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Hitting Mugabe’s Murderous Regime for Six

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Sekai Holland is a grandmother. At 64, and at first glance (and ignoring the walking frame), you'd think she'd be most comfortable playing with the grandkids, chinwagging with the neighbours over the back fence or settling down in front of the telly with a nice cup of tea and a piece of cake.

Well, not this grandma. Her forte is taking on the "secret police" of one of the world's greatest despots: Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. It was a decision that almost cost her life. After a prayer meeting and pro-democracy rally in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare on March 11, Mrs Holland, the courageous policy secretary for Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change, was dragged away with some of her compatriots for questioning by Mugabe's thugs.

What followed was a travesty made all the worse by her age: she was tortured for seven hours, flogged at least 81 times with a rhinocerous hide whip, and bashed so hard with an iron bar her abusers shattered one of her knees, broke her left arm, her left leg, and three ribs. She was accused of being "a lover of white men" (her husband, Jim, is Australian) and "Tony Blair's whore". But the best was yet to come.

A female member of the secret police stomped on Mrs Holland with spiked boots. The mauling from this was so severe, she required skin grafts to repair the damage. She didn't get them straight away, though. Despite her agony, the Zimbabwean government refused to allow any of those arrested and bashed at the rally to receive medical treatment. Only diplomatic representation by the Australian Government secured her release, likely only granted because the Australian cricket team had a tour scheduled there for later this year.

The Hollands fled to neighbouring South Africa, where her story had elicited much concern, and Mrs Holland finally received her skin grafts. Last week, the couple flew back to Australia and Mrs Holland – who says she will nevertheless return to Harare to continue the fight – now remains in hospital undergoing rehabilitation for her injuries.

The upshot: this week, the Australian Government held up her plight as a classic example of why it decided over the weekend to stop Cricket Australia, flush with success and with dollar signs seemingly clouding its vision after Australia's recent victory at the World Cup, from going ahead with the planned tour to Zimbabwe.

The government had been urging CA to pull out, but under the terms of their International Cricket Council contract, they would be liable to a heavy fine if they did. But under the agreed code of the game, if a government decided to ban its players from a tour the fine would be waived by the ICC. The Government duly came to the party. CA got their out, and the right-wing Liberal Party Prime Minister John Howard, who is staring down the barrel of a federal election defeat at the hands of Labor's Kevin Rudd later this year on the back of his unpopular and draconian industrial relations policies, for once did the right thing.

Despite the usual whining about the need to separate sport and politics (remember apartheid?) and the predictable counter-claim by Mugabe that the Australian government was racist for cancelling the tour, the decision to abandon it was widely seen around the world as a victory against a murderous thug who is somehow hanging onto power by the skin of teeth after destroying Zimbabwe's economy and ruining its capacity to produce food in any quantity after forcibly removing farmers (white and black) from their properties and handing them over to his cronies.

Zimbabwe was once the food bowl of Africa. It fed and employed millions across the continent. Today, it is can barely feed itself. Inflation now runs at nearly 1700 percent, and nine out of 10 Zimbabweans are unemployed. Mugabe and his thugs haven't suffered, though. They live nicely in their barbed-wire compounds, while a quarter of the country's children are AIDS orphans. Violence is commomplace on the streets of Harare, and for many Zimbabweans, it's become the only way to put food on the table.

A subsequent proposed deal by CA to play the matches at a neutral venue was rejected by Zimbabwe, and for her part, Mrs Holland is pleased with the outcome. She told Sydney's The Daily Telegraph this week: "It's the right decision, and Mr Howard and Mr Downer (the Australian Foreign Minister who led the push to cancel the tour) should be congratulated … they have consistently supported democracy in Zimbabwe and Mugabe will suffer for it. Did you hear Mugabe going on about Australia being racist? It might only be a game of cricket but it is the sort of action that hurts him.''

The decision didn't go unnoticed in Britain, either, where the government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair has shown a marked reluctance to criticise too harshly the regime of Mugabe's brutal Zanu-PF party. Absurdly, Blair has even suggested that Zimbabwe's government should be represented at the coming EU-Africa summit in Portugal later this year.

