FLIPSIDE — by Chris Jacobie
THE images of thousands of people trampling and fleeing Afghanistan after the sudden withdrawal of America is haunting and tragic and a reminder of the real innocent victims of every war.
When the sun rises on Heroes Day tomorrow, Namibians should remind themselves of their own democracy and acts of heroism of the past 31 years.
The fierce warriors from all sides in Namibia’s bush war are still marching relentlessly on the road to freedom.
What Namibians are seeing in Kabul, are hastily constructed refugee camps. Some Namibians were eyewitnesses to and residents of such camps, not too long ago.
It is a pity that the absurd minorities have no memory of Namibia’s history.
It was wiped out by entitlement and education without common sense.
In 1988 and 1989 train loads and convoys of South Africans withdrew from Namibia, and citizens were lining the streets, not knowing what the next day might bring.
There was fear and propaganda of retribution for those collaborators, families and communities were ripped apart.
Thousands of Koevoet-soldiers departed via train and busloads to South Africa from the northern frontier war regions. The San soldiers of the then Western-Caprivi, and Eastern-Kavango and Tsumkwe bases were relocated to South Africa with some of the Riemvasmakers also pulling up pegs to leave for South Africa.
Bagani, Dividundu and Babwata were depopulated with those being shifted to Pomfret in the Northern Cape. Their disbandment is still a topic of much bitterness and only the hundreds of graves vandalised by elephants and other wildlife remain as a sad reminder of bloody battles on the southern African savannah.
Thousands of officials and personnel of the South African Government left in their wake but crept back in November of 1989 to vote in Karasburg, Noordoewer and Ariamsvlei only to leave again the next day.
It is painful to experience the memory loss of sacrifices for peace when close to 400 of Namibia’s best young men on all sides were killed in a fight for survival on the eve of elections and independence.
If Namibians cast their gaze south from the highest points of the city, they will observe the Founding Father Dr Sam Nujoma in front of the Independence Museum, holding the contract of peace and dignity, and just a short distance further to the south, they will see Heroes’ Acre where mostly fighters for freedom before and after 21 March 1990 found their final resting place amongst their peers.
On the blood-soaked and unforgiving battlefields of southern Angola, Zambia and Namibia, communities are still treading softly for hidden landmines and find graves where they put up headstones in remembrance.
Those who complain about Covid-19 lockdown hours should spare a thought for a Namibia where, until recently martial law and the threat of death locked down communities, villages, and towns from sunset to sunrise.
When Afghan refugees jump from aeroplanes and plunge to a desperate death, Namibians must hail their heroes, who for three decades, kept their fingers from triggers and their eyes on constitutional democracy which is a product of Namibians who decided to remain, to trust, to hope, and to work on building the nation.
Namibians have much to be thankful for and much more to admire on Heroes Day.
The guns were laid down and the flame of freedom and progress was picked up.
Those are the new and resilient heroes that the Nujoma, Pohamba, and Geingob-legacy represents.
When the backbone of a nation is strong it will march through the valleys of setbacks that are encountered along the way.
Because it is a nation of heroes.
When the sad note of the bugle sounds for those that departed from battlefields, Namibians must heed the call to march towards prosperity and nationhood.