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Archive for February, 2010

Degrees of abomination

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Friday, February 26th, 2010 by Bev Clark

Shared with us via an email from a Kubatana subscriber:

On her radio show, Dr Laura  Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US  resident, which was posted on the Internet.  It’s funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr.  Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements  of God’s Laws and how to follow  them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states  that I may possess slaves, both male and  female, provided they are purchased from  neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims  that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can  you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in  Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you  think would be a fair price  for her?

3. I know that I  am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in  her period of menstrual uncleanliness -  Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I  have tried asking, but most women  take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it  creates a pleasing odor for the Lord -  Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors.  They claim the odor is not pleasing to them.  Should I smite them?

5. I have a  neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus  35:2. clearly states he should be put to  death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is  an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t  agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of  abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I  wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to  be 20/20, or is there some wiggle- room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the  hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27.  How should they die?

9. I  know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of  two different kinds of thread  (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to  curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the  trouble of  getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev.  20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such  matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your  adoring fan.

James M. Kauffman,  Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. of  Curriculum, Instruction, and Special  Education University of  Virginia

Mugabe is popular and charming

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Friday, February 26th, 2010 by Bev Clark

Awhile ago Mugabe adopted a Look East policy in response to the Hostile West. As he’s just celebrated his birthday I thought I’d check what sign he is in the Chinese Zodiac. Born in 1924 makes him a Rat. There are some interesting predictions for him in 2010:

- The Year of the Tiger is going to be fast-paced for the Rat, which in itself does tend to make them slightly uncomfortable. But it is essential that they go with the flow and seize opportunities and take adventures – this year is going to be important for them. {Perhaps he’ll take advice from Zimbabwean Kubatana bloggers and retire to some fun in the sun}

- A lot of Rats may have dreamt of travel in 2009 but were unable to take trips either due to financial or work commitments. This year will be so different! Travel will feature strongly for many and if there is dream destination in mind, it may become a reality during 2010. {Maybe sanctions will be lifted after all}

- It is essential for all persons born under this sign to be extra thoughtful and caring throughout the year – an inadvertent remark or gesture could lead to discord with loved ones. {Who knew}

Major personality traits:
Rats are elegant, clever and prone to being distracted. The Rat is charming beyond words and throughout his undoubtedly long life he will always be popular and will have many friends. {As they say, don’t believe everything you read online}

Interesting Rat Facts:
Zodiac Stone: Garnet {Gosh, we thought it was diamonds}
Special Flower: Narcissus {No gray hair yet}
Best Hours: 11 pm -1 am {Guess that’s why the motorcade only fires up round about 10am}

Where’s the justice for abused kids in Zimbabwe?

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Friday, February 26th, 2010 by Natasha Msonza

My aunt’s 12 year-old daughter was recently cornered in a secluded little room by the caretaker of their block of flats where they stay in Avondale. He tried to rape her. Thankfully she managed to escape unscathed, but she is still reeling from the effects of the trauma associated with that experience.

My family has gone through a frustrating episode over this and probably writing about it is my way of dealing with it. Attempted rape in my book and the book of our law is a criminal offence that is (or should be) punishable by long imprisonment. The mother reported the case to the police who at the time swiftly acted and condemned the caretaker to the cells. Less than 48 hours later, the man was back in the yard, going about his business and acting like all was normal. This was quite baffling and it soon became apparent that a few palms had probably been greased.

Realizing the danger of having this man lurking around his victim and the other children, the residents committee unanimously decided to relieve him of his duties as caretaker. But at the moment, the man is not only carrying on as if nothing has changed, he has also harassed the chairperson of the residents committee and slashed her maize crop after she served him with a letter of dismissal. He has also threatened my aunt with unspecified action. In short, the man is a dangerously loose canon and I shudder to think of what he is capable of doing. My aunt has tried going back to the police who have informed her that the assailant paid an admission of guilt fine and could not be detained outside certain ‘specific’ charges. I know it must be devastatingly traumatic for her because the man who fondled and groped her child is still around perhaps promising more, and nobody seems interested in doing anything about it, especially the police.

In a desperate move, my aunt has approached numerous local child protection organizations; a lot of whom have not been able to do anything much for her either because they claim to be overwhelmed.  While I appreciate that obtaining justice for an abused child is not an automatic process in Zimbabwe, it is still quite disheartening that none of these organizations have taken a real interest in dealing with this particular case. My relatives have literally been tossed from one organization to the other and the kid has probably suffered even more trauma from having her case rejected from all sides. Meanwhile she lives in real fear of the moron that tried to rape her.

A few weeks ago, a dejected father whose daughter was raped by a school’s grounds man attended one of our monthly thematic discussions, which focused on abuse in schools. His story was also very sad because the grounds man was being permitted to continue working as normal, lurking around all the small children as the case was still being deliberated on. The father could not obtain justice for his child too, thanks to a lot of red tape and the perennial bureaucratic processes one has to go through to get closure in such cases. His daughter was also denied a place at a nearby school in Marimba because the headmistress said she did not want any ‘problems’. I have heard of several more cases like these – where the perpetrator gets off scot free. It is sad to note that a lot of the organizations representing children’s rights in Zimbabwe are toothless bulldogs who really aren’t doing much on the ground except justifying their existence sufficiently enough to extract rent from the next donor. I know that sounds really accusatory, but people like my aunt and the man whose child was molested by a grounds man and the children themselves, are meant to be amongst the intended beneficiaries justifying the existence of such organizations and their programming.

