Post Traumatic Stress of War- The Zimbabwean Case|Tadiwanashe Kamwara

 

pathologizing-war

PTSD, or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood.

Or in simpler terms it is a psychological response to the experience of an event (or events) of an intensely traumatic nature.

This article seeks to shed light on only a few of the many cases as seen through the eyes of our Zimbabwean society and try to offer solutions where possible. However, one must never be tempted to think that any country is free of PTSD cases.

The cases of Post traumatic stress can be traced as early as 1980 or even before. After the very much celebrated Chimurenga war most of the Veterans only received physical rehabilitation and the war trauma went unchecked.

Dr Parirenyatwa, the current health minister noted, “The post traumatic disorders, a lot of our soldiers were not counseled post-war and we just assume it’s over but in reality we still have a lot of problems…”   And he went on to say, “We haven’t as a ministry managed to put much emphasis on the condition.” If such recklessness and carelessness is exhibited by the authorities responsible then who should be held accountable? Are we as a nation being ungrateful and ignorant to those whom we owe our freedom?

Untreated ptsd leads to serious cases of mental illnesses and it was noted that of the 1.3million cases of mental illnesses reported, a quarter of the number is made up of ex-soldiers and war aids according to government data.  Such figures are nothing but disheartening.

Mental illness is one thing that was grossly ignored after the liberation war. Any war ends with lots of trauma patients and there is need to address that. It was and still is the responsibility of the whole nation to ensure that the matter is addressed.

It can be noted with great concern that in our society there is no proper classification of mental illnesses. There are more than a hundred forms of mental illnesses including ;Depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, hallucinations, acute stress, amnesia, substance dependence, dyslexia, insomnia, kleptomania, moods etc. are also forms of mental illnesses but in our Shona culture all these are summed up by one word, ‘KUPENGA.’ and all are probably treated with only one drug called DIAZEPAM.

What should be done? Whose job is it anyway?

Not everyone deserves to be institutionalized, some just require counseling. Some still believe in the ‘kuroyiwa’ aspect such that they fail to consult professionals and get treatment early.

Group therapy is very important and useful in dealing with post traumatic stress. There are some called Hybrid groups where patients with different cases can share experiences in the hope of brewing critical thoughts in one patient’s mind that trauma is not faced by only a few with misfortune but just anyone.

In simpler terms it helps one realize they are not alone.

 

Mental health needs system wide approach, and not the current approach that is skewed towards, psychiatry, because psychiatry can only confine people to medication mostly. We need strategies among which are psychotherapies that will help the people to be reintegrated back into their families, communities, workplaces and society.I understand medicine and psychiatry owe their success to psychology, yet psychology is down played. Be it nursing, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, name any medical discipline, it thrives on how people think and behave, which is the purview of psychology.

The whole nation has only two dedicated mental hospitals, Ingutsheni in Bulawayo and Ngomahuru in Masvingo and the truth is they are by far insignificant. No strategy can be implemented without adequate funding. We need a tangible budget to set up more institutions that can play a bigger role than the existing centers. A holistic approach is definitely called for.

Help where you can!

Credits-Charles M.G.Kapelewela

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Love on Christmas Eve.

Sitting on the reed couch on his verandah, outside his farmhouse, he stared at her for minutes as she stood on the edge of a cliff looking down on the world beneath. He marveled at her sight. As the Nyanga wind blew her floral dress sideways, it left her features traced in a manner that was satisfying. As she looked at the thick jungle below, she felt like letting go. It was the first time in her life that she had felt this much freedom. The rays of the sun tickled their way down from her shoulders to her soft bottom and as the breeze caressed her, she felt emotions tiptoeing around her rigid bosom.

She was awakened from her reverie by a warm touch on her shoulder. His hand was moving rhythmically on her petal soft skin. She turned instinctively towards him and their eyes met. They both stared in each other’s eyes without saying a word. There was something endlessly arousing in her silent acquiescence and her blushing cheeks. He was afraid she would leave, but her eyes revealed no regret. She had chosen him, He was her choice.

