‘tis true. There are those in world spots who would be willing to die in
order to overthrow dictators. That is, for instance, one of the gambles in
the Iraqi conflict.
There is the mix in Iraq at the moment concerning Iraqi reaction to coalition
forces. Do they want to be free from Hussein? Do they dare express any desire
for release, knowing that could slice a bullet in the back? Do they secretly
yearn for liberty, even the generations that know nothing of freedom?
All these questions will print their own historic answers upon the days ahead.
With that, there are those of us who lean in the direction of Iraqis — masses
of them — secretly yearning for freedom. That is our hope in this war.
Iraqis no longer want to tolerate innocent women having their heads cut off
in the marketplace. They are tired of fearing for their families disappearing
by police escort — hauled away as cattle. No more do they want to see father
torn from his children, forced to be a suicide driver or see his offspring
shot dead in front of his house.
There is a hunger for freedom in the human heart. That hunger can work its
way to freedom. It can support liberators. It can organize for liberty. Turn
from Iraq then to Zimbabwe.
President Robert Mugabe’s hold on the populace has become increasingly dictatorial.
He has assumed power maximum. The same fear as has been in Iraq and other
despotic world spots has started to grip too tightly the citizenry of Zimbabwe.
That means that some of the intelligent, organized leadership has posited
itself against Mugabe. They have gone, in other words, where angels fear
to tread. God help them.
On Monday, March 31, Mugabe’s home and office buildings were placed under
police protection as liberty-hungry citizens forced their ethics upon his
cold hold. Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi broadcast over government radio
that tight security has increased around the President in order to ward off
the democratic opposition.
According to the Associated Press in Pst Harare, Zimbabwe, democracy supports
are coming from "mass protests". The message? Mugabe must start government
reforms — dramatic ones — that will insure real freedom to the people. Democratic
leader Morgan Tsvangirai promised to see through the democratic protest goal.
Could that mean that some freedom fighters will die? Could there be bloodshed
in the journey to liberty? The answer from the democracy enthusiasts is a
clear, courageous Yes.
"This will be the final push that will restore our sovereignty, liberty and
freedom," Tsvangirai said this weekend. "It will be a struggle that calls
for extreme sacrifices, indeed even the supreme sacrifice" of death.
In other words, just as today’s coalition forces and those who support them
worldwide realize that at times liberty means the ultimate sacrifice, so
those under Tsvangirai’s leadership have committed themselves to the same.
Supreme sacrifice. Death for another. Death for democracy to reign over dictatorship.
It is an old story. It is a hard story to tell. It is a remarkable story
to experience when freedom finally casts off a cruel regime, just as is the
case in the story writing this hour in Iraq. Sacrifice. Commitment. Faith.
Determination. Principle replacing cowardice. One being willing to "lay down
his life for a friend."
Democracy enthusiasts declare that their mass demonstrations will persist
against the despot until "sweeping democratic reforms" are forthcoming —
real and lasting. With that, Tsvangirai hears the threats from Mugabe, namely,
that Tsvangirai will be arrested, put away, done with, in disgrace. Sound
familiar? An echo from Iraq?
Tsvangirai shouts loudly that he will not give up. However, he and his democracy
fighters will follow in the train of the Martin Luther Kings. They will not
use arms to achieve their goals. They are countrymen who will walk over the
dictator by means of moral voice —"even at this hour, we seek no mortal combat.
. .we have no weapons of war and we do not need any."
the Iraqi situation, these countrymen for democracy are fighting against
their own despot. They have no foreign liberators to fight for them. They
must rely upon their own ingenuity, faith and moral prowess.
back, the democracy protestors have seen the dictatorial progression of Mugabe
and now they have had enough of it. When Mugabe led his country to freedom
from British rule in 1980, he took on an authoritarian cape. He controlled
the media. He took over white-owned farms. The farm-yanking yielded two years
of unrest in which the stolen from were slaughtered.
for independence from Britain in order to secure a democratic hold. The dictatorial
fist gripped tighter and tighter to this present hour. This month in particular
Mugabe cracked his whip against those involved in a two-day nationwide strike
against his political hold.
rights investigators came across a minimum of 250 individuals who had to
be medically treated due to injuries inflicted by the dictatorship. The crackdown
saw through its madness till today when Gibson Sibanda, deputy leader of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, was arrested.
past years elections have been rigged. Therefore, Tsvangirai and his followers
state to media that they will not permit such injustices to continue without
lifting their voice of condemnation against the Mugabe regime.
and Iraq there is a cry wailing from the human heart — as it is all over
the world. That’s the way humans are made — to be free. Only dictators do
not want to admit that basic to the human condition. To realize that would
mean their demise.
States President George W. Bush, a moral man with high principles, knows
perhaps more than any other world leader that heart yearning for freedom.
No wonder then the present Iraqi campaign is championed as "Iraqi Freedom."
war in Iraq is more than seeking discovery of weapons of mass destruction.
It is more than protecting America from terrorism. It is more than pressing
Hussein to comply with a UN Security Council Resolution. It surely is not
thirsting via imperialistic means for land, oil wells and such.
conquest in Iraq is, put simply, a crusade to set people free. It is to liberate
human beings from a slaughterhouse rule. It is to release them into clear
air and open fields for generations future.
such noble ambitions through, there are countless souls who are more than
willing to lay down their lives for their friends, even though at present
we are not quite sure Iraqis realize the coalition as "friends."
For that, the coalition is willing to gamble on the side of the human heart’s cry.
Grant Swank, Jr., is the Pastor of New Hope Church in
Windham, ME. He is a a graduate of an accredited
college (BA) and seminary (M Div) with graduate work at
Harvard Divinity School. Pastor Swank has been married
for 41 years and he has 3 adult children. He is
the author of 5 books and over 2000 articles in various
Protestant and Catholic magazines, journals and newspapers.
He writes a weekly religion column for PORTLAND PRESS HERALD
newspaper, Portland ME. His columns have appeared on IntellectualConservative.com,
VIOdaily.com, AmericanDaily.com, MensNewsDaily.com, BushCountry.org, Chalcedon.com,
ConservativeTruth.com, FreeRepublic.com, WoundedShepherds.com, among others.
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