No doubt Blair's thinking is on humanitarian lines, but there is also no doubt Britain's guilt over its colonial role in Rhodesia plays a part in British thinking and stops it sometimes from acknowledging the truth about Zimbabwe. Even more absurd is that Mugabe is only there because the British government went out of its way to bring an end to white post-colonial rule in Rhodesia and install Mugabe as Zimbabwe's president. His promise to bring the country an inclusive, multi-cultural/multi-racial style of government like that of South Africa's never enventuated, and in latter years the violence against his own people has grown steadily worse. Of late, it's been so bad, there have been calls within South Africa – even among prominent blacks who at one time supported him – to intervene.

Melanie Phillips, of London's The Daily Mail, suggesting that Howard and Australians generally are not encumbered by such needless notions of colonial guilt, wrote this week: "In such a morally degraded world, John Howard's initiative is so rare as to be absolutely startling … this confident outspokeness derives from a quality that is rare in Western leaders – being entirely comfortable in his own cultural skin.

" … he believes in Australia and its Western values. He thinks these values are superior to any alternatives and it is this total absence of equivocation in upholding the national interest which explains his robust defence of both Australian identity and Western civilisation against attack.''

Whatever anyone thinks of Howard's divisive politics at home, his thinking on this, without doubt, is to deny what he has called the "appalling regime" of Mugabe a propaganda victory by having the world's top cricket team touring his country. It is confrontation with purpose, and he has not minced words in the past about Zimbabwe's litany of internal terror.

And for those who think cancelling a cricket tour is a bizarre way of expressing displeasure, there's another twist: Howard, a short, bespectacled and unlikely looking politician once described by George W.Bush as a "man of steel" (to much tittering in Australia), is also a self-confessed "cricket tragic". So much so, he once suggested that part of a test for Australian citizenship should be a set of Aussie-values questions that included the legendary Sir Donald Bradman's batting average (an answer most born-and-bred Aussies don't know off the top of their heads).

As a result, Howard is well aware that the path he's on with this is well-trodden. Andy Flower and Henry Olonga, two of Zimbabwe's top cricketers, had their team wear black armbands at the 2003 World Cup to "mourn the death of democracy" in their country, a move that took a ton of courage. This year, after the suspicious hotel-room death of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer, all World Cup teams were asked to wear them, which probably gave the Zimbabweans the best excuse they've ever had to stick on an armband. In the past few years, the national selection policy in Zimbabwe has been of a racist character, with many of its top white players – and black players who opposed Mugabe's policies – excluded from the side.

So it must irk Mugabe that once again, it's cricket, the country's second national sport after soccer, that has propelled the horror of life in in his country back into international headlines – and even worse, that it was Howard once again who hit him for six and completed the humiliation by raising a finger to send him skulking red-faced back to the sheds for another well-deserved duck – and all while the world watched.

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  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Great article, Stan. One would almost wish that now that it has become so clear what a terrible policy it was to put Mugabe in charge of Zimbabwe, the Brits and their allies would perhaps accept responsibility for their past bad decisions and do something about him. Something more substantive than just annoying him with cancelled cricket matches, anyway.

    Dave

  • Dr Dreadful

    What would you have us do, Dave? We’ve tried sanctions, we’ve tried diplomacy, we’ve tried the UN, we’ve tried encouraging dissent. Those arrows just bounce off him, unfortunately. I hope you’re not suggesting we invade, especially considering how well that worked out with regard to the nation formerly known as the Babylonian Empire.

    Back in the days of apartheid we could possibly have sicced South Africa on them, I suppose, but they’re just not interested any more.

    It didn’t help that Zimbabwe’s independence came long before Mandela was released from prison, so we had no yardstick by which to gauge that Mugabe was not a messiah but a foaming psychopath. He wasn’t so bad back then, either. Pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes.

    We have to accept that Zimbabwe is a sovereign nation and they – and we – are probably stuck with the bastard until he pops his clogs, which hopefully won’t be too much longer.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    What would you have us do, Dave? We’ve tried sanctions, we’ve tried diplomacy, we’ve tried the UN, we’ve tried encouraging dissent. Those arrows just bounce off him, unfortunately. I hope you’re not suggesting we invade, especially considering how well that worked out with regard to the nation formerly known as the Babylonian Empire.

