(Last Updated on July 24, 2013 by Editor)
Anyone who has read Harry Porter novels will understand the narrative misdirection that MDC-T sympathisers are feeding the Zimbabwean people. JK Rowling has employed it in each of her books to create the impression in the reader’s mind that they have a good idea of what is going on when really all they have is Harry’s view. Harry is a little slow, thus his perspective is quite a restricted one. We find out about this at the end of every book when circumstances reveal all the mistakes Harry made in judgment, often from lack of information or just misunderstanding and neglecting clues on the periphery of his vision. This slap-in-the-forehead revelation confounds not just the reader but the protagonist Harry himself.
The characters in the Harry Porter books also practise narrative misdirection, for example, Voldemort in Chamber of Secrets where he used his diary presentation of Hagrid-as-Heir-of-Gryffindor for that purpose, and again in Order of the Phoenix where he convinces the wizard world of what they want to believe — that he isn’t back, when he is clearly in front of them. This is the world of make-believe, we love it. What’s life without hyperbole? The fact that the readers see almost everything through Harry’s eyes is what keeps them fooled. They only know that they were being fooled at the end. The reader of Harry Porter forgets that they are reading Harry’s restricted thoughts, not seeing the story from the objective narrator. It is all too easy to be tricked.
The point is, that people aren’t what they seem. That people can be playing other people using, in Harry Porter’s case, Polyjuice Potion, of course, only makes it that much more important that we be sceptical about what we think we know and that we try to be “penetrating” in our reading and experience of others. Accomplished writers know that this virtue of mind, penetration, is the end and aim of thoughtful reading. But are we with them? I am. We’re nothing if we’re not neptic, right?
In Orthodox Christian theology, nepsis is watchfulness, is sobriety; but it does not come cheap. It is a result of sustained carthasis or purification and purgation of emotions. When we become neptic, we can hear and not feel because we have already felt. Our tragedy allows us to overcome fear and anxiety because we have gone through some form of carthasis.
Zimbabweans over the last decade in particular have gone through some form of carthasis and have become neptic. Thanks to the raft of illegal sanctions and the dysfunctionality of the inclusive Government or that three-headed monster that could easily form the subject of Harry Porter’s wizardry. No amount of spin or narrative misdirection on the Zimbabwean story can transfix us anymore into the hypnotic state that we experience through reading Harry Porter, or any other wizardry script. In that light, it is difficult to threaten us or call our emotions in a manner that is reminiscent of 2008 as the MDCs are trying to do — filled with cholera images, images of hunger and starvation, of bucket loads of cash. Because we hit rock bottom in 2008, carthasised and emerged somewhat triumphantly, and because we now know the sources of those troubles, we can no longer feed on the 2008 narrative, the narrative of hunger, that we will all die if the MDC-T is not voted into power. Cholera has come and gone, without the lifting of sanctions, it can’t come worse than it did in 2007. Our people have carthasised and are now neptic. Simply put, they have moved on from the political narrative of hunger and now focus on nation-building and ownership of the means of production.