Friday, June 24, 2005

Operation Drive out Trash

Our world has been watching the same kind of nonsense unfold in Zimbabwe that our world has gotten quite good at watching.

First the esteemed President Robert Mugabe liberated the farm land from white farmers who had the bad form to be descended from the colonizing power and so are only citizens by birth and not by right apparently. This lead to what government intervention in agricultural matters always leads to, a crash in the agricultural sector and the need for international food aid. It seems that people who are good at violently seizing land seem to lack the skills needed for agriculture - modern or otherwise. He felt that this land redistribution would give him a boost in the polls but since most Zimbabweans don't actually want to be poor and hungry while thugs sit around on farm land doing jack all, he thought he would give himself the added advantage of running an even more crooked election than the last one with beatings, vote rigging... you know, the usual only more so.

But it seems that you can only blame one group for so much and with no more land to seize he turned his wrath on the landed gentry which for Bobby M. is the poor and their shanties. About 300,000 people have been evicted; some were forced to destroy their own homes while others were afforded the luxury of watching someone else do it. While
Amnesty International has not called Zimbabwe a gulag or anything yet they are kind of upset. Even the African Union and the U.N. are clucking their tongues about it.

Fortunately for Pres Mugabe, he has kept the madness in his own country and the internationally recognized principle of national sovereignty states that what goes on within a nation's borders is all fair pool. The head of state owns his people and if they don't like it and they are not allowed to leave then... well no one told them to be born and no one is stopping them from killing themselves. The last thing this world needs is more nations butting into each others business like Iraq right?

Is this planet not charming?

Update: The madness continues. I was reading this BBC article about Zimbabwe's explanation and the reaction of neighboring nations.

Zimbabwe's Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo, ...denied that it had created widespread humanitarian problems, and said the demolitions had been welcomed by all patriotic Zimbabweans.
That is the problem with people who have their homes destroyed by the government, they are so un patriotic! What about their neighbors?

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has questioned why the West is so concerned by Zimbabwe but makes relatively little noise about other African emergencies, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, where some three million people died in a civil war, and where armed bands kill, rape and loot with impunity in some areas.
Thabo Mbeki is no Nelson Mandela. Hell, he is no
Gomer Pyle. This is the guy who could never believe that AIDS was caused by HIV. He has decided that Mugabe is a hero of the independence movement and as such can only shit sunshine. As for his above pondering? Um Africa is your freaking continent T.M. - why don't you make some noise about the Congo?

But let us let the last word go to the A.U. - the organization that was going to bring peace and stability to the continent.

But AU spokesman Desmond Orjiako told the BBC's Network Africa programme: "If the government that they elected say they are restoring order by their actions, I don't think it would be proper for us to go interfering in their internal legislation."

I don't know which is more rich, the fact that he thinks Mugabe was elected by Zimbabweans (maybe he meant several elections ago) or that the apologists for Mugabe are stomping all over each other's arguments (compare the last two boxes). As for why no African nation will criticize this behavior - it is because it hits them too close to home. I can not believe that I was feeling optimistic about Africa not so long ago. Live and learn.


At Sat Jun 25, 03:15:00 PM 2005, Blogger Robert said...

The obvious solution to the problem of African corruption and Mugabe’s complete disregard for civil liberties in particular, is to do as Bono has suggested and shower those regimes with monetary aid, after having forgiven their debt. You see, treating the symptoms rather than the cause is always the best course of action.

It can’t be faulty economic policies, as everyone knows that socialism can be successful, if we will simply ignore the repeated failures and continue to work toward Marx’s grand egalitarian society.

At Tue Jun 28, 04:46:00 PM 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

Debt relief should only happen if the regime that ran up the debt is overthrown (forcibly bankrupted by angry citizens) and the new regime is heading in the right direction both politically and economically.

I have come to prefer the term statism to socialism because it sticks equally well to the left and the right. Socialism is statism with good P.R. - Pat Buchanan is statism with receding hair.

One could argue whether Mugabe and Hitler and even Stalin were left or right-wing but since they have so much in common and so little in difference they should probably all be lumped in as statists.


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