As his arms closed in on hers, she imagined this was exactly how it would have looked like in her dream, where the Manicaland sunset would glow upon her back and a man, gentle, would hold her in his arms like a cask with golden Bourbon on a cliff with nothing but a hollow jungle below. With her beauty, the crinkle in her eyes, the upturn of the corners of the mouth, she could be anywhere. But the most important thing was that she was anywhere but there, in his arms on Christmas eve.

Continue reading “Love on Christmas Eve.”

Relate (On Christmas Eve)

via Daily Prompt: Relate

Sitting on the reed couch on his verandah, outside his farmhouse, he stared at her for minutes as she stood on the edge of a cliff looking down on the world beneath. He marveled at her sight. As the Nyanga wind blew her floral dress sideways, it left her features traced in a manner that was satisfying. As she looked at the thick jungle below, she felt like letting go. It was the first time in her life that she had felt this much freedom. The rays of the sun tickled their way down from her shoulders to her soft bottom and as the breeze caressed her, she felt emotions tiptoeing around her rigid bosom.

She was awakened from her reverie by a warm touch on her shoulder. His hand was moving rhythmically on her petal soft skin. She turned instinctively towards him and their eyes met. They both stared in each other’s eyes without saying a word. There was something endlessly arousing in her silent acquiescence and her blushing cheeks. He was afraid she would leave, but her eyes revealed no regret. She had chosen him, He was her choice.

As his arms closed in on hers, she imagined this was exactly how it would have looked like in her dream, where the Manicaland sunset would glow upon her back and a man, gentle, would hold her in his arms like a cask with golden Bourbon on a cliff with nothing but a hollow jungle below. With her beauty, the crinkle in her eyes, the upturn of the corners of the mouth, she could be anywhere. But the most important thing was that she was anywhere but there, in his arms on Christmas eve.

TadiwaBazil.

More Life

The past year has been an exceptionally great one for me. For the first time in 13 years I have had the opportunity to take my mind off school work and i am glad that i had the opportunity to explore my many hidden talents.

I have always been passionate about writing, for as long as i can remember but the time to write meaningful things has always been limited. This year gave me that, this blog bears testimony. Writing is an art that is fast becoming underrated and unpopular yet to me it remains a way of echoing my deepest thoughts and inner emotions. If one reads the pieces I wrote on Zimbabwe during the time of Mugabe, it would not be difficult to see why i can easily dress words with emotions to address some of the social ills in society.

As a new year approaches, so does many new responsibilities  but i shall always find time to write and improve my skills.

This day, the 8th of December, I celebrate my birthday and I thank you all for sparing your time every now and then to read Tadiwa’s Weekly Read. 

 

Age.

There comes a time in every man’s life when one feels the need to slow down, or even stop, just to reflect. Reflecting on life, events, needs, accomplishments. Some feel the need to reflect when they face a midlife crisis, some after retirement, some on their deathbed. Wondering what the hell they did their entire life, how they changed the world. This usually comes to the mind because of PURPOSE. This is one thing that terrifies many human beings, ‘what is my purpose on this earth, if there is any?’ Some actually connect it to the Self Actualisation theory which describes the growth of an individual toward fulfillment of the highest needs and to be able to live to your greatest potential. I have had the opportunity to experience this when I was very young, and that was when I realized I am a man in all but Age!

This article was in response to the daily word prompts on Age
Continue reading “Age.”

Change in Zimbabwe? |Tadiwa B. Kamwara

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Zimbabwe just like any other republic is still undergoing tremendous change, in leadership and in the sphere of politics. One stubborn thing about change is that you cannot stop it. All you can do is delay it, but it is inevitable. In politics, leaders who resisted change usually had the most horrible and embarrassing experiences. Talk of Robert Mugabe, Muammar Gaddaffi, Saddam Hussein et al. Of course, Mugabe has not died and neither has he been killed but the embarrassing demonstrations against him by thousands of Zimbabweans all over the world which led to his resignation are no better than kicking the bucket.

