Woman sentenced to 17 years…Zambia

So my sister told me about a woman in Zambia who was sentenced to 17 years for murder…did a quick search in google and found a Lusaka Times article about it. From the news report, it seems the woman acted in self-defence. The story can be accessed here, if you want to see the context of the case. It is said that the woman was beaten by the man and she grabbed an alternator cover and hit him with it. He died and now she has been sentenced to 17 years behind bars because of the “seriousness” of the crime and apparently after taking into consideration, the events that led to the death.

I’m no lawyer but from my understanding, for someone to be convicted of murder, intent to kill has to be established. This particular case sounds more like a case of self-defence and not murder. Apparently Zambia is a Christian nation, governed my Christian values, yet despite the fact that even in the old Testament, God made provisions for those who killed someone unintentionally. There were cities of refuge, to which they could go and be provided with safety incase the family of the deceased wanted to take the law into their own hands. They were by no means thrown into prison and the higher penalty for murder was not applied.

In the Christian nation, however, the judge states that “You killed your own husband whom your children called father, and now your children will no longer have someone to call father,” making me wonder, who is fighting for the cause of the woman, where is justice for the children?

These children now have lost both their mother and father. With the current state of prisons, it is more likely that this woman will not exit that prison in seventeen years and even if she does, she has little chance of making a decent life for herself afterwards. I hate to think what will happen to her children.

Isn’t it funny that when a young girl was charged and was facing possible jail time for pornography charges, which according to the law, she was guilty of, people were rallying behind her, calling for her to be freed? Yet here’s a woman, who in self-defence kills her husband and no one is standing behind her. How many women are going to have to die before we stand up and stop men abusing their wives???

Respect, a perspective on Zambian culture.

Respect…I’m sure many would agree if I said that respect was earned, but this view for me was challenged and has been challenged many times. I used to think myself a very respectful person but every time I think “I’m there”, I’m convicted about seemingly small things be it respect for others or even myself, the call on my life and any number of things.

I remember a vague conversation with one of my brothers (One of the few wise Zimbabweans I know…jokes!)a few years ago and for some reason respect became a topic of discussion. I expressed the view that respect needed to be earned and he didn’t accept that. I was so shocked and asked if he would still respect me if I went around doing things that for some reason or the other are unrespectable. I remember giving an example, possibly something morally “rather –  rather”.

He told me respect was not dependent on whether someone showed themselves to be respectable. That was an “ahhh…” moment for me. I couldn’t argue with him when he asked what the world would be like if everyone disrespected each other because the other person did something unrespectable.

Looking back, I have disrespected the people in my life at one point or the other  and more frequently than anyone else, I’ve disrespected myself at every turn but more importantly every time I show disrespect, for either myself or others, it shows a disregard for God. I disrespect for the Judge who always sees what we do.

There are a few Zambian, more accurately, Bemba sayings that come to mind when I think of respect. One, makes up the words of a very well-known Zambian song…to Zambians, that is. “Mayo wanjebele, uko waya uko, wika tuka ba noko”, which pretty much means, directly translated, my mother told me, where you’re going, don’t insult your mother. Pretty much the meaning is wherever you go, don’t insult your mother or father. It’s a song that calls for us to respect every elder, which is anyone older than you pretty much. The song goes further and says even if a person is a fool, treat them as you would your own parents.

Another saying would be “Kwapa ta cila kubeya” which means, the armpit will never be above the shoulder. My grandmother, loves using this one on me when I complain about her sending me to do something every time my elder sister who’s only a year older than me is around…she just doesn’t seem to send her. Sometimes I can be a nut head! but even when I’m upset with my elder brother and sister…there are things that they don’t tolerate and a lot of the time, I have to submit. And it’s not a case of them “lording it over me” but them making boundaries clear. It should be noted that they are very reasonable individuals who generally respect me too.

Now for many, it might seem like African culture is very “disrespecting” of children, however, I choose to differ. I’m reminded of sayings like “imiti ikula, ee mpanga.” which means, the trees that grow, become forests. This talks about children of today being tomorrow’s leaders. But how does that fit into my argument on respect? Another saying “Amano ya fuma mwi ifwesa, ya ingila mu chulu” which translated is Wisdom went from a mole hill and entered an ant hill much means that a young person can advise the elder. They can give words of wisdom too.

Now, the best way to teach values is to embody them… so what better way is there of teaching a Child, who will one day lead a nation to respect others than to respect them? If a child can offer advice, the person on the receiving end has to respect the vessel from which it is coming for them to value it. And the child who is offering it must do so in a way that recognises that this person they are talking to is older and more experienced and should be given a level of respect too. Without respect and consideration for the other party, we start wars where mere dialogue would have offered a more favourable outcome.

When did the whole world go crazy?

When did the world go crazy?
it seems we are now changing the meanings of things, including legal definition to suit our preferences. Since when did it become fashionable for people to drink till they pass out? Children roam the street late at night, children have no respect for adults or authority and they behave like fools all in the name of rights! We have people who have never had children calling themselves child experts and calling for the change of laws to stop parents disciplining their children. No two children are the same and not all parents are the same. Not every parent is out to harm their child and I think most are discerning enough to know better than the “experts” what is good for their children.

We have taken private intimate acts and put them out for public viewing in the name of  adult entertainment and told our boys that it was okay for men to indulge in pornography and now, as a result, we have raised and are raising men who call themselves “Bitch slayers” and have no respect for women. In a world where it seems people want equality for men and women, isn’t it funny that we then turn around and offer people a commodity that objectifies women and tells men not to respect them? We then give out contraception and condoms to kids and tell them it is okay for them to have sex with whomsoever they choose, when they choose and wherever they choose but are shocked when the age at which children first have sex reduces.

We tell pregnant teens that abortion is okay that “it’s just tissue” but neglect to tell them there is a greater price to pay. How can it be okay to pull a child out of its mother’s womb and before the head exits the womb, puncture the head and suck the brains out? If the child had been born 2 days earlier it would count as a person. So what separates a human being and tissue is whether or not it is wanted or whether or not it exits it’s mother’s womb before it is killed? How can we live with ourselves when we can leave a child to die, alone, crying, in a pile of dirty linen because it was born as a result of a failed abortion? Can that ever be justified? Should a child ever have to pay for our mistakes or those of others? In today’s world it seems a tree has more rights than an unborn child.

In today’s world we compare the fight for homosexual marriage to the civil rights movement of the 50s when the two have nothing in common. People go around killing each other because they don’t agree; people rape homosexuals to get them to go straight, worse still, others burn them. Paedophiles also want a cut in the sexuality debate and so do the polygamists…where do we draw the line if right is only determined by what we feel? Men and women fight to be above the other and in the end both lose out. People walk out of marriages because they have “fallen out of love”, “found someone else”, “come out of the closet” with no regard for the vows they made. In today’s world people’s word counts for nothing and people use “love” as an excuse to follow after selfish desires when deep down it is lust that drives them. Have we forgotten that love is selfless?

Scientists can not explain how they gave evolution “theory” status and yet most defend it as if it were proven fact and treat anyone with a differing view with contempt and a lack of respect. Tolerance…funny how it was never a complement to the tolerated but now has become the word everyone throws around, asking that we accept all world views and yet the minute our views differ from theirs, we become high and mighty and demand they change their “narrow-minded” views. That is the world we live in. Where definitions don’t matter, where truth is relative…

When did the world get this crazy?