So if organizations that purportedly work to represent children’s rights are constantly too busy and keep referring cases to each other to no avail, then I guess they are not doing enough. And I don’t know what’s even sadder – that they are too overwhelmed (which says a lot about the levels of child abuse in the country) to pay attention to some cases or that for most of them, they feel that their hands are tied and they cannot actually do much outside what our callous police dictate.

It is my hope that one day, our social services, child protection civic society and the court system may actually work and function to protection our most valuable asset as a country – the children. Probably there is a need for a coordinated response that achieves real impact among these organizations so that the constituents they serve are clear of where to go when in need. In other countries, when a child tells an adult that he or she has been sexually abused, it is taken seriously and a lot is done to protect that child from even seeing the person while the case is being investigated.

I look forward to the day when no matter how complex a case is, or how busy they are, no abused child will ever be turned away from a child protection organization.

Homosexuality is not a choice

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Friday, February 26th, 2010 by Upenyu Makoni-Muchemwa

The issue of sexual orientation is one that affects everyone. It cuts across all human barriers such as race, religion, gender and socio-economic standing. The right to live one’s sexual orientation; freedom from discrimination, harassment and stigmatisation as a result of this are therefore rights and issues of concern for everyone.

In various discussions with friends, I have found sexual orientation to be an emotional and contentious issue. What I think people fail to realise is that while the majority of the human population is heterosexual, that does not make heterosexuality ‘normal’. Thus making homosexuality abnormal. I have found that many people regard homosexuality as a choice,  or something one does to get attention. This is evidenced by the many misconceptions surrounding homosexuality such as people being gay because they have not met the right man or woman; being seduced into being gay and that gay people were sexually abused as children. A look to our closest genetic relations in nature, Bonobos (a species of Chimpanzees), will show that even when survival is the key drive, they do still display homosexual behaviour. Moreover, the Human Genome Project gave rise to evidence of a gay gene. Meaning that homosexuality is not a choice.

Not starry eyed about Meikles Hotel

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Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 by Bev Clark

A friend and I were in Harare city centre on Sunday lunchtime and decided to have a toasted sandwich at Meikles Hotel which, I think, has  5*s. But after sampling both their toasted ham and cheese sandwich and their service, I reckon they’ve slipped a notch or 2. You’d expect something a bit delicate and classy (even if its a toastie) in a 5 * hotel but what got served up was anything but. I’m wondering if the lack of tourists to Zimbabwe have contributed to letting the standards in our hospitality industry slip. Perhaps they’ll get kicked into shape with the thought of potential revenues coming in from the World Cup 2010. If standards across the board, and that includes the rehabilitation of Zimbabwe’s infrastructure like roads, traffic lights, street lighting, water provision and refuse removal, don’t get revved up then Zimbabwe isn’t a very attractive base for tourists and teams to use. Perhaps this is a good time for Zimbabwean citizens to lobby or even, (gasp) protest, for an improvement in our living conditions because usually the men in power don’t give a twaddle about stuff like this. Going back to Meikles, they could learn a thing or two from a small unpretentious 3 * hotel in the Avenues that serves up cheaper and more tasty sandwiches. There’s also no worry about indigestion brought on at the Meikles by a prominently displayed presidential portrait.

Talk isn’t cheap

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Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 by Zanele Manhenga

I tell you I have tried, tested and proven that what Jesus said is true. He was not telling a lie, he was truly speaking from experience and for the first time I sympathize and empathize with the Lord Jesus Christ. The past week I have been sent out to do a survey on vendors. When I was given locations to do the research I marked Mount Pleasant as one place that was going to be a one-stop shop for me. Mount Pleasant is like home to me although I don’t stay there anymore. Stay with me now and let me explain. I was sent to ask routine questions on vendor experiences and when I saw the questions I felt that my former home location would be the place of a great harvest of information. It is hard to speak to a perfect stranger and start explaining yourself to them. So when I went to Mount Pleasant I was very confident I would get pretty good answers. You see in my mind I was thinking I have bought tomatoes and veggies in this place for well over four years and it wont be so difficult to ask my a.b.c. Questions. Well I was wrong. The minute I said to the ladies at the msika could I please ask these simple questions on how you operate it was as if I had opened a can of worms that was waiting to burst. The ladies started shouting at the top of their voices “… if you don’t pay money we are not saying a word to you, does this thing have money, we don’t do things for mahara here.” As a woman on a mission I tried to reason with them. I asked that if I was to return to work and tell them that there are some ladies who want money how much would they want. Wait a minute – this a classical answer from one of the ladies “… how much do you want to pay us, coz kusina mari ha pana zva tiri ku taura.” My simple reaction to this was to ask again how much they would want to be paid. At that time I felt exactly the way Jesus felt when he went to Nazareth and was asked if he was not the son of the simple carpenter and why he had come with such a project of calling souls to the Kingdom of Heaven and what benefit he was to them. The words he spoke gave me the strength to leave that place and go to a location that appreciated what I was doing just like he went to the next town and performed even greater miracles. I went on and spoke to more people than the few ladies I found in Mount Pleasant. A prophet is appreciated anywhere else but his hometown.