I WANT MY FLAG BACK

I choose to be a proud citizen of this Zimbabwe, my country. I choose to think positively. I choose to see the good that still exists, and most importantly the good that could be. I am the hope that I need. I am proudly Zimbabwean and I will fly my flag high here and everywhere as ‘MY COUNTRY’S FLAG’. NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO STOP ME. IT IS MY FLAG TOO AND I AM TAKING IT BACK!

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For many years the Zimbabwean flag has been the country’s pride irrespective of race, tribe, or political linage. For many years if a Zimbabwean team were playing, any Zimbabwean could freely carry the flag to show support and patriotism. It was that symbol we used to identify with and support the team and also tell the world who we are.
I remember the years I spent working on Cruise Ships. There were times on a Cruise Ship with a total of 3000+ crew members and guests collectively, I would be the only Zimbabwean. The ships took pride in their crew and how we were from so many different nations, so they would put up flags from every country represented onboard. Whenever the Zimbabwean flag was up, my fellow crew members knew Nonka was back from vacation and still onboard. Once it was gone, Nonka had gone on vacation.
Whenever I mentioned that I was from Zimbabwe, because of all his negative activity, Mugabe and his government put me in a rather odd position where I would be expected to explain his behaviour and why my government was failing the people of Zimbabwe. So there I was flying the Zimbabwean flag but in so doing was falling prey to a lot of daggers, with some telling me what we needed to do as a people, as if they have 100% control over their own governments. Anyway, I still flew my flag high because Mugabe and the government are not my flag, nor are they Zimbabwe. I spoke of the positives. The things I missed about my country. I spoke about the amazing people and all that was and is dear to me. I also believed that these people might never meet another Zimbabwean and I was the countries advert, an ambassador. If they never heard a full story about the country, the people, our culture, our beauty besides the negatives, they would never know. No one will tell them. When would they ever see someone actually fly the Zimbabwean flag high and be more than the problems that plague us. How could they even think it worth visiting our beautiful country if I never told them of just how amazingly beautiful it is.
I would walk into fellow crew member’s cabins and they would have their flags displayed. I remember asking myself why I never had a flag. In fact I even remember wondering where one could even get a flag in Zimbabwe without having to download and create one myself. I actually had no clue. It is not a thing you would normally see easily. However I remember coming home and I cannot actually remember right now what was happening but I can assure you it was probably something that was happening in South Africa, probably the world cup, that got us selling the flag in the streets. This is when I bought my flag that I would later on display in my cabin onboard the ships.

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Meanwhile I heard things like, “I cannot fly the Zimbabwean flag high. I am not there yet”, from a lot of people. They had been stripped of their patriotism. Just recently I discovered that a lot of young people could not identify themselves with the Zimbabwean flag. It represented a regime and it’s values. It represents the ruling party’s failure to address their concerns. It represents their shattered dreams. All this until a pastor got up and wrapped the flag around his shoulders and spoke out against the ills that plagued the Zimbabwean people’s lives. All of a sudden people loved the flag, and identified with it. People who had never seen the value of the flag for once held the flag and flew it high. It seemed there was a common cause. I heard the younger generations say, this was the first time they actually saw the Zimbabwean flag as meaning something.
unfortunately when Pastor Evans left the country and went silent, so did these same people. They too fell silent and put their flags down.

Now what is left is something I hate with all my heart. There is now a fear by Zimbabweans to carry their flag freely. How silly is that? Well…. I have been trying to get a photo with a random member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, just as I was able to get a picture with NYPD and policemen and soldiers from so many other countries. In my own country, I cannot. My assumption…..this is because the ZRP have made themselves enemies of the people of Zimbabwe. Instead of being protectors, they are the very people Zimbabweans need protection from. So now imagine a random person coming and saying they want a picture. When they have explained why they refuse to have a photo taken together with me, they have said they do not know where the photo will end up and they fear their bosses.

I shared this with my Facebook contacts and one said, carry a flag and walk up to any policeman. They will take a photo with you. I thought wow that sounds like a great patriotic move. He then told me I would make it to the newspapers and everyone would know me, and if they beat me up I should just get a very good lawyer. You know….it actually took a while to click. I had no intentions of making it to the papers, I just wanted a photo to add to my collection and did not understand why it is so hard in my own country.

Later that day I told a friend about the issue of the cops and my flag. She said it would not be wise due to recent activities involving the flag. That’s when it actually dawned on me that now the flag represents a certain movement and anyone publicly carrying the Zimbabwean flag would be suspected of supporting that movement which obviously had our Government on their nerves end with worry. The picture I used for this post was taken during a cricket match where our Zimbabwean team was playing. I was there in support of my team and so of course if there is a flag, I will carry it and take a photo with it. However during that particular match, things were still bright and Pastor Evans was still active so a lot of people were carrying the flag for the first time. You know, when I posted the picture on Facebook the assumption was, I am supporting the “This Flag” movement. Even a month ago which is such a long time since that match, when people see my photo they smile and say, “This flag”. I had to say to the one guy, “No…..Cricket”.
That same flag that I have for years flown high freely and randomly when I chose, here in my own country and anywhere abroad, I can no longer fly here without people assuming I am making a statement against the government in favour of a particular movement. I think that is very sad.

This post is not a declaration of my support for or against any movement or political party. In this post I am saying….I JUST WANT MY FLAG BACK. IT IS MY FLAG TOO. It represents more than one man’s political party or one man’s supported movement against the regime. It represents my belonging to the land of my birth. It represents my history, my today, my future. No one has the right to take that away from me. It was used for their movement yes but it cannot belong to a movement. I should walk in the streets carrying my flag and every Zimbabwean irrespective of their political, religious, or cultural beliefs should be able to identify with it.
The truth of the matter is….Zimbabwe is larger than any human being alive and living in it as we speak. We will ALL disappear from this earth one day, from the leaders to the beggar in the streets, but this land will remain. All we can do is to decide whether we want to leave a disgraceful legacy or not. Will we be known as progressive people who used their time on this land wisely or will we be the generation that failed and brought a country to its knees by dragging it back centuries from an industrial hub to barter trade. Will we fail to be that awesome people that we could easily be if we just get our heads in the right place or will we be the people that will be known for our cowardice, total lack of wisdom, much empty talk and flamboyance, big words and nothing else. Our flag is greater than we are and after we are dead it can and will live on.
I choose to be a proud citizen of this Zimbabwe, my country. I choose to think positively. I choose to see the good that still exists, and most importantly the good that could be. I am the hope that I need. I am proudly Zimbabwean and I will fly my flag high here and everywhere as MY COUNTRY’S FLAG. NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO STOP ME. IT IS MY FLAG TOO AND I AM TAKING IT BACK!

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