How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Stanley Kubrick’s classic film comes to mind all these years later. It’s about psychotic leaders hurling us towards disaster in the Cold War era.

In Kubrick’s script, how to love the bomb is knowing the insanity of the protagonists and that nothing will change them. Stand aside Peter Sellers and George C. Scott.  Many current leaders are available for any re-make of Kubrick’s tragicomic masterpiece, Putin and Netanyahu are at the top of the list.

A mad world lurks out there and if we think getting bombed on Prozac and happy drugs can ease our worries, it’s not that simple. It’s not a good idea either to drown our sorrows in drink because sorrows have learnt how to swim.

Inside Harare’s main Post Office the scene is post-apocalyptic  – shattered glass, lighting broken, paint peeling, dark stains, decay all over.

The inimitable Peter Sellers in three roles: Air force Capt. Lionel Mandrake, US President Merkin Muffley and Strangelove himself.

Corruption and our cash crunch in Zimbabwe have waved goodbye to the postman’s deliveries and closed branch offices. The old British-red postbox outside my neighbourhood shops only receives discarded, crunched-up after-purchase till slips through its insolent mouth.

The GPO’s central business district is a nightmarish cacophony of congestion, traffic-jammed cars and the hooting of illegal kombi taxis emitting nuclear fumes, accompanied by the mayhem caused by street vendors whose goods block every path, bag snatchers, thieves, parking touts, beggars and street kids.

Barbours, several storeys and once our own proud Harrods department store, is now a flea market re-named Galaxy Mall.  Dirty streets and dangerously broken pedestrian pavings are spangled with proliferating fast food joints, electronics booths, stinky hairdressing cubby holes and barrows of cheap knick-knacks, fruit and veg and Pepsi Colas on ice. Parts of the CBD are “less bad” than others.

Big business has left the CBD for the suburbs, just like it happened Down South in Joburg.

Sometimes it is tempting to say it’s high time Harare shed its former staid Britishness to become a truly African city? Like Lagos. Like Nairobi. No. Impressive new luxury villas and town houses being built in suburbia by the political elite are just as mind-blowing as the chaos in the CBD when the plagues of worsening poverty, hunger and unemployment persist beyond measure.

How to stop worrying and love the bomb. First, know there are things we have no power to change. Second, love and laugh like there’s no tomorrow. Life is finite.

BELOW: Our bombed economy and the endless hokey-pokey over money as parodied by the admirable Zimbabwe Daily. Previous attempts to rein in exchange rates have failed. It’s not politics, stupid. It’s market forces rule the roost in the end.

(ZiG = cryptocurrency. RTGS = local dollars known as Real Time Gross Settlements.)

Another Stanley Kubrick masterpiece. “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Opening theme music ‘Thus spoke Zarathustra.’

3 Responses

  1. Andy says:

    Vivid and accurate description of the decaying disaster that is Harare’s CBD today. Thanks… Never mind Dr Strangelove…we’ve got our very own horror show!

  2. allen pizzey says:

    Having known what it was and seen the the hopes that sprang at the end of the war like grass when the rains come that post all but breaks my heart.

  3. Susan says:

    Angus, this report is graphically awesome & awful. What a reality. But thank you for your vision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *