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[P]
Much ado about Zimbabwe

By Hopfrog in Op-Ed
Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 07:01:21 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

In many parts of the world, the Zimbabwe issue has been very heatedly debated. The UK has got a particularly bad case of Zimbabwe fever, with the BBC running various specials on Zimbawe, the Guardian having an entire section devoted to Zimbabwe, and all the other national newspapers all acry about the horrific activities going on in Zimbabwe.


Other parts of the world are not immune however. AllAfrica.com has devoted half of it's front page to Zimbabwe for the last week. South African papers are churning out analysis' of the Zimbabwe situation 10 a minute.

3 months ago, the only thing I knew about Zimbabwe was the name of it's capital, and even that was not extraordinary, as I had, in my wild youth, learnt all the capitals of all countries (my teacher insisted this made for good teatime conversation). But now, I can tell offhand the number of people killed in the Ndebele conflict back in `82, and I can tell by how much this amount differs from the number quoted in Focus, the heated debates and catfights in soc.culture.zimbabwe to thank.

Mugabe, the current president of Zimbawe did not directly cheat during the elections. There was no reported case of votes being added to the boxes, or any other real rigging. There is no evidence of this, and even the South African papers which have been unanimous in crying out for Mugabe's burning at the stake do not claim this. What there was was a gentler cheating; Mugabe made it difficult for the opposition to vote by reducing the number of polling stations in their strongholds, and made it easier for his supporters to vote by increasing the number of ballot boxes in his controlled areas. In the pre-election days, there was also a deliberate radicalization of the population by state controlled media: the opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai was declared to be a stooge of Britain, and was said to be sponsored by foreign countries and the commercial farmers.

Various young people banded together to physically attack all members of the opposition, whom they regarded as traitors to their cause.

And their cause is the redistribution of land. 73% of all arable farming land in Zimbawe is owned by 4500 white farmers.The rest of the 12 million people in the country live in abject poverty on the remaining 27%.

The redistribution is 20 years overdue. After the Mugabe controlled Zanu army won the civil war, rather than simply running over the land and taking what they pleased, Mugabe embraced the former white rulers and urged them to stay on in Zimbabwe. He furthermore signed an agreement with Britain, which said that Britain would compensate the farmers who have the land taken from them and given to the indigenous people. Over the past 20 years, Britain has either cited human rights violations or said that Mugabe was giving the land to his friends to explain why they would not fund the land redistribution.

And it came as a huge shock to Britain then, when landless and poor blacks decided to seize the land 2 years ago. There was a huge outcry, particularly when 2 farmers died. The Zimbabwean goverment had not discouraged the land settlements, so the case was brought to the high court. The court ruled the squatting illegal. Two of the five high court justices were white (two black, one asian), and Mugabe made them both step down after a while.

Britain was outraged, and the BBC started a heated attack on Mugabe and his "fascist" policies. According to British papers, Mugabe had driven the country to ruin as there was 100% inflation, and the economy was slipping down.

Under the fomer white-only government, education of the blacks was not a priority. After Mugabe, a former teacher, took over, he increased the literacy rate of the country to 80%, one of the highest in Africa. The per capita income of Zimbabwe stayed constant over his years of rule in the 80s, good going when compared to other African countries where per capita income had in some cases fallen by 200% over the same period. Zimbabwe had the next biggest economy to South Africa in southern Africa till 2 years ago.

In the last 2 years however, Zimbabwe has been in serious economic decline. The commercial farmers stopped producing as a result of the land resettling. Zimbabwe hardly had any exports left, so the economy was bound to decline. Foreign investment in Zimbabwe disappeared, and the world bank and IMF refused to support any new loans. It appeared that the bad press combined with the land takeover led to Zimbabwe's economic problems, and not any direct bad policies of the government. But most papers would prefer not to mention all this. They'd much rather Mugabe was a bad leader.

The Congo had it's presidential elections at the same time as Zimbabwe: last week. Zimbabwe's was perhaps more interesting because it was fraudulent? Well, in the Congo, the main opposition candidate withdrew from the race, and there was only one candidate, a confirmed coupist. He went through exactly the same trickery that marked Mugabe's relection. He won 90% of the vote, a very unrealistic result.

Or Madagascar. We sometimes hear a bit about the standoff in Madagscar, but that's about it. Where were the foreign election observers? What do they have to say about the situation there? What about the "targeted" sanctions?

Maybe it is because white farmers were not affected in that country? I don't know.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition candidate is an angel apparently. He does everything right, and would be an excellent leader, if we are to go by the BBC. But what exactly is the difference between his policy and Mugabe's. Well, if you look really hard, there is almost no difference.

And he was filmed by an Australian reporter discussing about assasinating Mugabe. But neither CNN nor BBC wants to run the footage. Also, Morgan somehow has also come into huge sums of money. He can affort to hire the PR firm that took Bloomberg into the office of Mayor of New York, in a campaign that cost more than 100 million dollars. Tsvangirai is accused by Mugabe of being the local face of foreign powers. Is he?

And back to Africa. Obasanjo of Nigeria and Mbeki of South Africa control the 2 most powerful countries on the African continent. They are not dependent on Zimbabwe or Mugabe in any way, and are democratically elected presidents. Obasanjo even spent a few years in prison for his democratic views. Yet these leaders refuse to condemn Mugabe. Their election observers observed a free and fair election, in contrast to the Danish team. The SADC also observed a free and fair election.

President Bush didn't though, as he announced that America is not going to recognize the government of Zimbabwe.

There is a wide black-white divide on this issue; the white Commonwealth wanted to remove Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth before the elections. The black Commonwealth voted against this, and in the aftermath, Mbeki asked all "white supremacists" who were uncomfortable with the decisions of the Commonwealth to leave it. He was referring to Britain.

