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Home Food for Thought Reflections Society and its Traps.

Society and its Traps.

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Each one is born into this world, without prior approval.   Once you are here, you move along the current, of the family, the Society and the politics of the nation in which you have been born.

On the same day, and the same time, many are born.   Astrologers who claim to predict the future based on the stars may be at a loss to explain why the future of each one turns out differently.   More than the stars, it is the environment, the situation of the Society at a given time, and the manipulations of others, that determine what happens to us.

Searching for people born on the same day as Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, I found that there are 178 others who were born on the same day since 1400.    See this link http://www.historyorb.com/today/search.php?day=21&month=February&year=All+Years&b=1&start=0

In 1924, February, the following were born:

19/02/1924 - Bruce Norris, NHL owner (Detroit Red Wings)
19/02/1924 - Lee Marvin, NYC, actor (Paint Your Wagon, Cat Ballou)
20/02/1924 - Sidney Poitier, actor (Porgy and Bess, A Raisin in the Sun) or 1927
20/02/1924 - Gloria Vanderbilt, don't my jeans look great (poor little rich girl)
21/02/1924 - Robert G Mugabe, premier/president of Zimbabwe
23/02/1924 - Lejaren Hiller, composer

From the lives of the above gentlemen, one will notice that Robert Mugabe had the most difficult period in history.    While all grew in liberty, Mugabe had to contend the domination of the Africans by the Whites.

This struggle of historic implications came at a time when the whole world was in turmoil, the British Empire faced its death throes, and the machinations of a dying empire led to deals which left scars of individual

Mugabe was born in Matibiri village near Kutama Mission in the Zvimba District northwest of Salisbury and Southern Rhodesia. His father, Gabriel Mugabe Matibiri, a carpenter, abandoned the Mugabe family in 1934 in search of work in Bulawayo.   Mugabe was raised as a Roman Catholic, studying in Marist Brothers and Jesuit schools, including the exclusive Kutama College. He was bookish and very close to his mother in his youth.   He qualified as a teacher, but left to study at Fort Hare in South Africa graduating in 1951 while meeting contemporaries such as Julius Nyerere, Herbert Chitepo, Robert Sobukwe and Kenneth Kaunda. He then studied at Driefontein in 1952, Salisbury (1953), Gwelo (1954), and Tanzania (1955–1957). Mugabe later asserted that in addition to his seven academic degrees, he possessed a "degree in violence."

If you look closely, history throws  so many examples of catalysts, who change the direction of history.

Cecil John Rhodes,  (July 5, 1853 – March 26, 1902) was a British-born South African businessman, mining magnate, and politician. He was the founder of the diamond company De Beers, which today markets 60% of the world's rough diamonds and at one time marketed 90%. He was an ardent believer in colonialism and was the colonizer of the state of Rhodesia, which was named after him. Rhodesia (later Northern and Southern Rhodesia) eventually became Zambia and Zimbabwe respectively.]

Now imagine the effect this incursion of the white man in the pristine African environment, on one side backed by wealth and power, and on the other side, primitive life style of the African natives.    How could they confront their fate?    On one hand there were good things that came out of this confrontation, education, the gift of the English Language, the exposure to the modern day political intrigues, and on the other side, extreme opulence for the white man, and laid back life style, unaware of the day they will have to leave all behind and migrate again to other lands.    The British Empire aware of its mighty status ventured into the First and Second World Wars, and this drained all their wealth, and brought their government to the final step of the dissolution of the Empire under Clement Atlee.    With the ending of the British empire, came the consequences in their other colonies and one by one they had to succumb to the unrest and grant independence.    But in Southern Rhodesia, there was a long tug of war between the African Nationalists and Ian Smith, the British Rhodesian, who declared Unilateral Independence, and sort circuited British Plans.

Building of an Estate and its Destruction.

Let us take the example of Cecil Rhodes, who died at the age of 49, and in that short span managed to possess a country named after him.   Could he have done it without the backing of the British Government?  Was it out of bad intentions he built his Diamond business?    All the intentions were good.   As a result of his activity, there was prosperity in Rhodesia, but Carpenter Gabriel Mugabe had to leave his family behind and go in search of employment.   The white folks did not have that situation.   They had the feeling of being the benevolent masters, bringing civilization to the 'backward' African natives.   Did the latter feel the same?  The simmering discontent was smoldering beneath the surface of servility.

British Method of Management of their Colony

Rhodesia retained the Cape Colony system which gave voting rights to blacks and whites who owned property with a minimum value of £150 or had an annual income of at least £100. Both means tests were accompanied by a simple language test in English. These voting qualifications that ensured de-jure equality (in theory at least) amongst the races were maintained until 1951, when the financial qualifications were raised.   The Southern Rhodesia general election of April 29, 1924 was the first election to the Legislative Assembly of Southern Rhodesia following the grant of responsible government to the colony. It saw a comprehensive victory for the Rhodesia Party, which had been formed by the supporters of responsible government.

Thus during the general election Robert was a baby just two months old.   The first world war had ended and the second one was brewing.    While the Parents were busy with their war plans the children were making hay in Africa with their diamond and copper mines.        The Missionaries educated the poor and the English language became a double edged sword in the hands of the Africans.    From the transition of Robert you will notice how he was pulled into the vortex of African Nationalism of his youth years.    He was exceptionally gifted and was able to capture power, while Ian Smith did not get the backing of the British Government who was saddled with its own  post war time troubles.

James Gordon Brown the present PM of Britain's was born on 20th February 1951, exactly after 27 years after Robert Mugabe.    Their experiences and backgrounds are different and the compulsions of political choices make them behave in a particular way.   Britain and its citizens had invested heavily in Rhodesia, and they fought hard to preserve their wealth, but the current of history was too fast for them and they lost heavily.   Now the pain is fresh in their minds and the UK politics are aware of this grief and a game of brinkmanship goes on, demonizing Mugabe, whom the other African Leaders do not seem to mind, for their own experience with Colonialism in Africa.

Here one has to bear in mind, that whatever one thinks of the present, the future is not always in one's hand and often it slips and disappears with the change of circumstances.    British Empire was powerful enough to defeat Adolph Hitler, but his defeat also brought down the mighty empire.

In spire of this glaring example of history why is it then, that the Mighty Ones of today , forget it and venture into adventures which they can not control.   Is this condition only faced by the Mighty Countries or is it also the experience of ordinary mortal human beings?

Take for example, so many people have flocked to the Gulf Countries to earn a good life.   they have come from hard working backgrounds and can face many deprivations.   But when it comes to their children, they want to give them the best, and the Children grow up unaware of the hardship their parents went through, and expect their good life to last.    Often they back bad choices with their affluence that they tend to inherit without the sweat of their brow, and end up paupers with the change of circumstances.

The aim of this present article is to draw one's attention to the fleeting character of prosperity and never to take it for granted.    The Creator gives wealth and prosperity to us a s Care Takers.   If we understand it, we will do a good job.   If we forget, then  we will be in the company of the Great ones of history.    We should not bank of our stars, but on our common sense, and that we are placed on this planet for a short time and for a special purpose.   All our opportunities come up, not to benefit us alone, but through us others too can live and exist.

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