The danger of thought

Rant!’s CONVERSATIONS WITH ZAPIRO Series

Rant! loves a good cartoon and Zapiro is South Africa’s best – bold, brazen and as sharp as a razor.

zapiro_14_3_2007_quietdiplo1

Responsibility. The weight carried by this word is insurmountable. And I am really feeling it today thanks to a headline in the morning’s Guardian newspaper, which reads Mugabe splashes out on birthday bash as cholera spirals out of control. Here is my stream of consciousness:

Why hasn’t Robert Mugabe been assassinated? Even if he was, he would just be replaced with some other guy who would succumb to corruption and greed. Dictatorship is the way of Africa. Those poor people. That guy was practically squishing a worm out of his skin. That woman had sewage all over her garden. Vomit. It is a pity that the great western empire has successfully raped Africa of her resources, as it might otherwise be more inclined to help. It was the British who colonised most of Africa anyway – they are responsible. Responsible for what? I am afriad to go there. Oh wait, they did impose a trade embargo – probably to appease those annoying human rights activists. Pity Africa has no oil to offer. Curse that Jan van Riebeeck – he should have stayed in Holland. Too late now. It is what it is. Africa is now an African problem. So why does South Africa do nothing? Um…oh yes, corrupt government – in bed with Mugabe – self-interested – no value/respect for human life – quiet diplomacy etc etc. But aren’t we all guilty of acting selfishly? Isn’t everything we do based on an inherent self-interest? Hell. I am in London. Why? Because I feel betrayed and hurt by a country that no longer has anything to offer me. London has plenty to offer me – jobs, safety, travel, bands. Self-interest indeed! Besides, I am not in government. Their burden of responsibility is larger. Or is it? Ignorance is bliss. Luckily I made a painless escape – thank goodness for British passports. South Africa is the country that birthed me, educated me and nurtured my identity, yet I feel no pride. But I call myself African – I am from Africa – should I not bare some of the burden? Anyway, what can I do to solve the problems in South Africa, never mind Zimbabwe? I am just one person. Oh wait. I know what everyone thinks about that. It can take just one person to spark a change and make a difference. Think of the pay-it-forward philosophy. Blah blah bullshit. Rather idealistic don’t you think? Yes I do. The South African government should do something. I have just thought in a circle. I mean it is in their best interest to prevent the Cholera epidemic from spreading into South Africa. If it does, they will have to use money that they could have embezzled for damage control. So if self-interest is a motivation, there’s one. What would be my motivation to help? Africa is a dying continent, so perhaps the quicker the death, the less the pain? I can’t believe I just said that. Let’s kill Africa. It would be like euthanasia. How does one euthanise a continent and start afresh? Wasn’t colonialism a form of euthanasia? Intent? Consent? Mercy? Murder. Ugly. So recolonise Africa? Uh…no. Send in the missionaries? Maybe they can save the odd individual if they aren’t killed by rebels. Maybe I could just send money to help support the Cholera victims? That’s what’s called avoidance. So am I supposed to give up my life to help refugees and cholera victims? That’d suck. Damn, now I feel guilty for being selfish. Perspective. My life is God’s and maybe he wants me to infiltrate deepest darkest Africa? I’ll wait until he lets me know. I think this is still avoidance? But being proactive is so uncomfortable. Responsibility is uncomfortable.