I have extended my break, Cdes
Dear Cabinet and Politburo members
COMRADES, as someone whom you all know has several jobs to do, I thought there would be no harm if I extended my break by another week.
After last week’s break, the temptation to go absent without official leave became strong, hence my considered decision to extend my break by one more week.
I, however, would be back next week as usual.
… AND CZ’S NOTEBOOK
AS someone who is so fond of reading, Dr CZ came across a journalism operating manual which a number of newsrooms in Zimbabwe would be too pleased to pay any amount of money for. It teaches journos how to impress those that have handpicked them, even for jobs that they might not be too good at.
Here it goes: “If you possess information that conflicts with the prevailing orthodoxy you are expected to distort it or to keep quiet about it. We are all capable of believing things that we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. The suppression and distortion of facts is the highest duty of a journalist. Where possible, resort to dishonest quotation. Since in practice no one is infallible, it is frequently necessary to re-arrange past events in order to show that this or that mistake was not made, or that this or that imaginary triumph actually happened…”
Dr CZ is no longer half as selfish as he used to be before, so it is in the brotherly spirit of sharing that he is including these excerpts so that some of his brothers and sisters at one media house can use it as a yardstick to measure their own work and praise themselves accordingly.
We loved it this week when they picked up a Supreme Court judgment on a labour dispute which the journalists there dangerously misinterpreted in such a way as to trigger a revolution.
There is always need to make sure that the people who are entrusted with disseminating information are people who know what they are supposed to do… not those who think they know it all. Just like a gun, a knife or fire, information can be both life enhancing and dangerous, depending on which side one is on.
In the past, Dr CZ has asked in his capacity as a concerned patriot if some of the gatekeepers have not been infiltrated by the regime change movement and are out to cause needless alarm and despondency among the people.
Revolutions have taken place as a result of this sort of careless handling of information. Do we need to remind anyone how people broke out of the jail that used to be called East Germany?
This is how: The long-time leader of East Germany, Erich Honecker, resigned on October 18, 1989 and was replaced by Egon Krenz a few days later. Honecker had predicted in January of that year that the Berlin wall would stand for a 50 or 100 more years if the conditions that had caused its construction did not change.
Protest demonstrations broke out all over East Germany in September 1989. Initially, protesters were mostly people wanting to leave to the West, chanting, “We want out!” This was the start of what East Germans generally call the “Peaceful Revolution” of late 1989. The protest demonstrations grew considerably by early November.
The movement neared its height on November 4, when half a million people gathered at the Alexanderplatz demonstration, a rally for change in East Berlin’s large public square and transportation hub. To ease the complications, the politburo led by Krenz decided on November 9 to allow refugees to exit directly through crossing points between East Germany and West Germany, including West Berlin.
On the same day, the ministerial administration modified the proposal to include private travel. The new regulations were to take effect on November 17, 1989.
Günter Schabowski, a spokesperson for the politburo, had the task of announcing this; however, he had not been involved in the discussions about the new regulations and had not been fully updated. Shortly before a press conference on November 9, he was handed a note that said that East Berliners would be allowed to cross the border with proper permission but given no further instructions on how to handle the information.
These regulations had only been completed a few hours earlier and were to take effect the following day, so as to allow time to inform the border guards — however, nobody had informed Schabowski. He read the note out loud at the end of the conference. When journalists asked when the regulations would come into effect, Schabowski assumed it would be the same day based on the wording of the note and replied, “As far as I know effective immediately, without delay”. Soon afterwards, televisions stations around the world broadcast incomplete information from Schabowski’s press conference.
A moderator on one West Germany television station announced: “This ninth of November is a historic day. East Germany has announced that, starting immediately, its borders are open to everyone.”
After hearing the broadcast, East Germans began gathering at the wall, demanding that border guards immediately open its gates. The surprised and overwhelmed guards made many hectic telephone calls to their superiors about the problem, but it became clear that no one among the East German authorities would take personal responsibility for issuing orders to use lethal force, so the vastly outnumbered soldiers had no way to hold back the huge crowd of East German citizens.
In the face of the growing crowd, the guards finally yielded, opening the checkpoints and allowing people through with little or no identity checking. Ecstatic East Berliners were soon greeted by West Berliners on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere.
Just like a genie, once it is out of the bottle, you cannot get it back! This is how the notorious Berlin Wall collapsed.
Need Dr CZ say more?
This is really a very sad month. After the death of Freedom Nyamubaya and Chenjerai Hove, this week another great writer went to join the ancestors. Sam Munyavi the brother behind The Sunday Mail’s murderously funny column “Laughing It Off”, who signed off as Baba Bruce, reminded us all in a practical way that we are all passers-by on this planet. This was one of those characters and a half that Dr CZ is always referring to.
His life and character naturally ended up rubbing off on Yours Truly. Whether one takes life seriously, life is never a serious adventure. And besides, the world has enough serious people already, which explains why Dr CZ is the oracle he has chosen to be.
Rest in peace Baba Bruce!
By the way, month-end is just around the corner. This one came from that trusty fan of Dr CZ. From this, one should understand why people are always moody around this time of the month. There it goes:
00:10am “beep beep” (sms) Bank X: US$1 650,58 has been deposited in Acc.000000000 30/09/201
00:17am “beep beep” (sms) Bank X: Micro loan has deducted US$196 from account, balance US$1 454.
00:19am “beep beep” (sms) Bank X: Biggie Funeral Policy has deducted US$290.00 from your account, balance US$1 164.
00:21am “beep beep” (sms) Bank X: Telecoms Co. Y has deducted US$195 from your account, balance US$969.
00:22am “beep beep” (sms) Bank X: Homeowner Finance has deducted US$650 from your account, balance US$319.
00:23am “beep beep” (sms) Bank X: insurance has deducted US$90 from your account, balance US$229.
00:24am “beep beep” (sms) Smart Stores has deducted US$151 from your account, balance US$78.
00:25am “beep beep” (sms) Home Furnishers has deducted US$190 from your account, balance US$112.
00:26am “beep beep” (sms) Zim Mutual Comprhnsv — US$34, Zim Mutual Stnd — US$16, Zim Mutual f/p — US$20,55
01:19am “beep beep” (sms) Zim-Asset Bank — US$266.
06:25am “beep beep” (sms) My friend it’s been three months now that you haven’t paid the Round contributions, you now owe US$300, please pass by my place today because it’s not nice to other Round members.
08:42am “beep beep” (sms) Pass by my place today to leave money for the child’s milk, pampers and clothes for crèche. Don’t forget money for the doctor, I told you the baby is not well.
09:10am “beep beep” (sms) Dad please leave money for transport, Uncle Tom says you owe two months and he won’t pick me up as from tomorrow.
11:24am “beep beep” (sms) Babe “Sale” is ending at Super Sales Joe tomorrow, see me later please “Sweetness”
12:55pm “beep beep” (sms) Bro, mom asked me to tell you that her pension money is finished and there is no food and she is hosting society next week, please brother we are stranded.
15:03pm — 16 missed calls from (Sweetness)
15:30pm — 20 missed calls from (baby mama)
16:05pm — 11 missed calls from Shumba (Round)
16:33pm — 25 missed calls from Tsitsi (daughter)
Meanwhile, one Svein Tenningas has brought it to Dr CZ’s attention that the late award-winning Zimbabwean writer Chenjerai Hove who died in self-imposed exile last week was not holed up in Oslo, but Stavanger, also in Norway. Noted and endorsed.