In conclusion, the Zimbabwe issue is a lot more complex than the "Mugabe is a horrible, horrible man" potrayed by South African and British papers. It is mostly about land. And not just the land in Zimbabwe, but that in South Africa, Kenya and Namibia. And it is a hypocritical issue, with attention being drawn to the election, and the real issues that bother the British government are glossed over: the land issue and the 10 dead white farmers.

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Is the Zimbabwe issue accurately potrayed in Western media?
o Yes 42%
o No 57%

Votes: 49
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Much ado about Zimbabwe | 116 comments (89 topical, 27 editorial, 0 hidden)
Bad cure ... (4.46 / 13) (#7)
by aphrael on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 03:49:31 PM EST

the Zimbabwe issue is a lot more complex than the "Mugabe is a horrible, horrible man

Of course it is. Nobody with an ounce of sense of political history would say that it isn't more complex than that.

However, he *isn't* a nice man, and his government hasn't been particularly successful; the economy of Zimbabwe has shrunk more since independance than it did during the years when it was run by a breakaway racist elite in violation of British colonial law under sanctions from most of the world. That is a signal, and pathetic, accomplishment.

He furthermore signed an agreement with Britain, which said that Britain would compensate the farmers who have the land taken from them and given to the indigenous people.

Nobody seriously argues that this shouldn't happen. The problem, as far as I can tell from reportage on the subject, is that Mugabe hasn't been doing this even-handedly; he's been using the state's power of eminent domain to help his friends, and not his enemies. If you're a poor landless black who happens to be a Mugabe supporter, you get land; if you aren't a Mugabe supporter, you don't. In the modern world we expect governments to be more even-handed about such things; the behavior of the Zimbabwe government has been positively midieval.

The Congo had it's presidential elections at the same time as Zimbabwe

Which Congo? :) I assume you're talking about Congo-Brazzaville. But it's an interesting subject, as you neglect to mention at all the little matter of Zimbabwe's army, which is currently involved in a nasty civil war in Congo-Brazzaville which has been going on for the better part of five years with no end in sight; what is Zimbabwe's *national* interest in this? Or is it just another way to enrich Mugabe's friends?

Under the fomer white-only government, education of the blacks was not a priority. After Mugabe, a former teacher, took over, he increased the literacy rate of the country to 80%, one of the highest in Africa.

He should be commended for that.

Various young people banded together to physically attack all members of the opposition, whom they regarded as traitors to their cause.

I think this is the thing that bothers me the most about the situation in Zimbabwe; I really don't see how this is any different than the SA in Germany, or the bolsheviks in Russia. Using *force* to intimidate people into voting the way you want them to is *wrong*; it strikes at the very heart of what democracy is supposed to be about. *Even if done in a good cause*, it still undermines democracy, and is a cure far, far worse than the disease.

Wrong Congo! (5.00 / 1) (#8)
by aphrael on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 03:53:01 PM EST

in a nasty civil war in Congo-Brazzaville

Ooops. I meant Congo-Kinshasha, of course.



[ Parent ]
Are you serious? (4.85 / 14) (#14)
by khallow on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 04:10:57 PM EST

Mugabe, the current president of Zimbawe did not directly cheat during the elections. There was no reported case of votes being added to the boxes, or any other real rigging. There is no evidence of this, and even the South African papers which have been unanimous in crying out for Mugabe's burning at the stake do not claim this. What there was was a gentler cheating; Mugabe made it difficult for the opposition to vote by reducing the number of polling stations in their strongholds, and made it easier for his supporters to vote by increasing the number of ballot boxes in his controlled areas. In the pre-election days, there was also a deliberate radicalization of the population by state controlled media: the opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai was declared to be a stooge of Britain, and was said to be sponsored by foreign countries and the commercial farmers.

So, Mugabe didn't "cheat directly"? That's because he has his stooges do the dirty work.

This story is inane. Mugabe is nakedly grabbing power. The racial facts (4500 white farmers owning 73% of land) masks what is going on. Mugabe is enriching himself and his cronies at the expense of Zimbabwe. What's going to happen when (not if) the 4500 farmers above are disposed of? Answer, they'll be replaced by 4500 cronies. And can those guys farm? I see a little problem here.

The white farmer thing is just an excuse. Why don't you look closer this time. You'll see that Mugabe is sacrificing the future of his country to satisfy his personal desires.

This is the story everybody sees and hears (3.00 / 2) (#30)
by Hopfrog on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 06:07:03 PM EST

And when I looked closer, I saw the story above.

Hop.

[ Parent ]

And lost perspective-nt- (none / 0) (#41)
by Woundweavr on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 07:39:33 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Inaccuracy (4.33 / 6) (#18)
by infinitewaitstate on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 04:33:06 PM EST

The video tape of Morgan Tsvangirai plotting against Robert Mugabe was not shot by an Australian journalist. It was handed over to the Australian SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) who then produced and aired the relevant story.

One thing that might be worth reading up on is the involvement of Canadian Ari Ben-Menashe in the recent charges of treason brought against Morgan Tsvangirai, since the prime evidence of treason was in fact recorded by Mr. Ben-Menashe's PR firm.


---
... but then again, what do I know?

And Morgan has admitted to being there (none / 0) (#62)
by Hopfrog on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 03:33:05 AM EST

But claims his sentences were taken out of context. Well, I wish to see this tape myself. Why isn't anybody playing it??

Hop.

[ Parent ]

That's a good question (none / 0) (#82)
by vinay on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 07:50:23 AM EST

CNN.com's Jim Clancy noted that they (CNN) did not have a copy of the tape in an episode of Q&A. He as much said he'd air the tape if he got a hold of it. Whether or not he ever got a copy, or if upon recieving it decided not to air it is unknown.

Apparently Ari Ben-menashe is known (by previous actions) as a pretty shady character.


