The Common Good

Making Sense of Zimbabwe's Violence

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows (Luke 12:6-7).

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He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight (Psalm 72:14).

My friends and I were discussing the ongoing violence in Zimbabwe -- it seems senseless. Or is it? The explanation given for the violence prior to the recent elections was that it was part of "Operation: Who Did You Vote For?" -- also referred to as electoral cleansing. The goal was to ensure that the ruling party would win the elections, which they did.

But then why is the violence continuing? When the negotiations began last week between the political parties, cessation of violence was one of the key issues raised, and we all hoped the violence would eventually stop. But it has not, and the negotiations have hit a brick wall and are currently at a standstill. The loss and violation of human life goes to the heart of our faith. For each human being is made in the image of God and therefore has inherent dignity and is of infinite value.

I fear for myself and our faith communities that the ongoing violence may desensitize us to the value of human life and its preciousness to God. Somehow this is the "salt" and the "light" we need to be to keep the value of human dignity, especially the value of African life. Please continue to pray. Thank you.

Nontando Hadebe, a former Sojourners intern, is originally from Zimbabwe and is now pursuing graduate studies in theology in South Africa.

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