    We could just assassinate Mugabe and then if the next guy isn’t better we could whack him too. Or we could kidnap him and put him on trial in an international court and do the same to the next guy and so on until they get someone decent into power. And yes, at that point some UN peacekeepers might have to go in there, but I doubt it would be anything like Iraq. And, in fact, Iraq wouldn’t be like it is now if we’d just snatched or killed Saddam and let it sort itself out, sending in peacekeepers when it got our of hand. The problem in Iraq isn’t the civil war, it’s that we’re stuck babysitting them.

    We have to accept that Zimbabwe is a sovereign nation and they – and we – are probably stuck with the bastard until he pops his clogs, which hopefully won’t be too much longer.

    As I’ve said before, oppressive governments forfeit their claim to be the guardians of their nation’s sovereignty.

    Dave

  • STM

    It’s actually all the little things – like cancelled cricket tours – that chip away at mugabe’s sense of comfort. I agree with Doc up to a point: you can’t just go steaming in there now and say, “right, you’re buggered”. They guy is getting very old, and in reality won’t be around much longer. Possibly, that is the opportunity for the implementation of change.

    My tip is that South Africa will eventually intervene when the whole thing goes totally pear-shaped, and ask for a UN peace-keeping force. Britain, BTW, would probably be welcomed by the bulk of the population of Zimbabwe as liberators if they did it, but with all the post-colonial angst, it won’t happen.

  • Zedd

    Mugabe is a nut and should not have ever have been placed as President by the Zimbabwean people. Not Britain Dave. The problem is the Zimbabwean constitution. They need to limit terms.

    The economy in Zimbabwe is because of the isolation that they have received by the world. Lets not apply false cause.

    Britain caused the issue of Whites being attacked in Zimbabwe. Because they pretended to know nothing about it, the Mugabe regime became even more convinced that they were evil and that White governments wanted to manipulate the world, as they should have in that instance. It is that instance that caused the snow ball affect which Zimbabwe now finds itself.

    Its always nice to have a villain but lets face the complete truth and understand the causes for a situation else those events will revisit us.

  • STM

    “The economy in Zimbabwe is because of the isolation that they have received by the world. Lets not apply false cause.”

    Zedd, that is patent nonsense. It’s because of dreadful mismanagement by Mugabe’s regime. Before the farmers – black and white, and all their employees – were removed from their farms and the farms handed over to Mugabe’s cronies (hardly any of whom were farmers, BTW), Zimbabwe fed much of Africa. Forget drought, too – they’d had them before, and it hadn’t made a lot of difference. The key issue is the policies of mugabe, and right now, any talk of me not knowing the reasons just doesn’t wash with me. I do know them. I also know Mugabe is a mass murderer who doesn’t care for his own people. He was handed a jewel, and his megalomania, his corruption, his rule by violence and his cronyism turned that jewel into a stone. Zimababwe is NOT a democracy.

    I agree with a lot of what you say in regard to Southern Africa, but on this question I don’t. Even many balck American radicals are addressing this question now without going back to the roots of dissent and anger towards the white population, because it is now no longer relevent in view of the current events.

    Your own people are dying on the streets there Zedd, while Mugabe’s cronies live the high life. Don’t be seduced into trying to apportion blame anywhere than where it should really exist.

  • Zedd

    STM

    Hitting Zimbabwe in any way is useless. Mugabe is not personally affected. He is going to die soon. He will die rich and powerful. Creating suffering of any kind to the Zimbabwean people is just cruel and vindictive. All of those Zims and South Africans in Australia just want to stick it to these countries that are now ruled by darkies. They predicted their demise and they want to make sure that it happens well. Their evils somehow can be justified if they demonize this regime. Attacks on Zimbabwe have nothing to do with Mugabe. He doesn’t feel any of the pain. Britain and the ex pats, the greatest campainers against Zimbabwe, would rather see these people starve and suffer unjustifiably in order to seem right.

    How is boycotting the Zimbabwean cricket team going to change MUGABE?

    What this woman went through, evil as it is, the Rhodesians did regularly to Blacks without international outrage. Give me a break.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    And don’t forget that foreign aid money sent to Zimbabwe ends up in Mugabe’s bank account in the Grand Caymans and any food aid gets sold on the black market and Mugabe pockets that money too. That kind of thing tends to discourage aid from the west.

    Dave

  • STM

    Yawn … same old tarnished racist line from Zedd. If there hadn’t been any international outrage, it’d still be called Rhodesia and the4 capital would be Salisbury.

    Give ME a break. You are starting to get really boring with your inability to see beyoind your own clouded version of history. Yes, we know all the other stuff is true.

    This woman’s treatment isn’t an isolated incident, though. There were 70 other people arrested with her. Remember Mugabe’s silencing of opposition in Matabeleland, too, Zedd. Genocide.

  • Zedd

    STM

    I have always contended that Mugabe is a horrible ruler. He was horrible before becoming a ruler. However you cant tell half a story. In order to understand the dynamics you have to explore the entire tale. Perhaps you don’t know the full story?

    Its so silly for journalists to want to make things fit this simple good guys vs bad guys formula when real human experiences don’t work like that EVER. Is it the frustrated novelist syndrome? Historians will get it right years from now, but you guys just take the simplistic approach to report on the world today and THAT is problematic imo. That sort of reporting exacerbates criminal activity. People who are categorised as white hat wearers get away to eminence crime because of reckless and lazy reporting in most cases.

    Had the media not be wrapped in the flag in this country we would not have set foot in Iraq. When dealing with non Europeans its so easy to draw whatever conclusions that have been relayed by any nut case who happens to be of European decent. Checking the facts in detail becomes irrelevant and people die.

    My first husband was Zimbabwean. I was aware of Mugabe’s misdeeds before you knew who he was probably. You don’t have a clue how close his misdeeds affected me. Mugabe was a sadist before he came to power. I know what type of drought conditions they had too Stan. THAT was a contributor. I know about the officials who were handed land TOO well, VERY well. I cant go into my personal involvement against all of what was taking place but I KNOW terribly well.

    I also know that the story that is told is not as simple as it sounds. You are of the west, tell the wests role. As good as it feels to cheer lead and beat your chest about how democratic western nations are, it is irrelevant if they contribute to these sick YOUNG regimes. Do THAT story, thoroughly.

  • Zedd

    STM#13

    I cant believe you took one line, the last one which was a side note and responded to it and not the main idea of the post.

    You keep thinking that by asking for the full truth I somehow think Mugabe is a good guy. I Never have. Let it go.

    Wow after only a couple of decades you yawn about the torture of people in their own land….. I wonder why you don’t yawn at Ruvy who talks about Jews no matter the discussion?

    You knew that I would respond to you when you wrote this article. You cant just say what you want to say and leave things out and get touchy when I bring it up.

    My point is you are not hurting Mugabe by not playing Cricket with Zimbabwe. If you feel its affective, tell me how???

    I also have a problem with people who committed the same atrocities and benefited well, living in Shangri la from the evil that was perpetuated against people for generations, pointing fingers. Perhaps its yawn worthy to you but its also very relevant, discrediting and disingenuous.

  • STM

    This isn’t being driven by Zims and japies in Australia, for heaven’s sake.

    BTW Zedd, this woman isn’t Australian. She’s Zimbabwean born and bred, and black too. She lives in Harare, not Sydney. That’s what’s going on in Zimbabwe. The issue of the white farmers and the racist cricket selections are just a small part of it. Mugabe’s worst crimes have been reserved for Zimbabwe’s majority black population.

    He recently ordered his thugs to smash and demolish harare’s beautiful and world-renowned flower market, along with the backyard vegetable gardens people depended upon to survive. No one can really work out why, or what is going on.

    But it’s pretty brutal Zedd, and there isn’t much that people can do about it because he has all the power. Their suffering is extreme. Even Bishop Desmond Tutu, the courageous opponent of apartheid, calls him a classic example of a real-life cartoon caricature of an African dictator, while Nelson Mandela, in the closest he ever comes to verbally attacking people, disparagingly calls him “Comrade Bob”.

