You can’t take it with you 


By Black Edward


COVID-19 has made words like “self-isolate” and “new variant” common as numbers of daily infections and deaths rise sharply indicating that the severity of the pandemic is far from over. 

The virus has brutally reminded us that life is indeed short. We don’t know exactly what tomorrow holds for us. In fact we wonder if we will live to see tomorrow.

We also don’t know if we’ll be relatively healthy until the end or require hospitalisation.

However, the coronavirus has taught most of us to re-evaluate our perspective of patriotism and come up with new considerations.

We’ve realised that we’re part of a society and as members of a society we all have a responsibility to improve the state of our country during our lifetime.

We need to pay attention to fellow citizens, and try to find ways to assist them using our skills or wealth. We can definitely do things that will benefit our society in the long run.

Generally, patriotism means love of one’s country or nation and is regarded as one of the oldest political virtues.

We are told that it is more emotional than rational.

But patriotism should be more than just an emotion. It should be about national pride and what we want to be remembered for.

It should be about selflessness and about dedication to serving others. For true patriots, that means actively participating in what makes Zimbabwe successful.

“…we should be remembered for the things we do.

“The things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honour heroes after they’ve died.

“They’re like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honour the Pharaohs. Only instead of being made out of stone, they’re made out of the memories people have of you…” says author RJ Palacio.

I see no reason why we shouldn’t be remembered — or rather why we shouldn’t be known — for playing a positive role in lifting citizens up, not for putting them down.

So the shock and disbelief is hard to bear when we hear reports of large amounts of money being found (and later disappearing) in some homes of fellow Zimbabweans following their deaths.

How do they feel, on their deathbed, knowing that they have piles of cash that they’re hiding — say in the ceiling — which they won’t take with them.

Having a bundle intact somewhere while on the deathbed surely adds to one’s misery.

It is like robbing ourselves of the ultimate joy of feeling proud to leave a legacy behind when we realise that the money could have been used to sponsor some scientific research, donated to charities or given away for good purposes to improve situations and living conditions…

There is nothing worse than dying with millions of dollars stashed in pillows or foreign countries — money that could have saved you and your compatriots, money that would have made a difference in your country.

But, now upon taking your final breath, it remains behind perhaps to be destroyed by rats in the ceiling.

Wouldn’t it be more fulfilling that as you lie on your deathbed, you know you are certainly going to be missed and remembered for your good deeds?

We know that the coronavirus affects everyone; it doesn’t distinguish between rich and poor.

So, when the rich in other countries build health facilities for the poor they are, in a way, protecting themselves.

The millions of dollars they spend on the facilities are not being wasted but being put to good use.

Simply put, it’s an investment in their health and that of their fellow countrymen. Your family cannot be completely safe from coronavirus when your neighbours are infected.

Well, this is why we see some people in these countries making monetary donations to Covid-19 pandemic-related causes. Others give money anonymously.

Some citizens also make non-monetary contributions. We should take a leaf out of their book and boost our own country one-way or the other.

Yes, we need scientific breakthroughs in our corona battle but most importantly we need patriotism.

Embracing patriotism gives us a chance to contribute to the well being of future generations.

Thinking about the future can help us lead more generous lives. Of course, thinking about the future can trigger anxiety— but it can also make our lives more meaningful.

But hey, patriotism does not mean blindly following leaders or their policies if one disagrees with them.

It actually supports having rational discussions about the issues facing the country and the best ways to solve them.

And here is food for thought — it’s likely going to be just one of two feelings that we will be left with on our deathbed: that of achievement or of shame. What’s it going to be for you?

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