-\/


[ Parent ]
Viewpoints (4.66 / 6) (#19)
by bobpence on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 04:39:14 PM EST

Here are some of the views expressed to me by a black Zimbabwean who I roomed with during a college trip last week:

- Up until about two years ago, the actions of the Mugabe government were acceptable, but that government must go because of crimes commited since then.

- Mugabe has systematically prevented anyone from gaining the experience in government so that they might be a competent replacement for him - the opposition candidate is not attractive, but is a lesser evil.

- He did nothing to stop - and may have even started - the land raids. (Protection is a major roll of government).

When I met this fellow just over a week ago, I broached the subject of the upcoming elections quite gingerly, and even after learning that he was opposed to Mugabe, was careful to not discount the good he did by extracting Zimbabwe from colonialism. He's spent a little more than a semester in the U.S. - those who have not been in Zimbabwe for all of the last six months could not vote, thus guaranteeing the influence of state media - and interestingly believed that our food is laced with steroids (he's grown somewhat in that time, despite being over 20).

I explained that the steroids explanation might be put forward by those unwilling to admit that the considerable size of USians compared to most other nationals has to do mostly with the wide availability of good nutrition - while confessing that the good nutrition explanation might just be a cover for the steroids. Anyway this belief is important because it tells me he is not a convert to pro-US propaganda, and so further validated that my own opposition to Mugabe, due to his recent actions, is not just the ill-informed opinion of a white American.

Bob

P.S. You mention that in some nations "per capita income had... fallen by 200%." If I made $50 in 2000 but $25 in 2001, my income fell 50%; if I made nothing in 2001, my income fell 100%. But I believe that per capita income is gross, not net, and thus has a lower limit of zero. Treu, corporations might have as a Net Income a negative value - really a Net Loss - and personal expenditures might exceed earning, but in any case your data do not back up the assertion. Going from $150 per year to $50 means that income has dropped 66%, even if it was 200% more the previous year. Also such statistics are notoriously inadequate in taking into account currency variations and numerous other factors. The British Pound has dropped 70% against the dollar since 1900, but the British do not generally consider themselves worse off today than a century ago, except for losing the Empire and all that.
"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender

Well (4.00 / 2) (#44)
by Phillip Asheo on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 08:41:29 PM EST

your food is laced with steroids. Or bovine growth hormone at least.

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

C'mon (1.00 / 2) (#49)
by sgp on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 09:43:10 PM EST

<asbestos> You yankees are all overweight. I'd get links, but google's there for all. <asbestos>

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

Gentler (5.00 / 6) (#21)
by Woundweavr on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 05:03:34 PM EST

I wouldn't say that Mugabe was more gentle than out and out vote changing. The military declared it would not follow the opposition if it won the election. The opposition was threatened and harassed and people were threatened door to door to not go to the rallies or they would be beaten or killed. He changed the voting system hours before the election. Furthermore, Mugabe has in fact had human rights violations, and done things for his friends that hurt Zimbabwe (see 10k troops in Congo).

Mugabe is a dictator in everything but name. I don't see how thats not newsworthy. While perhaps there should be more coverage of other areas, lets be clear that Mugabe is not "gentle." I also think that the coverage is not racially based. The Congo has been in Civil War from a decade and has less economical and political contact with the EU and US. Madagascar even less so (and is not a very similar situation).



Congo & BBC (4.33 / 3) (#26)
by Hopfrog on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 05:53:30 PM EST

This harrasment was not a result of Mugabe, but of the people. The people are polarizing, and it is causing violence.

About 130 people have died so far, of which 30 have been from ZANU. 10 were white farmers.

And the Congo: who isn't in the Congo? There are 6 countries fighting there, and Zimbabwe, as a neighbour of the Congo has a great interest in keeping the fighting away from it's borders.

That aside, Mugabe started withdrawing troops 1 year ago. And when he continued the pullout this year, all the papers were all aghast about him calling the army back into the country so he could win the election.

Well, what do you want? Should he stay in the congo (and be accused of war-mongering) or call the troops home (and be accused of intimidation?)

And what about Nigeria? Nigeria has troops in Liberia, in Sierra Leone and in Guinea? Where is the critique at that country?

Hop.

[ Parent ]

Official support ... (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by aphrael on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 06:14:23 PM EST

Nigeria has troops in Liberia, in Sierra Leone and in Guinea?

I don't know anything about Guinea. In the case of Liberia and Sierra Leone, however, Nigeria was brought in under the auspices of international agencies as peacekeepers; both countries underwent fairly nasty civil wars, mostly having to do with the diamond trade.

[ Parent ]

Wrong (2.00 / 1) (#57)
by Hopfrog on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 02:32:20 AM EST

Nigeria came in under ECOMOG, a West African peace keeping troop, which was headed and almost exclusivley funded by Nigeria.

Zimbabwe is in Congo as a peacekeeper also. Zimbabwe is gaining NOTHING from the Congo war apart from stability on it's border.

Hop.

[ Parent ]

Dead wrong (none / 0) (#103)
by Woundweavr on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 01:53:45 PM EST

Zimbabwe is in Congo as a peacekeeper also. Zimbabwe is gaining NOTHING from the Congo war apart from stability on it's border.

Show me how the Congo borders Zimbabwe.



[ Parent ]

Mugabe Benefits (4.50 / 2) (#105)
by Woundweavr on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 02:08:50 PM EST

South Africa's Mail & Guardian newspaper reported on September 11, for example, that Mugabe's nephew, Leo Mugabe, and Kabila's son Joseph, had recently come into possession rights to key mineral interests in a mining paradise worth an estimated $58 billion. That is enough to pay off the foreign debts of all the countries embroiled in the Congo conflict, with a chunk to spare!

from here

And what about how Mugabe's relatives and supporters don't have their massive land holdings seized for the good of the people?

