Edwin Mbewe continues his blog series with a very Valentine’s-appropriate article. Let us know what you think.

What or who should we blame for the multitude of calamities that we have now accepted as part of our human experience? In my short lifetime, I haven’t lived a single year without hearing of a war in some part of the world or a parliamentary argument that led to a civil war. History shows records that African politics have been dirty for too long. Corruption has been rife despite democracy. But in recent times, opposition leaders are raging with anger. In fact, opposition leaders like Julius Malema of South Africa, among many, rage uncontrollably in parliaments without regard to parliamentary authorities! But will this way of debating bring more positive change to Africa or simply continue the grief and friction among humans?

But I understand that the world, like a game, impulsively responds to problems, social or scientific. If another virus were to emerge right now, we would quickly enter the labs to respond, without necessarily questioning the probable roots. It seems we passively move with the wind. One or two more people imagine advocating for something, but the world still moves along. If today, I am to stand up for children not to go to school, as long as I articulate it in a professional manner, I would win support, even if we know why children must go to school! And I think this is the part where education has failed its role. We are being taught to be professionally fluent, but realistically useless in our own communities. In Zambia alone, there are so many graduating engineers that jobs have become scarce. On the other hand, problems requiring engineering skills are ubiquitous. I understand, however, that companies now expect more experience from graduates, to fit for the job. Meaning, the engineering college program must be revisited also.

It’s the same problem of religion and church in Africa. People are praying for blessings even where common sense must be applied. Praying for jobs, marriages, economic success, passing exams, and so forth, without preparation and adequate qualification for the role, is not the way. But this subject is for another day.

Who also is responsible for other social problems that we currently face as a human family? These include racism, tribalism, vandalism, many other –isms, which usually connote unfairness or hatred to another member of the human family based on perceived differences. Today, as it is Valentine’s Day, I would like you to listen with your eyes to the lyrics of the song by Aaron Rusukira, a Zimbabwean who continues to inspire me. Here are the lyrics.

Bloodshed all over, hear the noise of guns, syncopated with bomb explosions. Demolitions, devastations and plundering of property;

Ravaging, ruining and desolating nature;

Human manslaughter, merciless annihilation, all in the name of peace-keeping, all in the mad search for weapons of mass destruction. 

Weapons of mass-destruction are not in the crevices and dungeons of Iran and Iraq.

Weapons of mass destruction are in the heart.

Aaron Rusukira

HATRED is a weapon of mass destruction, for a spoon in the hand of an enemy is much more deadly than a nuclear bomb in the hand of a friend. POWER HUNGRY is a weapon of mass-destruction, SELFISHNESS is a weapon of mass-destruction, TRIBAL SUPREMACY is a weapon of mass-destruction, RACISM is a weapon of mass-destruction, ENVY is a weapon of mass-destruction, GRUDGES are weapons of mass destruction, JEALOUSY is a weapon of mass-destruction, NEO-COLONIALISM is a weapon of mass-destruction, IMPERIALISM is a weapon of mass-destruction, DICTATORSHIP is a weapon of mass-destruction.

Weapons of mass-destruction are not made of metals and chemicals, weapons of mass-destructions are not harbored in the armory of a country somewhere.  Weapons of mass-destruction are in the heart. It is selfishness, racism, tribalism, envy and grudges, jealousy, power hungry, which made somebody design a bomb; it is not a bomb which causes somebody to hate.

If you are against war, why are you against those who are against war? If you really want to stop war, why do you still sell firearms? Why sign the peace accord with the right hand while the left is holding a gun? Violence begets violence, love begets love, bloodshed begets brutality, force begets cruelty, ferocity begets fighting, and force begets resentment. You cannot correct a wrong by another wrong, you cannot stop war using war, and you cannot dig a pit to fill another pit. An embrace begets adoration; on this Valentine’s Day, let’s all remember that to sow love is to reap love.

We need devotion not bitterness, affection not animosity, attachment not antagonism, adoration not antipathy, and emancipation not emaciation. We are tired of freedom of doom, politics without principle, science without serenity, wealth without working for it, power without moral purpose, knowledge without wisdom, truth without love, and love without truth. All come from a heart without love.

Divine spirit, come into my heart!

Guard the avenues of the heart rather than the banks;

Guard the avenues of the heart rather than border posts, for the heart is the source of all evil and all good.

Divine spirit, come into my heart.

This is a voice of concern, this is a voice of reason, this is a voice of love, and this is a voice of restoration.

This is a voice from a missionary of social change, not a mercenary of doom, a prophet of hope, not a prophet of profit and doom.

Divine spirit, come into my heart, come into my heart, come into my heart.

Edwin Mbewe

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