As the world bears witness to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, it has indeed become clear to experts and laymen alike that war is not only fought by militaries and governments, neither does it only claim the lives of soldiers.
War and conflict between countries since time immemorial has always been more detrimental to civilians regardless of their direct or indirect involvement in the conflict.
Soldiers world over go through rigorous training before making the final decision to fight for their respective countries, with the knowledge that death is just a part of the job. Little is spoken of the civilians who get roped into these conflicts willy nilly.
In 1945 when the Americans dropped the Atomic and Plutonium bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively, in Japan, they did not aim for military instalments, rather, they killed more than 130 000 people in just three days.
More than 60 000 people would later die of radiation poisoning, starvation and even suicides.
Countless other examples like Nazi Germany’s invasion of and annexation of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland and eventually the quest to take over Stalingrad in the Soviet Republic saw the death of tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians.
Furthermore, conquests further back in the past often resulted in the demise of innocent civilians whose only crimes were being of a certain nationality, race and sometimes even gender.
From history, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Tshaka Zulu and many more leaders collectively decimated populations, mostly those not wielding any weapons.
In more recent times, the tools of warfare are no longer easy to identify and this has led many a purported patriot down a self-destructive path.
In the 21st century, countries rarely ever engage in military conflict, especially those not in close proximity to each other. Wars are, these days, seldom fought with conventional weapons and soldiers.
The pursuits of wealth, power and security remain the motivations for war even today although international anarchy has undergone a paradigm shift.
The western neoliberal solution to international conflict has been to try and create a world in its own image.
One that would retain a world order in which Africa and the rest of the developing world remains poor and the West rich.
All over Africa, colonialism was swiftly replaced by neo-colonialism wherein former western colonisers attempted to retain their unfair, nay, cruel authority over African people and resources by proxy.
To date, many African countries are still under the yoke of colonial servitude albeit with finesse and clandestine subtlety.
While the west yearns to be seen as altruistic by throwing a few billions to Africa in the name of aid via a cornucopia of multinational corporations and agencies, they underhandedly short-change Africans by denigrating any sustainable developmental projects that will truly make Africans self-sufficient.
Such is evident in most francophone countries in Africa, where their economies are essentially still being run by the French government.
France continues to get rich, while its neo-colonies; Benin, Burkina-Faso, Cape Verde, Madagascar, Mali, and Senegal among others continue to writhe in extreme poverty.
It is not that much better for British, Portuguese and Spanish neo-colonies, and the whip is even harder on countries that dare presume to pursue sovereignty and render their relevance moot.
Zimbabwe’s significance to the ongoing war against neocolonialism in Africa is cyclopean. For an African country to succeed after publicly denouncing western unfair practices, reclaiming ownership of land and other means of production for the benefit of black people would be the death of neocolonialism in Africa.
It is evident, the western neoliberal proposition for the developing world does not have much to do with bettering lives of the people of those nations.
It is designed to perpetuate the master and slave world order that they have become accustomed to.
Zimbabwe’s adamant refusal to subscribe to that order has consequently placed it on the battlefield with some of the most powerful states in the world.
In true modern warfare style, Zimbabwe has been engaged in a heated war comparable to the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Republic.
For decades now Zimbabwe has been neocolonialism’s last headache in Africa and the West will continue to congregate and use several underhanded tricks to destabilise Zimbabwe.
Therefore, as has been the premise of this article, civilians will suffer the brunt of this war. Punitive measures, declared and undeclared sanctions will continue to haunt the economy as Zimbabwe continues to fight this noble war.
The fate of a whole continent and the freedoms of Africans for generations to come astoundingly rests on the outcome of this war.
President Mnangagwa has been conciliatory with the West since his ascension to the helm and many countries have positively responded to this approach, but there are a few left who still do not want to extent their hand of friendship to Zimbabwe.
These few believe that until there is a complete regime change in Zimbabwe, the conflict will not abate.
Until all Zimbabweans are able to see who the real enemy is and unite against it, the country’s woes will endure under the lash of bitter former masters.
Carter Chapwanya is a published author and currently a Political Science doctoral candidate at Shandong University, China