[ Parent ]

Military? (5.00 / 2) (#39)
by Woundweavr on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 07:31:19 PM EST

The military stated it would not support the opposition if it was elected. Mugabe controls the government and the military. Mugabe has been unconstitutionally forcing laws through the legislature (for instance, once rejected, a bill can not be reintroduced but Mugabe ignored this), and changing the election system for his own advantage. "War Veterans", paramilitary police and his other supporters look to Mugabe and pretending he has nothing to do with their actions is playing the ostrich.

There are condemnations of Nigeria for some actions. And didn't you just say Congo deserved criticism? Does the Congo deserve it or the countries interfering? Could it be that the reason neither are being condemned for this particular issue is because it is so convuluted and because there really isn't a "good" side? The most coverage of late has been on the peace talks precisely because it does offer some hope. Zimbabwe receiving criticism (and it hasn't been intense) is mostly because Zimbabwe's efforts are seen as an attempt to enrich the military brass and political elite of Mugabe's supporters.

I'd also note that the UN also has troops in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Congo.

[ Parent ]

This doesn't make sense (none / 0) (#56)
by Hopfrog on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 02:28:40 AM EST

First of all, there are 2 Congos. One has the war, the other has the election. So we are talking of 2 different countries here.

The condemnations of Nigeria are for Sharia law, which has nothing to do with the national government (it is a state passed law), and has nothing to do with Nigeria stationing it's troops anywhere.

If you say Mugabe's actions have been so heavily criticized because he is trying to enrich his supporters, what about Taylor of Liberia? Do you know what he has been doing over the last few years? Why doesn't he get his hard talk special?

And, so what if the UN is in all those countries?

Hop.

[ Parent ]

Plugging your Ears (none / 0) (#104)
by Woundweavr on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 02:01:54 PM EST

You continue to plug your ears. Mugabe is a violent despot who is using force to retain power. Just repeat that over and over for a while and maybe it will sink in.

If the issue is media coverage, that is seperate. Pretending Mugabe isn't that bad, however, is blindness.

What does Liberia have to do with Britain? Its an American colony if anything and there hasn't been any real signifigant diplomatic connection in decades if not centuries. People care about things connected to themselves.

Nigeria does have connections. But it also is getting better, not solely under military rule, under which it did receive criticism. It also received criticism for this action, when it occurred.

Zimbabwe's current events dredge up some old problems. They haven't been continuiously in the spotlight. However, the election did bring attention. Polls also showed that 75% of the population is against the force being in the Congo.

[ Parent ]

Polarization (4.00 / 1) (#71)
by vinay on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 05:48:34 AM EST

You may be right about the polarization causing violence, but by no means is that the whole story. There have been reports of police intimidation of journalists. The police themselves reportedly stated that orders had "come from on high."

I first saw reports of this while watching CNN. This article is by no means the best proof, but it does mention police intimidation.

Also, it's difficult to dismiss Mugabe's stifling of Zimbabwean media. Or the fact that he has denied Zimbabweans living abroad the right to vote.


-\/


[ Parent ]
Smith was right all along. (4.33 / 3) (#36)
by gloin on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 06:38:31 PM EST

Mugabe is a thug. The fact that he may have done good things once does not make him any less of one. His gangs are out beating people up for admitting to not believing in his lies; in his country it is a crime to compete with him for political office.

He is popular because he is stealing land from the people who own it and doling it out to the people who will fight for him; it's bribery and theft. He'll give you someone else's land if you agree to ignore his theft; by such means is an entire country corrupted.

It isn't too surprising, though; Ian Douglas Smith predicted it, after all.

Oh yes. (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 07:33:16 PM EST

The racist calling Mugabe names.

How sweet.

If there was a god, both individuals would burn in hell.
---
"At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look;
at forty-five they are caves in which we hide." F. Scott Fitzgerald.
[ Parent ]
Mugabe and his party are murderous thugs. (4.42 / 7) (#37)
by m0rzo on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 06:54:03 PM EST

Black Zimbabwians are no better off under Mugabe than they were under Smith's white government. You disagree with him and his personal agenda? He'll send some goons round and you'll soon come round to his way of thinking.

Mugabe is typical of post-colonialist African military despots. He revels in his own sense of self-importance and works sinisterly towards his own personal success. He just wants to go down in history for something.

Zimbabwe's 'Hitler' Hunzvi, who recently died, was the most feared man around. He didn't call himself Hitler for nothing. His War Veterans are a bunch of scheming, iniquitous savages and they use this policy of 'Land Reform' as a shroud for vehement anti-white racism.

Notice how NATO haven't gone in all guns blazing. Which goes to show that foreign policy is determined by economic gain and not moral obligation.


My last sig was just plain offensive.

Even the Commonwealth couldn't do anything (none / 0) (#81)
by Lord of Caustic Soda on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 07:43:05 AM EST

Thanks to the many countries that voted against suspensions/saction proposed. It's sad that any third-rate despot and his gang of thugs plus a few million starving peasants count as one vote in international organisation like the Commonwealth and the UN....

What should happen is we base the number of votes on a GDP formular, maybe a (X * Average median GDP per capita of World + Y * median GDP per capita of country) * country population (X and Y can be fudged around, but 1:2 will do just fine) to even out the amount of votes the really rich nations get. The poor countries will have an incentive to improve their GDP, but taking the median instead of the mean help prevent the "my family owns 90% of the country" style "economic growth".

BTW I do reckon whoever wrote the article sure thinks in a funny way - Nigeria a democracy?! I suppose we're talking about the Heinleinesque "only the military gets to vote" democracy (don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of his books....kinda)?

