‘These people have made your lives unbearable’


Lackson Kazabu says Zambians must say no to those that suppress their views and rights.
“I want to urge all Zambians to take a step backwards and reflect on their democratic rights. It is wrong for a person to stand on a political podium and seek votes from people saying he or she believes doing things right only to be bribed by those that they had denounced before. We have been oppressed for many years, so I would like the people of Zambia not to vote for the PF. These people have made our and your lives unbearable and miserable,” says Kazabu.
“Karl Marx once said that even among the oppressed people, there are some that side with the oppressors.”
In Ecclesiastes 4:1 we are told, “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed – and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors – and they have no comforter.”
“If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still” (Ecclesiastes 5:8).
It is said that authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish.
Karl Marx wrote: “The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”
In The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Carl Sagan wrote, “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back. “
But it shouldn’t be forgotten that sometimes the people one oppresses become too strong for the oppresser.
Edgar and his minions are creating for themselves their worst enemies, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!
Robert F. Kennedy said, “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
In V for Vendetta, Alan Moore wrote, “Since mankind’s dawn, a handful of oppressors have accepted the responsibility over our lives that we should have accepted for ourselves. By doing so, they took our power. By doing nothing, we gave it away. We’ve seen where their way leads, through camps and wars, towards the slaughterhouse.”
And in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire wrote: “Leaders who do not act dialogically, but insist on imposing their decisions, do not organize the people – they manipulate them. They do not liberate, nor are they liberated: they oppress.”
This is so because to take away a person’s freedom of choice, even his or her freedom to make the wrong choice, is to manipulate him or her as though he or she were a puppet and not a person.
People get used to anything. The less you think about your suffering, humiliation, oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think suffering, humiliation, oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.
We believe that there will be ultimately be a clash between the suffering, humiliated, oppressed and those who cause the suffering, humiliation, oppression. We believe that there will be a clash between those who want fairness, justice and humaneness for everyone and those who want to continue the system of injustice.
But we know that within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve a person’s self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of a civilized human being.
Frederick Douglas warned, “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
Karl Marx summed it up very well in The Communist Manifesto, “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guildmaster and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, that each time ended, either in the revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.”
It is said that it is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.
But you can’t hold a person down without staying down with him or her.
When we’re afraid, we lose all sense of analysis and reflection. Our fear paralyses us. Besides, fear has always been the driving force behind all dictators’ repression.
We shouldn’t be deceived by their religious pretensions – public prayers and exhibition of excessive religious commitment.
It is a well known fact in every age it has been the tyrant, the oppressor and the exploiter who has wrapped himself in the cloak of religion, or patriotism, or both to deceive and overawe the people.
There apparent courage, confidence is nothing but a desperate attempt to conceal their fear. Winston Churchill was very right when he said,
“You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police … yet in their hearts there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts: words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home – all the more powerful because forbidden – terrify them. A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.”
And Dr Kenneth Kaunda used to say, “They are frightened little men scared of their own shadows.”
Wally Lamb said, “Power, wrongly used, defeats the oppressor as well as the oppressed.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie asks: “The educated ones leave, the ones with the potential to right the wrongs. They leave the weak behind. The tyrants continue to reign because the weak cannot resist. Do you not see that it is a cycle? Who will break that cycle?”

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