    Now contrast Mugabe to the on-going miracle wrought by the ANC in South Africa.

  • STM

    And yes, you are right: I did know when I posted this that you would come out of the woodwork all guns blazing and give me a serve.

    I’d expect nothing less, and would have been worried about you welfare had you not.

    But it doesn’t change the facts. I believe what I believe: Mugabe is a rat-bag who should be consigned to the dust-bin of history once and for all.

    I hope South Africa moves to do it at some point.

  • Zedd

    STM

    Its as if you are not reading my posts. What goes on? I know what is going on in Zimbabwe WELL probably better than you. My guns are not blazing. You should have known that I would respond because I know that region more than most people who post regularly on this thread.

    I knew of the people being attacked at the prayer meeting (even though I’m sure it was a political meeting) a day after it happened. I was very upset about it. You don’t have to invoke Tutu or Mandela for me to believe that Mugabe is a horrible leader. I don’t invoke some famous White person to convince you of your own convictions.

    The people of Metebelaland are Zulus (Ndebeles). Again, I know this issue WELL.

    Lets focus on what I am saying as apposed to what you think I am saying.

    I am saying that you cant report part of the story and think you are done. Tell us the part that affects our part of the world.

    You see what perpetuates crime in these countries is the distorted images of these regions and the lack of understanding about the role of the west in compounding the issues. We cant do anything about Mugabe but the Brits can do something if their government has helped create this problem with the farmers. I can guarantee that if the entire story was understood, the rage against Zimbabwe would not be so and the people wouldn’t be starving as they are now.

    I know that that woman is Black. You keep thinking that I want this to be a racial issue. You are missing it. I want this to be a sensible issue. If we tell half the Iraqi story then its not the story at all, its a weird distortion of reality and there is nothing that can be done with it. Its useless. The same is true with ANY story. Its just easier to half relate things when it deals with non Westerners. We tend to have an eye rolling “we know how this is going to go” attitude, so we don’t bother with cause and affect as much. We just want everything in their comfy little places, natives bad, greedy, dumb and hopeless. That is a lie and it diminishes the extent of knowledge that we have about our world. That ignorance fuels more ignorance about other similar cultures and the next generation and the crime that was started by colonialists continues.

    I hope you finally get the picture.

  • nkrumah

    Mugabe is a convenient scapegoat.

    The fact is the Whites constituting one percent of the population control seventy percent of the land. Mugabe changed that and ensured the land atleast belongs to the local people.

    Please let the Africans decide for themselves. And please do not lecture to us about human rights. we know all about human right violations at the hands of Britain.

    And who is going to replace Mugabe? Maybe Ian Smith, that white racist, who is intrested in returning to politics?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Mugabe changed that and ensured the land atleast belongs to the local people.

    So they can all starve to death on a little parcel of arid wasteland? The kind of land they have in Zimbabwe requires consolidated large-scale farming to be productive. Most of it is not well suited to small, individual farms.

    And who is going to replace Mugabe? Maybe Ian Smith, that white racist, who is intrested in returning to politics?

    Ian Smith can barely express interest in returning to his gruel. He’s almost 90 years old, can’t walk and is barely even lucid most of the time. On the other hand, even in that condition he could probably do a better job than Mugabe.

    dave

  • STM

    “The fact is the Whites constituting one percent of the population control seventy percent of the land. Mugabe changed that and ensured the land atleast belongs to the local people.”

    Rubbish Nkrumah. They don’t control 70 per cent of the land any more. And since they don’t, and with the land now belonging to Mugabe’s cronies rather than black farmers who knew how to work the farms, nine out of 10 Zimbabweans are without work, inflation is at 1700 per cent, the country can’t feed itself, etc.

    Let Africans decide for themselves? They are trying to, but Mugabe won’t let them. He controls with an iron first, backed up by thugs and cronies in the police and armed forces. The people have no power. It’s all Mugabe’s, and any money in Zimbabwe goes into their pockets, not into the mouths of the people. They live the high life, while ordinary Zimbabweans starve to death.

    Don’t bullshit about scapegoats. He’s a grubby little dictator and his own people hate him.

