Friday, April 27, 2012

Long Live The Union

Historical Signing Between Zanzibar and Tanganyika
I love being Tanzanian. I love being called Tanzanian. I love being Tanzanian of the Zanzibari descent.
As a young Zanzibari in this union, I am confused at this sudden surge and popular belief to end the union,
end the union today, end the union tomorrow, end the oppression, set all the Zanzibari free.
They claim that the foundation of this beautiful nation is flawed, the very principles that this country's been
founded on cannot be counted on in this time of confusion.
What an illusion we have been handed down, misused and lost our trust too many times,
been captured, enslaved, dominated under a different rule another reign every time,
So I'm pissed because for some odd reason people think that there is an easy solution,
what was so cleverly hidden is now in plain vision for all to see,
because some forty odd years on is enough time to make an evaluation,
is this union only a nasty-favouring-the-mainland-only-depressing-Zanzibar-development-situation?

I get confused when they tell me I am opressed and I am supposed to support the sovereignity of Zanzibar,
to stand alone, proud and strong above the rest, yet this is what I have always known,
How can I say that I want to be a free Zanzibari when all I know is how to be Tanzanian,
I was born, raised, educated in this union, it is all I know, because I am a proud Tanzanian,
I don't know what its like to be Zanzibari only, if my great grandfathers were a free Zanzibaris
how come they agreed on the union so quickly after Zanzibar was free?
Don't tell me that agreement was only entered due to presidential decree,
because if we as a nation put him in power, then are all partially responsible for this chaos.
The Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar which led to the establishment of Tanzania,
as a united republic which was consummated at the height of cold war.

Because if we really want to go back, lets go all the way back,
because after the Zanzibar revolution in January 1964, there were fears in the West,
that Zanzibar will become another Cuba, the Western powers were determined to prevent,
that the revolution was communist-inspired and feared if Zanzibar consolidated their position,
they would pose a threat to Western interests in the region,
because of their friendly ties to the communist bloc, the Americans and other westners
feared that the island nation would serve as a springboard for launching communist penetration in Africa,
it was during this bitter rivalry that the union was formed, what inspired the merger?
Was it the union formed by leaders of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in the pursuit of African Unity?
Or did the interests of Western powers coincide with those of the national leaders unconciously,
creating favourable conditions for consummating the union, leaving all parties satisfied??
Would it have been formed if the revolution of Zanzibar had back-fired?
Or would the two countries have united anyway due to cultural or other basis?

I am not wholly against the union, I am Tanzanian born and raised,
I have to admit that it comes in handy, and we do find refuge in vast space,
but when we try to blame the union for the lack of opportunities, and jobs for the poor,
we forget how we surrendered our own seat at the United Nation for the benefit of this nation,
so we blame the mainland for lying, stealing and cheating us so repeatedly,
If they do us so wrong why do we just stand there and take it?
If the union is the leader of inequality, suffering and grieving, how come
no one wants to stay in Zanzibar everyone is leaving?
Because if this union is so bad, why don't we try to be fair and  look at the other side of the coin?
What will happen when all the wonderful Zanzibari businessmen in Kariakoo get asked to go back home?
Our heritage is right here, right now, no matter what the hell they may say,
and alot of people died to make it that way.

We are so attached to finding faults, to proportioning the blame,
because if we were asked what have we done with the semi-sovereignty what will we answer then?
We are a world-class tourist destination, the service that oils our economy,
yet we give all the big investors, companies, and hotels a big tax holiday.
Yes the union is not complete, it touches a few things, like the defence, police, immigration,
external trade and borrowing, citizenship and harbors, and other external affairs.
Do we blame the union for the state of our down trodden and poor,
we have no factories, something as simple as a small pin has to be imported?
so does it stand true that we abhor the union but agree to the Chinese dumping of their products?
Is that it, we have a brilliant double standard? It is wrong for the mainland but okay for the donors?
What will we do when we are left to stand alone when we are so used to being carried,
What have we done that can really be referenced to us alone? In this post-revolution generation?
There is already a division here, Waunguja and Wapemba, and now the trending thing is,
to define ourselves by what our tribes used to be, glorifying our ties to the Arabs,
Do we want to divide the union so that another dominator can only fill that space?
Or is history so wrong, and there is no way that it will repeat itself?

If we really want to change things, lets get to the polls, lets do more to be involved,
God knows we have earned the right, we are ruled under this dominion but we all have our own opinions,
So rather than move on in progress, we are dwelling in the past,
We've struggled too long, we have come too far,
So instead of focusing who we were, let's be proud of we are,
If you choose to be a just a free Zanzibari, away from union the union, that's your preference,
what are you willing to do to get that reference? If we are squabbling on this union,
what will happen when we are part of a bigger thing, like the African Community becomes our dominion?
I know on this issue I don't stand alone and if I do, then let me be
and I'd appreciate it when you see me and say, there goes a Zanzibari woman,
who says it loud, that in this confusion, there needs to be more explanation,
so until then I am Tanzanian and proud, I love being part of this wonderful nation,
and yeah I said it I am not taking it back.

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