Happy Birthday Zimbabwe!

Kingston Ziyera from the Zimbabwe Mission to the U.N., April 18. SLL photo: Bill Dores

Sista’s Place in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, was filled on April 18 to celebrate the 42nd anniversary of Zimbabwe’s independence. The event, which included representatives from Zimbabwe’s mission to the United Nations, was organized by the December 12th Movement.

The people of Zimbabwe fought long and hard for freedom from racist white colonial rule. It was an armed struggle that won Zimbabwe’s independence on April 18, 1980.

More than 70,000 Africans gave their lives for independence, while the U.S. Senate voted to give financial aid to the racist regime by subsidizing chrome imports.

President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe was sentenced to hang when he was a teenager. Fortunately he was reprieved but his companion freedom fighter was executed.

Since 2000, Zimbabwe has been under cruel sanctions from the United States and the European Union for taking back the land from white settlers and returning it to Africans. That’s what should have happened in the U.S. following the Civil War.

The U.S. sanctions are hurting the people of Zimbabwe. Yet Zimbabwe’s people and their Zimbabwe African National Union―Patriotic Front government have pushed forward. The country has the highest literacy rate in Africa.

Africans built Great Zimbabwe

Kingston Ziyera from the Zimbabwe Mission to the U.N. helped set the militant tone of the meeting. He spoke of Zimbabwe’s accomplishments in many economic areas.

A good example is bottled oxygen, which is used in hospitals and welding. Hundreds of patients tragically died in India when hospitals there ran out of oxygen at the height of the COVID-19 surge. Zimbabwe is now producing all the oxygen it needs and has started to export the commodity.

Comrade Ziyera expressed Zimbabwe’s solidarity with Palestine. Thousands of former white settlers from Zimbabwe are now in the apartheid state occupying Palestine.

Omowale Clay spoke for the December 12th Movement. D12 has championed Zimbabwe for decades.

Field Marshall Coltrane Chimurenga, a D12 leader who passed away in 2019, is buried in the Harare Provincial Heroes’ Acre. He was given a 21-gun salute by the Zimbabwean military.

Clay said Zimbabwe has become a beacon for Africa. He emphasized the struggle of the Palestinian people. “Unity is our greatest weapon,” exclaimed Omowale Clay.

Colette Pean from D12 spoke about a tour that’s being organized later this year to go to Zimbabwe. Pean described how beautiful the African country is.

A top attraction is Great Zimbabwe, one of the largest stone fortresses in the world. Pean told how British colonialists were so embarrassed by this African feat of engineering that they claimed it was really built by Phoenicians! (It wasn’t built by UFOs either.)

Colette Pean described how healthcare workers and all of Zimbabwe’s people fought back more successfully against COVID-19 than did the United States government. Zimbabwe closed its borders and took other measures against the pandemic weeks before the U.S. did.

Compare Zimbabwe with Pennsylvania, a state with at least 17 billionaires. While Pennsylvania has 13 million people, Zimbabwe has around 15 million people.

As of April 19, some 5,464 people have died in Zimbabwe from the coronavirus. In Pennsylvania, 44,539 people died from COVID ― over eight times as many. 

Jihad from Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, read a moving solidarity statement that was greeted warmly by the audience. There’s solidarity with Palestine throughout Africa.

While the sanctions against Zimbabwe have hurt the country, so will the sanctions against the Russian Federation hurt the people of Zimbabwe. That’s because Zimbabwe imports much of its fertilizer from Russia.

Despite these difficulties, Zimbabwe will never surrender. Long live Zimbabwe!

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