  • Zedd

    These are the affects of drought in Southern Africa between 1980 – 1994

    Social Impact / Ripple Effects

    Lack or poor distribution of resources (food and water) /Migration, resettlement, conflicts between water users

    Increased quest for water / Increased conflicts between water users

    Marginal lands become unsustainable Poverty, unemployment / Reduced grazing quality and crop yields

    Overstocking; Reduced quality of living / Employment layoffs Reduced or no income

    Food insecurity Malnutrition and famine; Civil strife and conflict / Increased pollutant concentrations Public health risks

    Inequitable drought relief / Social unrest, distrust

    Increased forest and range fires / Increased threat to human and animal life

    Urbanization Social pressure / reduced safety

    Environmental impacts

    Damage to natural habitats / Loss of biodiversity

    Reduced forest, crop, and range land productivity / Reduced income and food shortages

    Reduced water levels / Lower accessibility to water

    Reduced cloud cover / Plant scorching

    Increased daytime temperature / Increased fire hazard

    Increased evapotranspiration / Crop withering and dying

    More dust and sandstorms / Increased soil erosion; Increased air pollution

    Decreased soil productivity /Desertification and soil degradation (topsoil erosion)

    Decreased water resources / Lack of feeding and drinking water

    Reduced water quality / More waterborne diseases; Increased salt concentrations

    Increased incidence of animal diseases and mortality / Loss of income and food; Reduced breeding stock

    Soil desiccation / Increased soil “blowability”

    Degradation of landscape quality / Permanent loss of biological productivity of the landscape

    Species concentration near water / Increased vulnerability to predation

    Economic impacts

    Reduced business with retailers /Increased prices for farming commodities

    Food and energy shortages / Drastic price increased; Expensive imports substitutes

    Loss of crops for food and income / Increased expense of buying food from shops

    Reduction of livestock quality / Sale of livestock at reduced market price

    Water scarcity / Increased transport costs

    Loss of jobs, income, and property / Deepening poverty; Increased unemployment

    Less income from tourism and recreation / Increased capital shortfall

    Forced financial loans / Increased debt; Increased credit risk for financial institutions

    This drought ensued just as this government was starting. The group that landed in Jamestown first, had no chance because of the weather. They just weren’t going to do well. I am certain that during that time there was a lot of misplaced blame on various leaders but we now know that they were doomed from day one. This is not to excuse Mugabe by any means but its important to look at very real factors that contributed to this chaos that is Zimbabwe today that were just not going to be good regardless.

    Lets deal with issues with a willingness to explore the entire scope of cause and effect. Skimming the top and looking for the boogie man will not solve the real issues that truly contribute to real devastation. We over simplify the issues of developing nations and lie to ourselves, choosing ignorance so that we don’t have to face the reality of human dynamics on the globe. This phenomenon also makes us feel superior, as if we are doing something right that the rest of the world isn’t doing, on our loungers watching American Idol.

  • Nancy

    Why the hell do these people just roll over & take it? Why doesn’t anybody pick up a rifle & go put a bullet thru Mugabe or his thugs? Ironically, I suppose it’s the same reason that most Americans don’t pick up a Uzi & go hit Dubya & Cheney: too many safety walls these assholes are hiding behind.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Nancy,

    Living in a brutal dictatorship with spies everywhere makes taking that kind of action virtually impossible to all but the bravest and most determined, who often are just as much thugs and oppressors as those they seek to overthrow.

  • STM

    Zedd, this country (Australia) has been in drought for six long years. There isn’t much water anywhere, but somehow our farmers are still managing to feed and clothe us, and half the rest of the world as well.

    Many of the same farming techniques used in driught here were also used by farmers in Zimbabwe, and in fact various periods of drought over the years hadn’t made a lot of difference to how much food was produced or crops grown.

    Until, that is, Mugabe, forced the farmers off the land (black and white, and their employees) and gave the farms to his non-farming cronies.

    Lo and behold, no food, no crops, and farms and economy in ruins while Zinbabweans nearly starve.

    Had Mugabe been true to his ideals – there were many black farmers and farm workers who could have run those farms after the land was taken from the whites. But no, he gave them to his cronies, who ran them into the ground.

