God Bless Zimbabwe

"To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than Death or Night;
To defy Power, which seems Omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope, till Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;
Neither to change nor falter nor repent;
This, like thy glory, Titan! is to be
Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire and Victory."


Last weekend, and in truth for some years past, the patient, suffering free people of Zimbabwe have seen the winds blow and darkness fall. Those of any dignity and strength and spirit at all have seen the iron power of a state attempt time and again to crush their hope and their straining toward freedom.

For some of them, now that the regime is again attempting to subvert the result of elections and again deny the freedom so many of them dreamed for and fought for, their belief and their hope is too painful to bear.

To despair is sinful because the rock on which any life is built is hope. Hope, one mystical product of our unfathomable minds, hope so connected to love. In times of darkness, we sometimes put it away and fear for its survival and fear that we can't be true to it, and so we lock it behind our eyes and run away in pain.

People have always been bad and flawed and messed up as much as they have been good, and extraordinary and amazing. The great thing about the union of love and reason that freedom allows is that people can take account of all this and see how low they can get and yet still hope and still strain and not be afraid, not of the outside, nor of the sorrow they might feel when seeing their inner light in the dark and thinking it the only one.

I'm sitting in a rich country in a place very far away from Zimbabwe, but I have just read something that I has moved me almost to tears and which is the occasion of this blog.

It made me think of the hope in Zimbabwe that a friend of mine mentioned just in passing yesterday after lunch at the Middle Temple, and of the capacity of those who just hold on in hope to change the world. I think reason, and practicality and planning things out brings hope to bear of course--I might be sentimental but I'm not completely silly this April fool's day.

Just once, though, I wanted to say to anyone who wandered onto this blog from Zimbabwe, good luck, hold on, and God save you. I thought of Wolfe Tone's defiance, and of a hymn, and of a million other ways to end the blog, but instead, here is a revolutionary song that achieved the impossible a long time ago in a place very near to any free heart.

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