HomeOpinion & AnalysisEric Bloch: Perhaps History Does Repeat

Eric Bloch: Perhaps History Does Repeat

A STORY is currently doing the rounds, with pronounced biblical shades. Can it have foundations in truth, with history repeating itself?

“In the year 2009, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in Zimbabwe, and said: ‘Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see the end of all flesh before me, for such wickedness cannot, and shall not, continue. Therefore, Noah, thou shalt build another Ark, and save two of every living thing, be it bird or beast, along with a few good humans.’

“He gave Noah the plans, saying: ‘You have six months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for forty days and forty nights. Make thee an ark of Zimbabwean timber; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and the length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its breadth shall be fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Build the ark with haste, for you have only six months before I shall release the flood and obliterate earth’s evil.’

“Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah in his yard, in very great distress, weeping intensely with great tears pouring from his eyes, but the Lord could not see an ark. ‘Noah!’ He roared, ‘I’m about to start the rain. Where is the Ark?’. ‘Forgive me, Lord’, begged Noah, ‘but things have changed.’”

“‘I could not begin to construct the Ark without a building permit. I’ve been arguing with the inspectorate about the need for a sprinkler system in the Ark. Further, my neighbours claim that I’ve violated the neighbourhood zoning laws by building the Ark in my yard, and exceeding the height limitations. I had to go to the city council, and to the Local Government ministry for a decision, and the weeks and weeks went by, despite the absolute urgency of the matter.’

‘“Then Zesa demanded a deposit, far beyond my means, for its future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark’s move to the sea. I told Zesa that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it. Getting the wood was another problem.

 

There’s a ban on cutting local trees, without governmental consent, because the Environment ministry says that it will upset the balance of Zimbabwe’s ecological system. Although I very promptly made the necessary application, in triplicate, and paid the massive application fees, in United States dollars, and have repeatedly enquired of the ministry, I still await the wood cutting permit. I have tried to convince the ministry that I need the wood to save us all from extinction — but no go!’

“‘When I started getting the animals, the SPCA prosecuted me. The Zimbabwe Republic Police insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued that the accommodation is too restrictive, and that it is cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space.

 

And then the Transport ministry said that it would take six months after completion of the Ark to plan a route to the sea. I told them that that was not necessary, for the sea would be coming to my back yard. They threatened to have me committed!

 

Then the Environment department intervened yet again, ruling that I couldn’t build the Ark until I had arranged and conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood.’

“‘I am also still trying to resolve a complaint and demand of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment ministry on how many affirmative action persons must be included in the Ark building crew.

 

And the Home Affairs ministry insists that I provide a list of the people who want to work on the Ark, so that it can be verified that they are not from non-designated groups.

 

Moreover, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), and the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU), in a rare instance of collaboration, are insisting that I hire only union workers with Ark-building experience, paying them wages based upon the Poverty Datum Line (PDL), even though I don’t have sufficient funds to pay such wages.’

‘“To make matters worse, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has seized all my assets, claiming that I am trying to leave the country illegally, with the national wealth of endangered species, and without tax clearance. And the CIO and the Politburo claim that your instructions to me are naught but a diabolical scheme to bring about regime change, a plan to dispossess Zimbabweans of their lands and their rights, and to recolonise Zimbabwe, so they have raised endless obstacles to my constructing the Ark.’

‘“So, please, please forgive me, Lord, but it will take at least ten years for me to finish the Ark that you want me to build, and with the never-ending hurdles constructed by the authorities, the inordinately great bureaucracy and red-tape, and intensely great governmental authoritorism, it might take very much longer.’

“Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a magnificent rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and amazement, and then he asked: ‘You mean that you are not going to destroy the world?’

“‘No,’ said the Lord. ‘The Zimbabwe government has beaten me to it.’”

 

Eric Bloch

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