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Coming alive in this dying

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Tonight was supposed to be my group night, but it was one of those scenarios when everything in the universe conspires for something different to happen that ends up actually suiting most concerned for one reason or another . . . all except one . . . and that’s just the way it goes. So, I decided to share with my wider circle instead.

I am still recovering from a spell of madness at myself (and anyone else who may remotely have conspired) for having mixed the extremely precious commodities of petrol and diesel with each other thereby corrupting both. Fuck! What a huge waste . . . and certainly it is not a time to be wasteful in such things . . . anyway . . . done now.

We are once again on that edge, that part of the spiral where it looks everything could simply shut down and grind to a halt. It’s not the first time we’ve felt this way, and every time we come round to it on the spiral, it looks even more true than before. Frantic purchasing of whatever is available runs rampant as basic necessities have already disappeared and anything else, whose reappearance on the shelves is highly suspect, may also disappear from the open market and wind their way to join the very lucrative ‘underground’ where the spoils can only be for the privileged. Outright robbery and looting by those we pay to serve and protect us as police and army raid shops, force them to sell everything at half the price and then buy them out – abusing their ‘power’ in the hopes of pulling themselves out at least of this quagmire of our common experience.

On this latest move on fuel though – where coupons are now declared banned, I reckon even the privileged are going to come unstuck. (For the unfamiliar, coupons were a way of ensuring access to fuel and was based on paying in foreign currency. Govt. never had enough forex to bring in the national requirement, so people with access sorted it for themselves….and it was working!). The latest law is that these are now ‘banned’ and you have 2 weeks to redeem them into fuel. That’s all very well and good – only one problem, people are sitting on thousands upon thousands of litres worth of coupons which is beyond the capacity of the fuel stations to redeem within 2 weeks, and besides that, where does a person store such a quantity of fuel? Should you be one fortunate enough to have tanks or ample drums, that’s all well and good – then you can be had up for hoarding and have the lot confiscated….which will then probably be issued to police and army to round up more of the same! There is no way Govt. can bring in what’s required and also no way anyone is going to import and then sell for half the price they bought it at. What then? Without fuel, nothing can move – people can’t get to work, shops can’t be supplied. What happens then? It may or may not happen, and I’m certainly very curious to see how it is possible to avoid its happening by virtue of the decisions that have been and are being made. The more they try to impose control, the more everything breaks down (it’s an uncanny phenomenal parallel to the dynamic of ego disintegration – the more you try to control your world and have everything in your ordered little box so as to feel in control, the more everything falls apart and feels out of control….and actually does go out of control ultimately. Using control to ‘get’ control inevitably turns into ‘loss of control’ for the pure and simple reason that you can’t argue with reality.) The dictionary states “out of control” to be “no longer subject to guidance” . . . need I say more?

The CIZ (Commercial Ind. of Zim) are encouraging producers to continue producing despite the fact that government stipulated price controls pretty much guarantee them selling at a loss. Well, that has a lot of foresight! Who in their right mind would do such a thing??? Well exactly . . . so now, in the interests of serving the nation, we’ll simply have to take over your business thank you very much because you are refusing to do your national duty. And then everything will return to ‘normal’ in due course because, of course, the prices will creep up again and the new owners will have a business . . . can there be such manipulation as this? Well, I can’t say the same ploy worked out too well with the farms!!! A complete collapse of everything!? Zimbos must by now be very well equipped to write a highly comprehensive manual on the 10 most efficient ways to destroy a fully functioning nation!

And in our typical Zimbabwean orientation, we continue to “wait and see” (amidst the frantic buying of fast disappearing ‘anything’) so that we can afford to wait and see . . . and still survive in a fashion . . . the underprivileged become reliant on the privileged where they have access to such a thing, and for the rest it’s bare bones survival by any means – wheeling, dealing and stealing . . . and this seemingly inherent culture of continuing to suffer it, negotiate it and to “wait and see”, prevails. At what point does the snake eating its own tail swallow itself up? And what will that look like?

There is huge stress out there . . . and there are also people sitting at the Italian Bakery happily drinking cappuccino and ordering lunch seemingly unconcerned . . . for now . . . right now there’s only the cappuccino . . . quite right . . . you can still get a cappuccino by the way, but only when the power’s on….which is another thing becoming more unpredictable and less available . . . actually, it’s becoming quite predictable that it’s more than likely going to be off than on! The hum of the generators may soon be falling away too . . . mmmm

Amidst all of this, I work my connections in whichever way they exist – work, social, personal – where further challenges present themselves in this multi-faceted experience of existence persistent in its urge to move us one way or another.

And, oh yes, we pray . . . for remembrance, for our humanity, our connection, and for our healing . . . we also manage to keep a sense of humour in this craziness (I lose mine when I mix petrol with the diesel however!) And curiosity . . . mostly, I’m hugely curious . . . what now? . . . what now? . . . what happens now? Where is the bottom of this senseless barrel anyway? And what could it possibly look like? And we cannot know until we’re in it . . . and what is this “it” and how will we know? . . . so we wait and see . . . we wait like frogs heating in the water set to boil, to see whether or not we’ll notice our dying in this living, and our coming alive in this dying.

2 comments to “Coming alive in this dying”

  1. Comment by Rosemary:

    I love the vignettes on kubatana and recommend it to my zim friends. Sonia’s writing is at the same time down-to-earth and poetic. We think of you all every day and hope that the good news starts soon – Zimbabweans have suffered too much

  2. Comment by Diana:

    apparently frogs don’t wait in boiling water to die. See http://www.fastcompany.com/online/01/frog.html. If they have nowhere to jump to, they die. Otherwise, they jump. To South Africa, apparently. There is no evidence that they combine together to overturn the pot, or splash out the water to extinguish the flame, or drink all the water. But Zimbabweans aren’t frogs.