I find it pathetic that many African nations (and really some don't deserve to be called a nation - because that do require some form of government doing some governing) go about complaining about "biased western media" and bring out that whole tired "colonialism" argument when they are the ones too busy murdering their own people or inciting civil wars in their neighbours. If they spend as much time and resources on improving their countries' economy as they do killing each other the continent would't be the shithole it still is. And really if colonialism is all to blame how come some of the former colonies in South East Asia are doing so much better? (Granted I won't call many of them a proper democracy, but they're paradises compared to their African counterparts)

As far as colonialism goes the Brits are positively stellar world citizens compared to the French, Spanish or worse the Dutch (no offense to any Dutch people but they were the meanest bunch of SOBs when it came to wiping out the natives...)

[ Parent ]
Thank you, Hopfrog! (2.57 / 7) (#38)
by wji on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 07:21:17 PM EST

I was waiting to hear the reasons behind the anti-Mugabe hate campaign; it obviously didn't seem right that the Western media were acting out of their long-held love for democracy. I don't think the elections were free and fair, but by regional standards (or Florida standards) they were as good as could possibly be expected, under any regime.

Still, the supression of dissent and ownership of the press worries me. I'm afraid that sanctions, covert operations, or some other plot would give Mugabe an excuse to just get worse, and I wish we would work to make things better instead of taking our traditional pro-democracy stance: democracy is when our guy wins.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.

Mugabe, upholder of democracy and human values. (5.00 / 5) (#42)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 08:12:07 PM EST

Yes, I wholehartedly agree. Hate campaign against poor Mr Mugabe, that is what we are witnessing.

How does anybody dare to criticize such an enlghtened politician, a great fighter for freedom of expresion, promoter of the best interests of his people, and a very important constructive force in the rebuilding of Southern Africa?

Mr Mugabe had so far only 20 years to improve his country. The task is hard, he will need another 20 years more. At least.

The Western media should be ashamed of its unsubstantiated witch hunt of such an outstaning individual.


---
"At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look;
at forty-five they are caves in which we hide." F. Scott Fitzgerald.
[ Parent ]

Rationality, please? (3.00 / 2) (#93)
by wji on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 10:16:24 AM EST

I never once said I approved of anything Mugabe's done, or that the media hate campaign was made up of false accusations.

But if the media are acting on principles of human rights, not out of service to power, why is it that principles of human rights only apply to the enemy? Why have the electoral antics of a single despot assumed center stage while shocking, brutal atrocities and virulently authoritarian regimes (when they're our allies, anyway) are relegated to the back pages?

A google search of cbc.ca, website of the national public broadcasting agency here (dangerously leftist, and quite politically oriented compared to the corporate media), reveals 97 results for "chechnya" and 128 results for "zimbabwe". Zimbabwe has an maybe-elected president with authoritarian and racist leanings (compare, say, John Ashcroft). Chechnya has been brutally invaded and supressed in a massive terror campaign by Russia, killing thousands... for the second time. It also is quite important in understanding al Queda and other terrorist movements, another reason why it should be covered more. This all besides the fact that most of the Zimbabwe stories are from the last week, compared to years of fighting in Chechnya.

If we believed the media are acting on principled objection to undemocratic means, we would expect that a series of atrocities and massacres, conducted by an ally which can be influenced by our own policies, would recieve far greater attention than less significant abuses of democracy, committed by an enemy in a region where we have very little political influence. We would expect Chechen coverage to be many times more abundant then Zimbabwean coverage, and we do not see this.

The alternate explanation, which is rather obvious, is that the media are acting not out of concern for human rights but out of service to government and business elites. Therefore we see abundant hostile coverage of enemies of government/business elites, and much less, and much more generous coverage towards government/business allies.

None of this, of course, suggests that the media denunciations of Mugabe are neccessarily wrong; while one-sided and exaggerated they are probably justified. The point is that they are not being undertaken in defense of democracy, but for more cynical reasons. It's also wrong to suggest that reporters and editors are consciously lying or following orders; it's just that corporate, and to a lesser extent "public" media act like this, for reasons others have well described.

Anyway, that's my take on things, although I feel like I'm re-inventing the wheel every time I respond like this. These factors are well understood; they're hardly rocket science. Institutions, especially those that are organized for profit and not out of ideology, serve their owners -- big surprise.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

You know what - I don't give a fuck! (1.37 / 8) (#43)
by Phillip Asheo on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 08:38:17 PM EST

Its not like they have any oil, or other resources worth exploiting. Its not a particularly nice place to be white at the moment either. I think its about time the Europeans disengaged from Africa completely, and let the natives form a natural style of government, in keeping with the old tribal ways.

At the moment we seem to take far to much of a "colonial" approach. I mean, Ive even seen people wearing woolen suits, with ties in the searing heat of the Zimbabwean afternoon. Thats one white mans habit that surely cannot be healthy.

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long

By God... (3.30 / 10) (#45)
by rootz on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 08:56:30 PM EST

You know nothing, I repeat, nothing, of the detailed events of the past four years in Zimbabwe. And, despite your best intentions, your soundbite-style narration has only managed to skew your, and I fear, other's, perceptions of the issues that afflict that country to a terrible, terrible degree.

May I ask - did you even consider speaking to a Zimbabwean, of any political persuasion, to attempt to get some clarity into your story? Because, I guarantee you, if you had done so, some of your conclusions would have changed. Did you not think it was a bit of research worth performing?

I was considering writing a story concerning the Zimbabwean issue for this site - now I'm bloody well forced to, because a detailed correction of the inaccuracies, omissions and misinterpretations in this story would occupy more effort than a single comment is worth.

Dammit!

--
R.O.O.T.Z: Robotic Organism Optimized for Troubleshooting and Zoology

I'd welcome it (1.66 / 3) (#60)
by Hopfrog on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 03:22:00 AM EST

A second opinion is always good. I have done a considerable bit of research over the few months, so I know what I'm talking about.

Hop.

