STUPID WHITE MEN . . . AND OTHER SORRY EXCUSES FOR THE STATE OF THE NATION! Is a book by American writer Michael Moore that interrogates the excesses of America’s powerful elite. Published in 2001, the book that was almost shelved by publishers who feared a reader backlash on account of the September 11
bombings on the World Trade Centre and The Pentagon, spent 50 consecutive weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, eight of which were at Number 1.
Generally known by its short title, Stupid White Men, the book criticises US government policies in general, and the policies of the Clinton and Bush administrations in particular.
The satirical and thought-provoking, ‘A Prayer to Afflict the Comfortable’, was originally published in this book.
In the prayer, Moore asks God to create circumstances in which powerful figures in the American establishment are given problems or situations that affect “ordinary” Americans.
Among his pleas, Moore requests that: every member of the House of Representatives contracts cancer; all senators become drug addicts and be permanently incarcerated; that their children become gay; all white political leaders “who believe black people have it good these days to become black-skinned overnight; and for bishops in the Roman Catholic Church to develop unplanned pregnancies!
Moore’s central argument is that if all political figures experienced the same level of injustice and misfortune as average citizens, they would be more sympathetic and better leaders.
His facetious conclusion is that the effect of God answering the prayer, in terms of the benefits that would accrue to the majority would outweigh the damage to the smaller number of afflicted members of "the Comfortable”.
I recalled this prayer as I read the scandalous utterances by the self-exiled MDC-T treasurer, Roy Bennett who — in an interview with pirate radio station Studio 7 — likened President Mugabe to a diseased dog.
Earlier on, the Great White Hope had likened our service chiefs to rats saying he had drafted a ‘‘rat list’’ of service chiefs to fire WHEN (not if) MDC-T wins elections.
Said Bennett: ‘‘ . . . We did not begin the struggle (for regime change) to stroke the hand that kills. No more GNU — a miserable and malnourished mongrel fathered by an illegitimate and diseased village dog. Zanu-PF, get out of our way. Let’s finish it now.’’
Proded by interviewer, Violet Gonda, on who the ‘‘diseased village dog’’ was, Bennett said: ‘‘Obviously Mugabe is the dog.’’
I would want Roy Bennett, the ex-Rhodesian security services man, to not only wake up black but to wake up as a guerrilla in 1966. I would want him to be incarcerated in Ian Smith’s prison for 11 years separated from his newly married wife, be tortured and denied the right to go and bury his only son. I would want him to cross into Mozambique to lead the war effort, survive numerous assassination attempts at the hands of white Rhodies, witness their atrocities; and see if at independence in 1980, he would have the humanity to not only forgive his tormentors but extend the hand of reconciliation.
I would want Bennett to then stand up and utter the following words; which were the central theme in Prime Minister-elect Robert Mugabe’s address to the nation on March 4 1980 as he proclaimed the policy of reconciliation:
‘‘I urge you, whether you are black or white, to join me in a new pledge to forget our grim past, forgive others and together, as Zimbabweans, trample upon racialism, tribalism and regionalism, and work hard to reconstruct and rehabilitate our society as we reinvigorate our economic machinery.’’
I would want the black Bennett, who would have survived Smith’s bombs and biological warfare, who would have witnessed the atrocities at Nyadzonia, Chimoio, Tembwe, Freedom Camp, Chibondo to calmly look as ex-Rhodies come back masquerading as fighters for, and defenders of human rights and democracy.
I would want him to listen to ex-Rhodies in the MDC rank and file call him rats, I would want him to see a Tsvangirai who fled a liberation training camp demanding a salute from all who stayed behind. I would want Bennett to sit at the same table with Eric Matinenga, the white Roy Bennett, and Giles Mutsekwa and not think about the wailing bones of Chibondo. I would want him to hear the white Bennett call him a rat, and see if he does not go berserk the way he did when Justice and Legal
Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa reminded him that he was born of bandit loins.
I doubt that, given his recent irresponsible mouthing, Bennett would be able to do what President Mugabe or the service chiefs have done, namely see their erstwhile enemy as a friend and pretend yesterday never happened.
Thirty-two years after that historic policy of reconciliation, it’s evident that Bennett is unrepentant. He still has to shake the hand of reconciliation he was proffered.
Its clear he has maintained the ‘laager’ mentality and holier than thou attitude, steeped in the old colonial belief of white supremacy that saw black people as lesser beings. This explains why to him, President Mugabe is a diseased dog! He is black. He is not human.
This is why to him, General Chiwenga and those he commands are rats that have to be exterminated. They are black! They are not human.
And then you have the only Zimbabwean Welshman, the son of Ncube, calling his partners in government pigs. Addressing journalists during his party’s community
outreach programme in Mahusekwa communal lands, the MDC president had this to say of Zanu-PF: “If you wash a pig, it will always return to the mud and they are
a party which is naturally violent. They have piggish behaviour and it is in their DNA.”
This is the same Ncube, whose party always plays great victim, always alleges hate speech at the hands of Zanu-PF, a lawyer and party president to boot, who sees fellow Zimbabweans as pigs!
He obviously learnt from the best, the Great White Hope from Chimanimani. This makes the Welshman a black mask to a white skin, to bastardise, Fanon. I hope he knows it is the ‘‘pigs’’ in Zanu-PF who made it possible for him to sit in Parliament. It is those pigs who fought for, and brought the democracy that allows him to malign and insult them without comebacks. It is that same ‘‘diseased dog’’ that allowed Bennett to sit on the green benches of Parliament and not the cold, hard floor of Chikurubi.
To contextualise it for Bennett, a Nazi would never take a seat in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, nor would an Al Qaeda member ever be elected to the US Congress. The fact that Rhodies sit in our legislature and continued sitting even as we unearthed evidence of their atrocities at Chibondo testifies to the humanity of our leadership. Bennett, who is every bit Moore’s Stupid white man and Welshman, who is turning out to be every bit Malcolm X’s house Negro, must rein in their tongues.
They are mere dwarfs in giant robes compared to the men they needlessly insult. Maybe that is the democracy the MDCs purport to be fighting for, the freedom to bite the hand that frees; the hand that feeds!