    Zimbabwe under Mugabe is a joke and I won’t have any truck with with people like Nkrumah who are simply apologists for murderers, torturers and dictators.

    It’s good to be able to see the wood through the trees, Zedd. This isn’t about whites and what they did. We all know that stuff. It’s about Mugabe and the Zanu-PF.

  • STM

    Zedd, this country (Australia) has been in drought for six long years. There isn’t much water anywhere, but somehow our farmers are still managing to feed and clothe us, and half the rest of the world as well.

    Many of the same farming techniques used in drought here were also used by farmers in Zimbabwe, and in fact various periods of drought over the years hadn’t made a lot of difference to how much food was produced or crops grown.

    Until, that is, Mugabe, forced the farmers off the land (black and white, and their employees) and gave the farms to his non-farming cronies.

    Lo and behold, no food, no crops, and farms and economy in ruins while Zinbabweans nearly starve.

    Had Mugabe been true to his ideals – there were many black farmers and farm workers who could have run those farms after the land was taken from the whites. But no, he gave them to his cronies, who ran them into the ground.

    Zimbabwe under Mugabe is a joke and I won’t have any truck with with people like Nkrumah who are simply apologists for murderers, torturers and dictators.

    It’s good to be able to see the wood through the trees, Zedd. This isn’t about whites and what they did. We all know that stuff. It’s about Mugabe.

  • STM

    Why won’t my post stick, Rosey? Doesn’t appear to be anything contentious in it. I’ve even taken out “wood” just in case.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Stan, looks like the spam blocker thought you were up to no good. I fixed it.

    Dave

  • STM

    Thanks Buddy. I am engaged with MBD in another thread. It’s like hitting your head against a brick wall. Although my take on the War of 1812 is slightly different to yours, at least you understand it. He’s driving me batty by posting nonsense – pretending to know, but knows nothing.

    Where did he dig himself up from?? I can’t take him seriously from now on after the Stonewall Jackson thing. What a fair dinkum goose.

  • Zedd

    STM

    I will state this simply.

    There is more than one cause for Zims problems. Mugabe is a huge one but there are other factors. I listed one.

    Australia was not going through an entire structural change in every aspect Stan during the worst drought of known times. I know you are not that thick. This is not that hard to understand.

  • Zedd

    Clavos

    You are absolutely right about dictatorships. Even the spies don’t want to be spies and hate the dictator but they cant stop or else its heads off.

  • Zedd

    Stan

    You said its just about Mugabe. What is just about Mugabe?

    His deeds are just about Mugabe. Not all deeds that affect Zimbabwe negatively are about him. To say that is a lie and sloppy. Right?

    Why do you have a problem with that?? I am missing it.

    Whomever it was going to be in power, they would have had HELL trying to build that country up. Zims success would have encouraged South Africa’s attempt at liberation. It was important for Zim to fail, and fail miserably. I’m sure you understand that. Before the Zim economy was ANYWHERE near what it is, the SA government was using Zim as a scare tactic to their populous. The Zims who thought Mandela was a communist White hater ran when it started looking like he was going to be released. They were not going to leave the country in good shape to uphold the same economic relationships. Off course the farm thing was exploited to encourage economic isolation. The gay thing which was not tolerated under Aparthied was also exploited to make him the evil man of the planet.

    Mugabe was not the real target, Zimbabwe was. Mugabe’s maniacal ways only made it easier to attack that nation.

    That is the real world that you live in. Not just villains and super heroes. In this case the distinction is not clear.

  • STM

    “Whomever it was going to be in power, they would have had HELL trying to build that country up”

    Sorry, I like you … but that is rubbish. Mugabe inherited a shining jewel and ruined it. Unlike Mandela, who inherited a very tarnished jewel and has added some polish. More power to him, and how different is the ANC to the Zanu-PF? No comparison.

    Stop defending the actions of a tyrant, Zedd. This isn’t about race (at least not on my part).

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com Christopher Rose

    Stan, It’s just the spam trap acting up. Please don’t re-post the same comment multiple times, just keep acting as normal and it will wise up in a couple of days.