[ Parent ]

In the name of Allah ... (2.66 / 6) (#67)
by streetlawyer on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 04:07:20 AM EST

I cannot help but laugh when someone responds to a detailed article by saying "you know nothing", and then proceeds to offer not one single factual point of his own.

Ha ha ha ha ha.

That's the sound of me, laughing.

I was considering writing a story concerning the Zimbabwean issue for this site - now I'm bloody well forced to, because a detailed correction of the inaccuracies, omissions and misinterpretations in this story would occupy more effort than a single comment is worth.

Who wants to take my bet that this story never appears?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

idiot (none / 0) (#116)
by Sunir on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 02:11:08 AM EST

He said he was going to write an article about it. Well, he did and it took him just about two days, not a long time considering the depth of coverage.

Would you like some ketchup to put on your foot?

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

Let's phrase it as a logic puzzle (3.00 / 4) (#47)
by ariux on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 09:33:47 PM EST

(Anyone else remember Raymond Smullyan's Scientific American columns?)

Let us visit the land of Baz, where all people are knights, knaves, and villains. Knights can tell only the truth; villains can tell only lies; and knaves can tell either, at their option.

Now, Mr. Foo says that Mr. Bar is a villain, and Mr. Foo is known to be a knave. What, then, do we know about Mr. Bar?

Answer (1.00 / 1) (#51)
by glassware on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 10:31:15 PM EST

I'm answering because I love these sorts of puzzles... I believe that the correct interpretation is that Mr. Foo and Mr. Bar have opposite viewpoints. If Mr. Foo chooses to tell the truth in this instance, then Mr. Bar is a villain; if Foo happens to be lying, then Mr. Bar is a saint (or more precisely not a villain). Am I right?

[ Parent ]
Answer: We know nothing of Mr. Bar (none / 0) (#53)
by BlowCat on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 11:05:54 PM EST

The answer is that we know nothing of Mr. Bar because Mr. Foo is known to be a knave. Very simple, actually. Strange that it confused you.

[ Parent ]
White land ownership an non-issue (3.50 / 6) (#48)
by ckm on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 09:37:59 PM EST

I don't see how white land ownership is such an issue. In the US, something like 80% of wealth is controlled by 5% of the population. What's the difference? The ratio may be infact better in Zimbabwe....

Oh, they're white. I see. So that justifies taking away their land without compensation? Er, no. The fact is that Mugabe is behaving in the same fashion that every other tin-pot dictator in a 3rd world country that is about to loose his grip on power. White farmers (like it or not) have been the engine of Zimbabwe's economy. Land reform IS long overdue, but what is happening now is very far from being actual land reform.

If he were genuinelly popular and people did not want to throw him out of office, he would not have to resort to such tactics. The sad fact is that for Western countries, Mugabe is just a headache. There is no strategic interest in Zimbabwe. And the reason that southern African leaders have not openly critized him (yet) is that he is viewed as a fellow revolutionary.

It's too bad that Mugabe (and his supporters) don't have the courage and fortitude to embrace democracy. At this rate, he's going to de-stabilize the entire region. My guess is that bordering nations are hoping they can contain the problem while it sorts itself out...

Chris.

The difference? (4.50 / 2) (#50)
by mmcc on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 10:23:31 PM EST

In the US the majority of people accept that the US American rich became rich through had work, where as in Zimbabwe, the majority of people feel that the Zimbabwian rich became rich through injustice.

[ Parent ]
Hard Work? (3.66 / 3) (#73)
by Al Fresco on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 06:10:03 AM EST

Yeah, it's not as if a load of white people went over to America and stole the land off the natives...



[ Parent ]
Re: Hard Work (3.00 / 5) (#78)
by mmcc on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 06:40:25 AM EST

US land was stolen from the natives, as was the land in my home country Australia, and other colonies such as Canada and NZ.

In our colonies the ratio of Natives to Invaders is fairly low, as opposed to in Zimbabwe, where natives greatly outnumber Invaders.

My point was only one of perception. The majority in our colonies accept the prosperity of the Rich, because they perceive their countries to be fair (whether they are or not).

The natives are disillusioned in all the aforementioned countries, but are they only empowered to do anything about it in Zimbabwe, where they are the majority.

I disagree with the argument that rich farmers in Zimbabwe are being picked upon because they are white... they are being picked upon because people believe that they gained their privilege unfairly (which they did).



[ Parent ]

It's the people doing this (2.40 / 5) (#59)
by Hopfrog on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 03:18:25 AM EST

Rurual dwellers are farmers and they wan the land. THEY are taking the land away.

And don't forget Mugabe has support of about half his country which is the same as George Bush and better than Gerhad Schröder of Germany.

The difference between the US and Zimbabwe is how poor is defined. In the US if you are poor, you can't afford a TV, in Zimbabwe if you are poor, you can't afford medicine and you will die.

Mugabe as well as other African leaders do not care about your economic rhetoric fudge. They see people dying, and they want to do something about it. The heated attacks have only resulted in a hardening of stance and a unity. I don't think Mugabe would have won if not for the Blair attacks.

Hop.

[ Parent ]

It fascinates me... (2.14 / 7) (#52)
by glassware on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 10:52:37 PM EST

The same British press that idolizes George Bush, a politician who won an election where more people intended to vote for his opponent (but votes were disqualified due to arcane rules), vilifies Robert Mugabe, a politician who won an election where more people intended to vote for his opponent (but votes were disqualified due to arcane rules).

The analogy doesn't work because George Bush doesn't have roving bands of thugs.

But, it makes me uneasy to live in a country where "arcane rules" are more important than the intent of the voters, and cast my judgement on another country's arcane rules. Does Democracy require the full expense of ensuring that everybody's intent is followed precisely, or will nations be allowed to enact Jim-Crow laws in their own particular idiom? Mugabe assembled an election that had all the elements of a fair democracy, but yet had enough leeway to let him intimidate his opponents.

