Emotional blackmail will not solve our problems
Unfortunately, in public issues that is not exactly how we might want to approach issues because such an approach is not enough to solve the problems of Zimbabwe. Emotions are only relevant in so far as compassion goes but they cannot be substitute for reason and pragmatism.
At worst, these emotional pleas by some Zimbabweans have been stretched to a point of destruction where they have been used as blackmail.
If emotions alone could solve the world’s problems, then Mother Teresa would have long ago solved all of them before she died. But the sad thing about the current expression of emotions is that these are just not expressions of compassion but have turned into emotional blackmail.
Many Zimbabweans, for whatever sinister reasons, are turning to emotional blackmail to try and get what they desire out of the Zimbabwean situation. For instance, in appealing for a particular national order, some of us demand that we disregard reason and only focus on immediately addressing the current situation.
Yes, the situation is receiving immediate action but there is more to it than that. In the first place, the obtaining situation is not a product of nature but rather of deliberate acts by various actors in pursuit of their agendas and it is within such a context the we should approach these issues in order to solve them.
We cannot discard reason and pragmatism in solving a particular problem that was systematically engineered. In solving such a problem, we need to unpack and understand the ideas that inform those actions and then take appropriate measures to deal with the situation.
Emotions alone would not suffice in dealing with such situations. In pursuit of entrenching a neoliberal order and engrossed in denial, some of our fellow nationals have called for economic sanctions against the country and which has seen unprecedented suffering visiting our fellow Zimbabweans.
The aim of economic sanctions
is to bring suffering to the people of Zimbabwe so that they rise up
against the current government and overthrow it and by default, put
the Movement for Democratic Change into power. The massive suffering
that the economic sanctions have brought about has been used by these
very architects (who act very concerned) of this order to highlight
the need for an immediate change in government. That is
These people create a horrible situation and then turn back to demand and threaten us to give in to their demands or else. These are typical characteristics of emotional blackmail.
Susan Forward, writing in
her 1998 book titled Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your
Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You tells us
that some of the components of emotional blackmail include demands by
the blackmailer, application of pressure on the victim, threats to turn
up the pressure and repetition of these components in at least some
According to Forward, the blackmailers are very direct about their demands and they believe that they see themselves as martyrs who have made sacrifices for others and have suffered as a result of it and at the same time does not hesitate to remind these people so that they feel sorry for him.
Forward also tells us that there are tools that emotional blackmailers use to disguise their sinister agenda. These include making demands seem reasonable and allying with someone of authority or influence.
These few selected components
clearly capture the behavioural pattern of many of our Zimbabweans brothers
and sisters. We are stifled from taking the pragmatic and deliberative
route to problem-solving but only respond to the plight of the victims
who face grave danger. While there could surely be danger or unpleasant
circumstances to the people that need immediate action,
If we do not understand the circumstances of these problems, there are good chances that these blackmailers would repeat them knowing quite well that we would react impulsively and advertently further their agendas. These national blackmailers expect us to just respond to the obtaining situations (under threats) without careful examination of the obtaining situation.
Anyone applying rationality, especially against their beliefs is vilified as not caring or perhaps out of touch with reality. The surprising thing is that these very national emotional blackmailers use rationality to systematically scheme their programmes but then expect others not to apply the same rationality.
But of course, they know quite well that an interrogation of their rationality would expose them for what they are – nothing but just national emotional blackmailers bent on selling out national interests.
We have seen these national emotional blackmailers align themselves with the powerful and influential Western countries of the world. The United States has recently told us that, in conjunction with some Zimbabweans, it is sponsoring a regime change programme and it has not been remorse: it has promised to escalate its agenda.
We have all heard how many, opposed to the current government, have defended economic sanctions while others even deny their existence. It is strange on what grounds these denials are premised since the definition of the term includes all the scenarios put forward by the deniers.
But now, if we locate them within this blackmail framework, their position is understandable.
What is the way forward for Zimbabwe in the midst of this powerful national emotional blackmail movement? According to Forward, the victim should realise that they ae being blackmailed and that it is not appropriate for the blackmailer to be treating them in that manner. Luckily, our people have seen through this and are fighting the blackmailers. More importantly, she says the victims need to understand that they must not give into the pressure for an immediate decision.
Just like the protracted
liberation struggle, the people of Zimbabwe must stand firm and repel
the national blackmail movement. It is still importance not to shut
out this movement; rather we should engage them and in the spirit of
national unity demonstrate to them the virtues of building a united
country. The African National Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party
in South Africa managed to do that in a deliberate effort to eliminate
conditions creating instability and establishing those conducive to
building a viable state.
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