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Stressed out by life in Zimbabwe

I RECENTLY suffered a heart attack that necessitated bypass surgery. After such an event, one always wonders “why?”

OK, I was a smoker then, but it seems that was

not such a big factor. A far bigger contributor was years of excessive stress.

Living in Zimbabwe is stressful. It is particularly stressful if you resist corruption, get involved in politics and oppose the regime. I did all of these things. Particularly bad I think is my inability to compromise on injustice and outright evil. I find I just cannot do it.

Partly because I could not accept corruption, my business slowly died. I tried moving to Australia, but after three months they told me to go back to Zimbabwe. After only a week, the violence caught up with me again and I had to leave quickly for the UK.

I am thankful for having found a job here quickly, but I do not like the UK. I am a foreigner here and the British do not like foreigners much. I also have no home of my own, pension or security. That’s OK at 40, but frightening at 60.

Once I attended a five-day seminar on death and dying. I learned that a common symptom of loss and bereavement is anger. For some years now my days have been filled with rage and I have done all that I can to strike back at those who have been killing Zimbabwe. But eventually, one must accept death and move on. I must accept the death of Zimbabwe and accept that I can do no more.

For my own good I must let go of active, daily involvement. What can be done, what will be done, will be done by others – not by me. Whether the country ever even remotely approaches what it could have been, I cannot know. Whether it can even get back to what it was a few short years ago is unknown.

In order to develop a country in the first place, there has to be a high incentive to go there and do well for oneself. What will Zimbabwe be able to offer? This is a country that has deliberately attacked those who have provided the financial and industrial base and even called them “enemies of the state”. It is ironic that Nigeria is collecting some of our displaced farmers.

The rule of law has been deliberately destroyed. Judges are neither respected nor trusted and the people fear the police.

Rural District Councils have been subverted and turned into extensions of the party. The nation has been poisoned, and the poison is hatred.

But now I have to let go. Like the death of a loved partner or child, I have to learn to accept the death of my beloved country. Grieving will not restore it to life and I must move on to enjoy my remaining years, though in exile. Nothing will ever eclipse the love I felt for the land, but now I must give up fighting and grieve its death instead.

Maybe if a miracle occurs I will be able to visit home sometime in the distant future. I do not have high hopes because I feel that most Zimbabweans do not possess the determination and strength of character necessary to achieve change. But the saddest thing of all is that in my experience very, very few are willing to make any sort of sacrifice.

Charles Frizell,


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