The Post newspapers’ continued resilience, despite the closure of its facilities and all other acts of repression from the PF government, is nothing short of heroic resistance.
In one of the rare moments of our post-independence history, we are today witnessing the total mobilization of the whole state apparatus in trying to destroy a media house and even torture or kill its top management.
This is all done for the sake of perpetuating a corrupt and exploitative social-economic system as well protecting a parasitic governing elite from accountability. No wonder there has been celebrations and sighs of relief as soon as the closure of the newspaper was announced.
However, with each day that the newspaper is appearing on the Zambian streets, the desperation of this governing elite is dangerously increasing. Over the coming weeks, we reckon with more offices and residential homes being broken into, computers destroyed or confiscated, vehicles searched and people arrested. The PF government is not satisfied with closing the newspaper premises and switching off the printing press. Its main interest is and will remain the total annihilation of the newspaper. The Post is seen not just as the carrier of “bad news”, but the “bad news in itself”. The PF leadership fears the newspaper more than the opposition political parties. This explains its ruthlessness and total disregard for laws and procedures when dealing with the newspaper.
A number of the socialist great minds, such as Frantz Fanon (in The Wretched of the Earth) and Peter Weiss (in Die Ästhetik des Widerstands in English The Aesthetics of Resistance), teach us about resilience in the midst of violence and repression. Exploitative and violent regimes must be openly resisted. Conformity and passiveness under conditions of violence are in themselves a green light to continued and enhanced oppression. Fighting back has esthetic, psychological and moral value. This is what The Post is demonstrating to all of us. The Post is not seeking for jobs, posturing or fighting for an agenda of its management and employees. The Post does not have an agenda for itself other than the wishes and aspirations of the Zambian masses. This gives it a moral high ground and the stamina for esthetic resilience even under the most difficult situations.
However, the same socialist thinkers also point to a degeneration that takes place under sustained conditions of imposed violence. The Post is losing money, jobs will be lost, property vandalized and so forth. This degeneration will, however, not take away the commitment to the Zambian masses. If anything, the newspaper is learning to manage scarcity and arbitrariness. It is by default pushed into a crash programme on media guerrilla warfare. It will come out of this process smarter and more committed to the cause of the Zambian masses. The PF government may live to regret its ill-conceived actions.