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com Christopher Rose

    Dave, actually, you didn’t fix Stan’s problem at all. Unblocking one of his remarks isn’t enough…

  • Zedd

    STM

    You don’t understand the dynamics of the time. 1980 was different than 1990 in Southern Africa. You can even begin to compare the two countries transition.

    Firstly, these guys came from the bush with weapons to lead a nation.

    No one knew who Mugabe was at the onset of Zim so the international community didn’t fawn over Zimbabwe and support their success every step of the way. They were being discouraged by naysayers and tourists stopped. The opposite happened in SA. The cache’ (and beauty if I must say) has drawn multitudes….

    South Africa and Namibia next door were powerful and unfriendly neighbors, run by Boers who had nothing but Zims demise in mind.

    They were still supporting and training the freedom fighters in South Africa.

    The drought hit hardest than it had ever hit in recorded history, just then.

    Britain promised to subsidies the farmers transition out of the farm then reneged after Mugabe had promised the people that the land will return for years. That was his only platform. Being that Zims were less Urban than SA Blacks, they lived for the idea of land possession. That was their fuel. Then it all went to pot. The old foot soldiers who had been waiting for years went into old mode and mob rule took over. The West spinned it as the Zim government (Mugabe) deciding to attack White farmers per the farmer’s testimonies. None of that existed in South Africa.

    Our head liberators were in prison and took years to intellectualize about the vision of a proper and equitable society.

    Sad but South Africa benefited from Zimbabwe’s mistakes and took different routes.

    We have the entire world crossing our fingers for us. We had no enemies. The entire continent was free. We had rock stars like Mandela with huge international clout and support.

    Had our top leaders remained underground and large, South Africa would be a different place today. What formed their views of the world would have been different. There would have been no time to contemplate the leadership of great nations over the ages, successful governance, human nature and economic viability in the most equitable way under similar circumstances. They would have been shaped by immediacy, constant plotting and an over sensitized survival instinct.

    As is the case with all adversity, it has its benefit. We benefited from Robin Island (the infamous jail) in a twisted sort of way.

    De Klerk sat with Mandela at the table, literally and others (experts on governance from all sides) and hashed out a plan for the new South Africa.

    Ian Smith’s contribution was “over my dead body” saying he would not relinquish Zim. He is still alive in Britain btw.

    The Soviet threat was gone when SA took over. At Zims time, the reluctance to support this administration also came from the over blown fear of the nation become communist.

    Stan, there is no comparison between the two nations.

  • STM

    That’s a very good breakdown, Zedd. Thanks for taking the time to put it down on (virtual) paper. I can see you have thought about this a lot, and I agree with it. It doesn’t excuse Mugabe’s recent actions, though, which is what the story is about.

  • Zedd

    STM

    I like you too, off course.

    I agree with you. Nothing can excuse Mugabe’s actions. I hate to admit it but I’ve wished for his assassination for decades. He is thought of have killed his own brother (drowned him in his pool as he was President). He is a monster.

    My concern an theme if you pay attention is not about race, it is about the West over simplifying none Western societies. It is that diminished view of the world which actually contributes to the diminished status of other cultures. We entered Iraq because we over simplified Iraq’s complexities and we under estimated the intelligence of the people there. We assume that we KNOW by virtue of our Western status and that we possess a greater intelligence because of who we are. That is so wrong. Our world is complicated and glorious and most Westerners don’t know that. Not knowing that, can be deadly for others.

  • Zedd

    Look over the typos above…. geeeez that was bad. Worse than usual. uuuuuuhm its the meds kicking in. Yeah that’s right.

  • STM

    I think the big problem for the West was that Mugabe was the, if you like, the Great Black Hope of Africa. Everyone wanted him to succeed, because most of us were appalled at what the South Africans were doing in the 80s. What a travesty: Mugabe comes to power, with the support of most of the world, and buggers it up deluxe, while probably a man who could arguably be included in the top two or three most influential figures of the 20th century sits mouldering away on Robben Island being kind to his jailers.

    That’s what makes South Africa’s miracle all the more miraculous, IMO. What they’ve achieved there in 10 or so years, most societies couldn’t achieve in a thousand.