To state this in impartial terms: in the US, the Supreme Court rules that it is okay to refuse a recount because it is inconvenient (deadlines for vote submission may not be met) and the manual count is not guaranteed to be accurate. If we accept this standard, Zimbabwe could easily claim that opening new polling places in opposition strongholds is not necessary.

I am really tired of this whole Bush-election argument, considering that there are so many more urgent things to be done in the world today. But it hurts me that so many painful things are happening to so many parts of the world all at the same time. Regardless of what may or may not have happened in the past, I hope the United States will fight for full, participatory, direct Democracy in every country in the world, not neglecting poor insignificant countries such as Zimbabwe, even fighting in the countries of allies to whom Democracy is an abomination.

close (none / 0) (#66)
by streetlawyer on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 04:04:14 AM EST

The same British press that idolizes George Bush, a politician who won an election where more people intended to vote for his opponent (but votes were disqualified due to arcane rules), vilifies Robert Mugabe, a politician who won an election where more people intended to vote for his opponent (but votes were disqualified due to arcane rules).

Close, except for the fact that the verdict of many international observers was that "while the election was by no means free and fair, it most likely reflected the will of the people".

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

British press idolises Bush? (none / 0) (#83)
by davidmb on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 07:53:53 AM EST

I know that our Government seems to idolise the bloke, but our press don't (at least none that I read). The press seem to reflect public opinion, which basically still sees him as a liability.
־‮־
[ Parent ]
Daily Mail does... (none / 0) (#100)
by TuRRIcaNEd on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 01:00:36 PM EST

... but then again they divorced themselves from reality a long time ago.

It's interesting to theorise though that the Mail and Guardian are pushing the same line on something, for completely different reasons (i.e. The Mail secretly advocates a return to white rule, the good old Grauniad is at least trying to point out some human rights issues).

Tc.

"We're all f**ked. You're f**ked. I'm f**ked. The whole department's f**ked. It's been the biggest cock-up ever and we're all completely f**ked. - Sir Richard Mottram expounds the limits of spin
[ Parent ]

Mugabe a good guy? (5.00 / 9) (#54)
by freddie on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 12:54:56 AM EST

I can't believe that you are posting an article supporting Mugabe. Until last year Mugabe's closest associate was a man called Dr. 'Hitler' Hunzvi (1590 hits on google, should have come up in your research while writing up the article). This doctor was the leader of the war veteran's group that was leading the charge against the white farmers.

Dr. 'Hitler' Hunzvi chose his nickname himself, and described himself as an expert in 'torture surgery'. He also said he was "the meanest baddest terrorist" in Zimbabwe; needless to say his critics agreed. I picture if there was a VP of any country not in Africa that gave himself such a name, the outrage would be so tremendous that the entire country would nuked off the face of the earth.

I have to take an issue with the land redistribution. As you yourself said the farmers were not producing as the land was being redistributed. Just how can you expect them to keep producing? They can't produce after the land has been redistributed, and I can't imagine that they'd be very productive as it's been redistributed, knowing this redistribution often involves violence.

Last but not least, the farmers that move in are not likely to be nearly as productive as the ones that are being forced to move out. Science and technology have impacted farming a lot, and a good farmer will need to know a lot ranging from irrigation, crop rotation, mechanics (keeping the tractors running), etc.

The new farmers don't have that kind of training which is vital to any farming activity in a dry country such as Zimbabwe, and they'll be lucky if they can feed themselves afterwards.

For comparison, if arable land was more important than people, their training, skill, and technology, you would have Russia outproducing by over 200 times the Neatherlands in food production, when in fact the Neatherlands outproduces Russia.

Zimbabwe today is a case of slaughtering the goose of the golden egg.


Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein

Zimbabwe Is the Future (1.33 / 6) (#55)
by Baldrson on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 02:00:05 AM EST

If you want to see what the future holds for the world, just look to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is the future and the fun has already begun.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


Addressing the land issue (4.66 / 6) (#58)
by Hopfrog on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 03:10:49 AM EST

It seems that many people are interested in and commenting on the land issue. This is the background for the entire crisis, so let me handle this a little in depth.

Let's first of all remove race from this equation. We take it we have 4000 farmers which are in a union controlling 72% of the farming land, and the rest of the 12 million people are on the rest of the land. Is this good or bad for the economy?

It has advantages to have big commercial farms. The farms usually have more money to invest in modern equipment, they have collateral for loans, and during times of drought, there is more money available for fertilizers and similar things.

Because of this, commercial farming can produce enough food for the population and have more to export.

However, let us consider what happens to the rest of the farmers. Because they are crowded on a small piece of land and they are such a large number, each farmer gets a very small plot of land. This is the most inefficient form of farming, with the produce being less than what would be possible with that land. Because these farmers produce inefficiently, the land they are working on dies. It becomes overused and barren. so these farmers become even poorer, leading to a huge social conflict potential.

What I have cited just now is generic economics, and is seen on these satellite photos here. Look at the brown areas to the right. That's where 12 million people are huddled, and the green areas to the left are the commercial farms and nature reserves.

Obviously, commercial farming cannot work without most of the population becoming increasingly poorer.

The method proposed by the Government is small scale farming. The allocated farms are not small, but they are no longer the massive farms previously existent. In the satellite photos, we see that the area were small scale farming is practised in Zimbabwe is as good as the commercial farmland.

Small scale farming still has the problem of capital and loans. The solution are various associations such as the coffee growers association which are the umbrella under which it's members work. The association can loan to farmers, can study fertilization techniques, can import technology and distribute to the farmers.

Furthermore, small-scale farming is more competitive and flexible. Southern Africa is prone to droughts, during which time small scale farmers would find it easier to temporarily switch to another crop than the commercial farmers. In response to new needs, small scale farmers would find it easier to take on a new crop than commercial. Being more competitive means that small scale farmers should always want to outdo the neighbouring farm, and will try to make his crop better, using technological means. This has clear advantages.

