Monday, January 21, 2008

News from Zimbabwe (3)

Part 1
Part 2
... When the future holds forth so little hope, the present becomes meaningless.

And here is where the tragedy of the country's societal deterioration is so stark. We are being changed as a people, our national personality has been affected and continues to be affected. My own view is that long after the national roads have been repaired, and the electricity supply restored and the hospitals replenished with medicines and personnel, long after these improvements take place within our longed-for future, our national psyche will exist in a state of injury and bruising and it will be a long time before we return as a people to where we were before. I think my greatest criticism of the government and our present leadership ... is twofold: they have grown fat and sleek on the suffering of their people, and they have damaged and injured the very personality and psyche of a whole nation. And from such an injury, recovery is slow.

What of the future? Who can tell, other than the One who rules the affairs of nations and holds kings' hearts in His hand? I think we have even stopped hoping as a nation. One becomes a bit suspicious and hesitant of possible solutions to national ills when every glimmer of hope in the past has proved to be just that, a glimmer and not much more. We are grateful for all those who continue to try and make a difference. There are brave and resilient souls in the political arena trying to maintain a viable opposition; there are compassionate and committed people serving within the deteriorating structures of education and health to try and make some difference; there are sensitive and dedicated individuals working within the social sphere to provide some help to at least some; and there are godly and sacrificial men and women ministering within the church, in order to at least slow down the rate of decay of the nation. There are some, and for these we are grateful. But there are fewer and fewer, and the burdens and pressures become ever greater.

Our country remains one of enormous potential, and it is the tragedy of our present history that it remains at this stage just that and nothing more. I may sound very pessimistic and negative: if I have been unfairly so, I apologise and if you think this is an evidence of lack of faith, I trust you are not correct! We continue to look to God, we continue to seek to serve Him, we are seeking to obey the injunction, "Dwell in the land, trust in the Lord and do good". But I would be lying if I told you that we are all upbeat and optimistic. People continue to leave the country, taking with them skills and resources so desperately needed here. One cannot blame them, but the strain of continuing falls on fewer and fewer shoulders.
These three posts are slightly edited extracts of a letter from a Zimbabwean to his Christian family in the developed world.