Jade could probably sense John’s stare, she looked back at him and waved, he could not wave back. He just forced a smile at her until she disappeared into the streets still talking on her phone, laughing as though she did not have a care in the world.

Continue reading JADE: Chapter One

Linda Masarira, The Unsung Hero Of Zimbabwe

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As Zimbabwe’s social media was ablaze yesterday with emotions running high regarding the sudden end of #This Flag movement (as it no longer has a leader), I spent a rather quiet day bringing this beautiful woman to life with my pencil…

My pencil interpretation of the brave Linda Masarira
My pencil interpretation of the brave Linda Masarira

Allow me my readers to introduce to you the epitome of what it is to be a brave citizen and true activist of Zimbabwe. Her name is Linda Masarira. A woman of immense courage and purpose. I was inspired to do a tribute to her because even though her bravery is unknown and unacknowledged, to me she represents what it means to fight for Zimbabwe today.  And no she does not have thousands of followers on Facebook neither does she record all her activities on a smart phone for all to see and praise her. She is just a simple woman, a mother of 5 beautiful children who has a conviction in her heart and a hunger for a better Zimbabwe.

She may not have 200 lawyers representing her at the courts.  She may not have the funds to travel abroad when the going gets tough. She may not be in every Zimbabwean paper being hailed as a hero.  Neither does she have the whole nation on their knees praying for her to be released.

She has always been on the ground, not on social media
She has always been on the ground, not on social media

She may not have BBC News outside the court just to grant her an international interview. Neither does she have the opportunity to cry her heart out about her horrendous experiences on Sky News. No one knows what her 5 children are eating today in a poverty stricken Zimbabwe, with her youngest baby only 2 years old.  When asked why she is doing this, she says it is for her children to live in a better Zimbabwe.

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A true activist for a better Zimbabwe

A few who have visited her in jail describe her as always composed and positive, despite  the cruel conditions she is being subjected to. When she appears in court she always smiles to the few people who come to support her. There may not be an international uproar over her unjust arrest. There are no hash tags on the internet about freeing Linda. And even though she is a woman and a mother , there are no protests demanding her release from jail.  She may not have the recognition as a heroine of Zimbabwe, but without a doubt Linda Masarira is one of the bravest activists Zimbabwe has today. She has stayed true to what it means to fight for Zimbabwe without a hash tag, on the ground and not on social media.

As an artist I could not help but pay my tribute to this unsung hero. For me It will be an honor to meet her one day. My prayer for her is that she will be rewarded for every night she has slept in prison. One day when Zimbabwe get to that place of glory, may Linda Masarira be honored as a woman who suffered and risked everything for a better Zimbabwe.