Dear editor, I have followed with sadness the news about political violence that has been going on in recent times. as a minister of religion I have been reflecting on easter and penned down the following to be shared with many peace loving Zambians. In my view, the current violence is a sign that we are yet to mature as a democracy. We are in dire need of a serious political culture of tolerance.
Below is my reflection.
The crucifixion of Jesus finally led to the Easter experience: The experience that love is much stronger than death. The ploy behind the death of Jesus is a shocking turn of events in which those who accused Jesus shifted charges initially from a religious offense (claiming to be God) and finally to a political charge (that he claimed to be the King of the Jews). In Jesus we have a perfect example of selfless love, of revolutionary courage that is borne of God!! In the face of death, Jesus does not deny his own message. It is worth noting that behind the terrible scene and ploy of Jesus’ crucifixion there were individuals such as Pilate’s wife who braved speaking truth to power!! Pilate’ wife shared her agony of seeing an innocent man punnished! We all need to constantly ask ourselves the ultimate question of why we are finally here! Those who led the crusade against Jesus were apparently those who should have been the custodians of justice and peace (shalom); the Jewish religious leaders.
Amidst the unfortunate instances of political violence that has rocked our Zambian political scene in recent times, the onus is on all of us as Zambians to contribute to a well rounded culture of peace (shaloam) in which hard work, love for our neighbours, and tolerance become central values for the kind of society that we would build for ourselves and our future generations.
What kind of a Zambia is this that is emerging with all the sad news about political violence? May this Easter be a time for us all to reflect on love. May we embody the philosophy of true humanity (ubuntu) that requires an appreciation and understanding of the right to divergent views even on those matters on which we hold our deepest convictions. Ther real sign of genuine political progress in our country will be marked by a political culture in which we carry our weapons above our showders; in our heads. It must be a discursive encounter of ideas. The real political battles must be those based on policy and political ideology. Our political leaders must take a moment to reflect on why they are finally where they are! On whose side do they stand.
One may rhetorically ask the same question to any ruling government: Why are you finally in government? Whose government are you? On whose side are you? A peoples gorvenment seeks the best for every citizen irrispective of creed (religious, political or otherwise). The message of easter is that finally Love is more powerful than evil in all its forms and manifestations! May the Love of God help us to find fulfilment deep within. May the God of love, peace and Justice reign.
Lecturer: Dogmatics and Ethics United Church of Zambia University College P.O Box 20429 Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation Campus