Gaddafi, victorious in death October 26, 2011
By Caesar Zvay
herald.co.zwColonel Muammar Gaddafi
While I love all of Ngugi wa Thiongo's works, Matigari is the one that really got to me given how he introduces his story so that it can apply anywhere, at anytime and in any setting.
A powerful mixture of orature, Marxism and Christianity, symbolism, humour, poetry and politics, Matigari could be set almost anywhere in Africa, at anytime or circumstance.
For those not familiar with the story. It starts soon after the struggle for independence in an unnamed country when a guerilla emerges from the bush, dumps his AK47, and girds a belt of peace.
He, however, soon finds that life in the newly independent state is far from ideal, as it is business as usual. He adopts the name Matigari ma Nijiruungi, "the patriots who survived the bullets", and teams up with a worker, a prostitute, and an orphan and confronts the sons of those he fought against, demanding the house he built. He, however, is locked up for his troubles.
Matigari and his cellmates share their experiences before miraculously escaping.
As rumours about him spread, Matigari goes in search of truth and justice.
He looks in shopping centres, the courts, restaurants and farmlands. He asks old women, students, teachers and priests. And finally at a public meeting he takes on the Minister for Truth and Justice and his sycophants, only to be locked up in a mental hospital.
There Matigari removes his belt of peace and tramples it, recalling that "Justice for the oppressed comes from a sharpened spear". He escapes and is tracked down with dogs but disappears, becoming a myth and leaving his weapons and his words for posterity to take up the struggle.
"Who is Matigari? they ask each other. How on earth are we going to recognise him? What does he look like? What nationality is he? Is Matigari a man or woman anyway? Is he young or old? Is he fat or thin? Is he real or just a figment of people's imagination? Who or what really is Matigari ma Nijiruungi? Is he a person, or is it a spirit?"
The goings on in Libya that culminated in the callous murder of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi reminded me of Matigari, particularly the Brother Leader's last will and testament that was designed to spur resistance to the NTC proxies.
It doesn't matter that the NTC tried to deny progressive Libyans a shrine by burying Gaddafi in an unmarked grave in the desert in the dead of night. The circumstances of his death, the disproportionate forces used to snuff him out, his decision to fight to the death and his execution by sanguine NATO proxies, the enduring words he left behind and that will live after him, are all stuff for martyrdom. Like the legendary Matigari,
Gaddafi's ghost is set to haunt the NTC, if at has not already begun doing so on account of the dawn burial.
By killing a defiant Gaddafi in cold blood, abusing his body, the NTC set the stage for its own terrible end at some point. That dawn burial denoted fear, deep fear of a dead man. It connoted a realisation that while they had deposed one Gaddafi there are millions more waiting to take his place and fight the NATO infidels and their NTC proxies, and they could use Gaddafi's grave as a shrine.
The NTC, which has since asked NATO to stay on in Libya, just confirmed that it sits precariously in the leadership saddle and needs protection from Libyans. A fear made ominous by the fact that Gaddafi's suave son, Saif al-Islam evaded the NATO bombs and is at large in the vast Libyan desert and has sworn revenge against the NTC like the legendary Matigari. "This is our country, we live in it, and we die in it and we are continuing the struggle. We continue our resistance. I'm in Libya, alive, free and intend to go to the very end and exact revenge," Saif al-Islam told Syrian TV.
Saif al-Islam, whose name means Sword of Islam in English, has become Ngugi's sharpened spear, the archetypal patriot who survived the NATO bullets. He was reported to be mobilising the support of several tribes that expressed outrage at the events that unfolded in Benghazi, Tripoli and Sirte culminating in Gaddafi's murder.
So while Gaddafi lies in an unmarked grave in the desert, he lives on in the hearts and minds of progressive Libyans. He remains a factor in Libyan politics, a scenario that was not made any easier for the NTC by his touching last Will and Testament that urged Libyans to fight the infidels till final victory.
Gaddafi said, in part, "The Libyan people should not relinquish the sacrifices of the free and best people. I call on my supporters to continue the resistance, and fight any foreign aggressor against Libya, today, tomorrow and always.
"Let the free people of the world know that we could have bargained over and sold out our cause in return for a personal, secure and stable life. We received many offers to this effect but we chose to be at the vanguard of the confrontation as a badge of duty and honour.
"Even if we do not win immediately, we will give a lesson to future generations that choosing to protect the nation is an honour and selling it out is the greatest betrayal that history will remember forever despite the attempts of the others to tell you otherwise."
This touching statement reminded me of our own Mbuya Nehanda's prophetic words here, when she told the settler lynch mob on April 27, 1897 that "mapfupa angu achamuka (my bones will surely rise). And rise the bones did on the 69th anniversary of her death when seven Zanla fighters engaged the Rhodesian army in the Battle of Chinhoyi on April 28,1966, marking the beginning of the Second Chimurenga.
By murdering Gaddafi, the NTC created the martyr the resistance needs. Gaddafi walked his talk that he would die fighting in the land of his forefathers. He died a painful but honourable death. His captors' barbarism made him a victor in death.
The NTC will soon realise that people do not necessarily need a physical shrine, they just need the figure, a rallying point and enduring words that shape guiding principles. Gaddafi left all this for progressive Libyans.
There is a reason why that hand-written note, his will, survived in the sweaty palms of three of his relatives - one of whom was killed, the other arrested while the third managed to escape with it to safety, till it was published by the pro-Arab Seven Days News website.Full Article : herald.co.zw