DAVID Hume, a 17th century thinker, said human beings were creatures of passion or feelings and not reason. Our understanding of the social world, he argued, is based on human interests than reason.
Others like Immanuel Kant believed that what made human beings human was their capacity for moral choice.
The recent death of 10 innocent Zimbabweans while fighting a wild fire at Rose Farm, Lot 43 in Esigodini, both defies and vindicates Kant’s belief in humanity.
The fire that has so far destroyed 384 hectares of land is still spreading, and is widely believed to have been started by illegal gold miners who clear land without any care for the environment.
These illegal miners put their interests above reason. They are creatures of passion who have no capacity for moral choice.
The 10 fallen heroes, on the other hand, made a moral choice to save fellow humans, livestock, wildlife, the environment, crops and property.
They are creatures of reason.
Said Deputy Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Barbara Rwodzi when she visited their families: “It’s a dark cloud today, that is hovering over the environmental sector and the country at large, following the tragedy and tragic demise of 10 environmental heroes as we are calling them today. They are heroes because they had availed to take out the fire to save the environment and save other people’s lives, crops and animals.”
The 10 environmental heroes are Oliver Mudimba (39) of Binga, Kessary Sibanda (53) of Marula in Figtree, Ian Mudimba (38), Simon Mdlongwa (39), Nelisingwane Dlamini (47) of GMB Esigodini, Luzibo Tshuma of Chiziya Malundu Village in Binga, Bafana Moyo (53) of Dimbamiwa Village in Nkayi, England Moyo (20) of Nketa 8 in Bulawayo, Thabani Mpofu (46) of Gwelutshena Village in Nkayi and Menelisi Ngwenya (20) of Mandangema Village in Nkayi.
These names should forever be remembered and honoured. Their bearers proved what makes human beings human.
The evil people who caused the fire, if indeed they exist, should be found and punished until they know how to make moral choices.
As the President said in his condolence message yesterday, veld fires have become a real threat to life and property.
“A new national strategy is now needed to minimise this growing menace whose risk increases by the day until we get our first rains for the summer season. Both the ministry in charge of our environment, and our Civil Protection Department have to urgently get together so a comprehensive response to veld fires is developed across all provinces,” said the President.
The growing menace of veld fires across the country speaks volumes about the type of people we are.
The stats revealed by Deputy Minister Rwodzi yesterday are shocking. A 58 percent increase in veld fires this year and an increase in deaths.
“Last year, there were 3 400 fires . . . but this year, from July to date, there have been 5 300 fires so far and each fire is averagely burning 230 hectares. This is a total of 1,2 million hectares and the season has not ended. Last year we lost 784 700 hectares between July and November,” said Deputy Minister Rwodzi.
We leave Zimbabweans with one question: If our morality was to be measured by the intensity of veld fires, where would we stand?
Article Source: The Chronicle