Now, a new leader, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was sworn into office on the 24th of November in a stadium full of hopeful Zimbabweans. It is true that he may not have been the preferred alternative to Mugabe to some, but all that was consistent in almost everyone’s wishes was the need for a new leader and here he is. Interestingly this is a man who has been by Mugabe’s side for a time exceeding four decades and one would wonder if the protégé is any different from his mentor.

However, the new leader known by many as ‘the crocodile’ is a man who is known for his calmness but recent events have also revealed that he is a schemer. Calmness is not the quality for which this man can be judged, for politicians, according to Machiavelli are great at the art of deception and that they may appear kind, merciful, faithful, humane and religious outwards yet they may be the exact opposite. I am not saying that such is Mnangagwa but that a man is better judged by his deeds than by what he appears to be.

The man remains a Zanu PF patron, a party that has been known for its notorious acts of violence and its domineering attitude towards non members. It is a party that has a history of rigging elections and manipulating justice. The task that lies ahead is enormous for the newly appointed leader, for he has to prove to everyone that not only is he different from his predecessor but also that he is capable of ensuring a democratic state where every citizen’s rights are protected because the rule of law is the pillar of democracy.

There’s a kind of change that is needed in Zimbabwe. A revolutionary change that starts with those in power. A chameleon can change its color to adapt to the environment and circumstance, and that is change but does it stop the chameleon from being a chameleon? Zimbabwe does not need that chameleonic change but a kind of change that ensures that all criminals, regardless of political position and links should face the full wrath of the law. Selective persecution of criminals must fall and the new president has the mandate of proving that he is not a chameleon by maintaining consistency in the delivery of justice till the day he leaves office. There are no sacred cows in a democracy.

The task ahead is bigger than our political sentiments and it requires our full support, discipline and watchfulness.

Change is something that should be embraced but it is wiser to always be alert because there are always those who are ready to deceive and manipulate while the euphoria of ‘change’ obscures the masses’ judgment!

BazilTadiwa

Machiavelli, The Prince- A Brief Analysis |Tadiwa B. Kamwara

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The Prince is one of the greatest pieces ever written on politics. The book was written in the sixteenth century but it still remains one of the most vehemently debated pieces of writing ever produced. it contains several controversial messages that advise and expose those who govern. It a literary masterpiece of sorts.

In his message to the prince, Machiavelli emphasizes on a number of ideas which I will break down as follows;

How to rule.

Machiavelli in his message to the prince gives a number of tactics that a ruler can use in order to secure his power. One of the controversial issues that he raises is that; the end justifies the means, “and in the actions of all men, and especially of princes, which it is not prudent to challenge, one judges by the result.” His book is an attempt to justify this idea as he tries to prove that men are naturally evil and untrustworthy. In Chapter 17 he states, “…this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly and covetous”. In light of these things the writer does not advise his prince on kindness but rather he focuses more on evil features for they are the ones that would help him retain his power in a world full of greedy people. In his message Machiavelli calls on the ruler to be very realistic and not be naive.

Morality (Religion) and Politics

The philosopher asserts that no good is possible without evil. In his own opinion, Machiavelli suggests that Christianity should not constrain any political activity and that matters of governance should be solely secular. Machiavelli argues that there is no room for morality in politics and if one wishes to be a great leader he should do away with the dictates of morality otherwise it will be his undoing.  In other words a leader should not be used by religion but rather use it to his own advantage. He makes his argument basing on the fact that not everyone has morals and most people are actually willing to be cruel and ruthless, therefore acting according to morals in politics would be exposing oneself to enemies, making him vulnerable. Although he sometimes points out the fact that there is no room for religion and morality in politics, Machiavelli also touches on the need for a leader to propagandize proper religious views but also to use cruelty to a certain degree if it helps him to achieve the desired results.

Courage and cruelty contribute to the effective exercise of power which is the touchstone of political success. Good qualities of morality are always injurious to a leader. Ruling a principality and being good are two different things.

Concerning Cruelty

Oddly Machiavelli defies popular beliefs in his message concerning cruelty and being loved as a leader. Most writers during and before his time painted a portrait of a leader who is loved by all his subjects. This is where Machiavelli comes in and blasts this belief as too unrealistic and imaginary. He states that it is safer for a leader to be feared than loved by his subjects. It should be noted that Machiavelli’s primary intention in writing this message was to enlighten the prince on HOW TO KEEP HIS POWER; therefore a leader should aim to keep his power by all means necessary even if it means that he employing cruelty.

