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Echoes by Conway Tutani: If not made for each other, leave each other

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Precipitate action always poses serious dangers.

Echoes with Conway Tutani

I saw this in an acclaimed 1996 American crime film titled Fargo. It’s about a car salesman in deep financial trouble who hires two criminals to kidnap his own wife in order to extort ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It all goes horribly wrong, triggering a chain of events, resulting in the death of his wife at the hands of the kidnappers. This is traced to the man and he is eventually arrested.

He couldn’t have imagined that his apparently straightforward plot could come to this bloody, horrific end. It did not go according to script. There were twists and turns, thickening the plot. The plot was now out of the hands of the plotter. From the very beginning, it was a tragi-comedy of errors. Everything went horribly wrong. Stupid and sad things happened.

This is not to convict radio DJ Munya Milimo, who faces a murder charge along with two other men he had allegedly hired to “deal” with a man who was reportedly having an affair with his estranged wife. But the case reminds me of Fargo, the folly of precipitate action, that is, resorting to hasty reaction without evaluating the consequences. This leads one from the frying pan into the fire. This rashness and lack of forethought can result in one plunging headlong into trouble, serious trouble.

I am certain that DJ Munya is not criminal-minded as such. After all, he does not have a long criminal record, if any at all, as far as I know. Being a public figure, if he was a career criminal, it would have long ago burst into the public domain.

But DJ Munya could have entangled himself in a situation which spun out of control. It’s really a pity that it has had to come to this. Let justice take its course.
That said, it’s not advisable to take the law into your own hands, no matter how aggrieved. A case can turn 360 degrees by taking the law into one’s hands. The victim can instantly become the victimiser. You simply cannot take the law into your own hands – it’s not done. They are channels for grievances to be handled. It cannot be a free-for-all, otherwise chaos would reign, leading to societal collapse and, at the worst, a failed State. People have been jailed for joining lynching mobs killing thieves. Some men are languishing in prison for raping – of all people – prostitutes. Let the due process of law take its course.

If it was done in the name of love, well, one mustn’t become a slave to love, one mustn’t medicate on love to the point of addiction like an alcoholic or drug junkie who is totally blind to everything else to feed his all-consuming habit. I know because I have been down that road before. I know many a man – and woman — who went to an early grave because they took to the bottle after failing to handle a broken relationship and divorce. Life deals us all heartache and pain, but we need to move on and close the chapter.

To give another example from show business, I’ll Do Anything For Love, But I Won’t Do That, goes the title of the 1993 worldwide hit song by American musician Meatloaf. I like the “but I won’t do that” part because it’s an instructive lesson not to completely surrender yourself to anything — such as drugs; or anyone — whether a man or a woman. Indeed, affairs of the heart can lead to blinding jealousy and murderous rage. To protect oneself, don’t completely invest your emotions in someone else. Reserve some – in fact, a lot — for yourself.

There is cheating and deception in this world. Some people play Russian roulette with others’ feelings; that is, any act which, if repeated several times, is likely to have disastrous consequences. Indeed, out there are plentiful femmes fatales — irresistibly attractive women who lead men into danger or disaster. This has been so from time immemorial.

So, you need to have an escape route — that emotional reserve for you and you only. It’s not being cynical, but practical. You need to love yourself first before you can have a healthy, balanced and mature relationship with others. Without that self-esteem, there is a high possibility of having failed relationship after failed relationship.

There is always the danger that a break will erupt in violence without that safety valve, the harmless outlet for emotion. Get it from poor Conway — an amateur psychologist.

I remember my principal at Thekwane High School in Plumtree way back in 1973 telling me: “The only woman you cannot replace in your life is your mother.” Not that he was chauvinistic, sexist or unfeeling. He was a church minister from England, a most kind, urbane and sensitive soul, not one of those cynical characters who are contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives. I found that really instructive and constructive coming from a person from a vastly different cultural background. Equally, it can be said to women: “The only man you cannot replace in your life is your father.”

If you are not made for each other, leave each other — that’s practical and safe.

ctutani@newsday.co.zw

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