Some critics argue that The Prince can be summarized with the statement, “You have got to be cruel to be kind“. 

However this would not be a fair assessment of Machiavelli’s message as he also emphasizes on the importance of keeping one’s subjects happy. He emphasizes on the fact that a prince should always strive to keep his people happy because unless he does so, he would have no security in times of adversity. This is a very important aspect in leadership since it is all about serving people. Whilst he advises on the need to keep the people happy, he also makes a strong point on that a prince should avoid acts of magnificence in the name of trying to please the people.  This message is important in that whereas a prince wants to maintain a reputation of being liberal, he should avoid acts that would lead him to bankruptcy such that he would end up overtaxing his subjects thereby; turning all the people he wished to please against him.

Deception

The writer, however, does not do away with morality completely. He further argues that if a ruler wants to be successful then he has to use the art of deception. According to Machiavelli, a leader ought not to be moral or religious but it is important that he at least pretends to be so. he states that it is necessary for the subjects to think that their leader is, “merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright” but actually having all these qualities is hurtful and pernicious to the leader. It is, therefore, important not to judge a leader by what he/she appears to be because the outward appearance can easily be faked. The mastermind gives the Italian saying, “Alexander never did what he said, Cesare never said what he did.” The art of deception is key to securing power! Machiavelli’s conclusion on deception is that a leader always has to pretend to be a man, but a beast if needed.

Fortuna

Fortuna can be described as a whim of fate but in Machiavellian context it can be considered as the power of luck. The philosopher argues that Fortuna plays a part in almost half of the human life and that the rest is left entirely to us. However, Machiavelli portrays Fortuna as a woman who needs to be controlled. “…fortune is a woman, and if you wish to keep her under it is necessary to beat and ill-use her.” this metaphor would not do well in modern times but however the message that the writer intended to bring out is that politically, fortune favors those who proactively advance themselves through action whilst showing bravery.

The American academic Harvey Mansfield writes, “Anyone who picks up Machiavelli’s The Prince, holds in his hands the most famous book on politics ever written.

The message in The Prince cannot be exhausted in one article and there can be no substitute for reading the book. The Prince is a very importance piece of literature because as much as it advises the rulers, it also exposes them. Their secrets and tactics are left bare. Alberico Gentili, a sixteenth-century professor of civil law at the University of Oxford said, “His intention was not to instruct the tyrant, but rather to make all his secrets clear.” Gentili argued that Machiavelli exposed the hypocrisy of the powerful.

Those interested in reading the book can email baziltadiwa05@gmail.com for a pdf version of the book by Planetpdf.com

BazilTadiwa

Niccol Machiavelli, The Prince (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 87.

Alberico Gentili, quoted in Harvey C. Mansfield, introduction to The Prince by Niccol˜ Machiavelli (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), xix

You cannot run

The night was smiling and the cold air was warm. Raindrops on the rooftop made sounds that aroused like a Dolly Parton song. Lightning and thunderstorms made friendly gestures outside the bedroom window as she offered herself to you.

The sheets were cold and you made them warm. Her back grovelling against the cotton sheets made the cold feel heat. She gave it all in a heartbeat. You, all too hesitant, driven by the imprudence of youth gave in.

The sound of raindrops consumed by the ecstatic groans from the pleasure of sin. Small teardrops from her bushy eyes mixed with sweat. Her long nails sunk deep in your back. Yours, mercilessly on her buttocks. You went to heaven, and back. She came with you.

The blood flew, the sheets were stained. It rained. Your energy excited her, her loud gasps motivated you. You made love. The kind you saw in Fifty Shades, yours was deeper. The night was short, you stretched her walls.

Now you are afraid of what they told you. That she would be yours. Forever, to have an to hold. Afraid to be afraid. So run. Flee the streets and Run boy, but you cannot run.
You cannot Run!

BazilTadiwa

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