With small-scale farms, the entire population are not going to get farms. A number of people will get big farms, and the rest will have to work on these farms. But the result of the redistribution is that rather than the bulk of the money going to the 4500 farmers and the government (taxes), the availailable money in the economy is distributed more equaly in the scociety. This means that more people have money to pay for services, leading to more money in the urban areas. It also leads to more investment in things like cars, houses etc., which brings money to the labouring classes - bricklayers, mechanics, etc.

So rather than much money being concentrated, money is spread amongst the population leading to a better life for all.

Also, politically, there is too much power in the 4500 farmers. This is the "big company" we are afraid of. Take the current situation. The farmers banded together and stopped producing food. As a result, the GDP was negative over the last 2 years. This is a horror situation, and this threat means that the farmers could do next to anything they wanted. This is a real example of a bad monopoly, like we accuse Microsoft to be, and it is a monopoly that must be broken up.

Finally, do not make the mistake to think that land is being randomly carved up into square plots for use by the uneducated natives. There is a system to it.

Hop.

In addition (3.00 / 1) (#61)
by Hopfrog on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 03:24:06 AM EST

I'd like to point out a nice article in the Guardian about this same issue.

Hop.

Rhodesia: 1975 Zimbabwe: 2002 (2.61 / 18) (#63)
by grahamthomas on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 03:45:00 AM EST

Introduction

I am a South Africa who was born in Natal, I have lived in South Africa for many years, and in Rhodesia for a few years, and have travelled to many other parts of the world. I am still in South Africa, and have a cousin still living in Zimbabwe.

Let's take a look at the differences between Zimbabwe and Rhodesia, and how Rhodesia became "Zimbabwe".

1975: Rhodesia.

The streets of Salisbury are wide, the sunlight shimmers majestically as it reflects from the numerous glass towers. Salisbury is a bustling, prosperous town, where commerce is conducted freely and business booms. Salisbury, like many other towns and cities in Rhodesia, is home to the Wise English Rhodesians, the Wisest of all the Children of Africa.

Health care is provided free of charge to all of the population of Rhodesia, the farms in Rhodesia are the most productive in Africa. Light and wisdom shine brightly, the wise rule of Ian Smith allows Rhodesia to become the greatest Nation in Africa - the Jewel of Africa. Nowhere else in Africa does light and wisdom shine as brightly as in Rhodesia, not even in South Africa, at that time a prosperous nation itself.

But the Natives in Rhodesia looked on to what the Wise English Rhodesians had acheived, and petulantly demanded that everything be handed over to them. The Wise resisted, but eventually, the ungrateful, whining natives could not be restrained: by way of terrorist actions and complaining profusely at their "unfair" treatment, they managed to rally support outside of Rhodesia. A clash looked inevitable.

2002: Zimbabwe

That clash happened, just a few years later, and in 1980 the independent nation of "Zimbabwe" was formed. The Natives were very lucky indeed, that the Wise Rhodesians, in their wisdom, had become Men of Peace. They were reluctant to fight, and eventually, because of the international pressure brougth against them, and because of the sheer number of fighting natives, whose only language was that of violence, they were overthrown. Had they not been Men of Peace, they would have wiped out the Natives entirely, for their strength in the noontide of Rhodesia's power was very great.

After 1980, the Natives systematically destroyed the once-vibrant economy of Rhodesia. Zimbabwe became a land where wisdom and light were forgotten - a lawless and terrible land. The economy was almost completely wiped out. The Wise English Rhodesians, the wisest of all the Children of Africa, were forced to leave - most of them either left for distant shores, or travelled south, to the last haven of Wisdom in Africa - South Africa. The Wise who remained in Zimbabwe did their best to maintain the economy, to no avail.

A few years ago, the Natives, still having not learned their lesson, petulantly demanded that the last economic stronghold of Zimbabwe, the farms, owned and run by the Wise, be handed over. The Wise tried to resist, and the Natives became violent and invaded.

Zimbabwe's economy is not even an echo of what it once was. Rhodesia, once the msot profitable and successful of any Nation in Africa, is now a joke, even by African economic standards.



spelling correction (4.12 / 8) (#64)
by streetlawyer on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 04:01:34 AM EST

Why have you consistently misspelled "White" as "Wise"?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
No, I'm sorry. (2.50 / 6) (#68)
by grahamthomas on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 04:26:54 AM EST

That is not a spelling mistake. The Natives aren't inherently bad people, and I know that a lot of people will try and twist my words to "prove" that I'm saying just that.

While the Natives aren't bad people, and they are capable of learning wisdom and lore, the fact remains that the Natives in Africa are not anywhere near the level of the whites in Africa in terms of these things, and it's been proven time and again - no Native-led country in Africa has proven remotely successful, whereas countries in Africa led by the Wise have grown prosperous. I'm sorry if this offends you, but in terms of wisdom, skill and beauty, the whites do surpass the Natives.

I believe, though, that we can work together and live as equals, the Wise and the Natives. But putting the Natives in positions of power makes as much sense as putting an electrician in charge of the accounting department at an Accounting Firm.

Take this short analogy as an example. You have 10 individuals on an island. Three of them are greatly experienced, wise, and highly skilled. The other seven are vibrant, good people, but they lack the wisdom, skill and experience of the Frist Three. Why would anyone put the Last Seven in charge of the island? Does it make any sense to do so? If you really believe so, could you tell us why? It's not an equality issue, the Last Seven would not be considered inferior in any way, but it would have to be admitted that there are areas where the First Three do have advantages and logic would dictate that they should be put in positions where they could utilize those avantages for the good of al Ten of the people on the island.



[ Parent ]
Further spelling correction (3.87 / 8) (#70)
by streetlawyer on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 05:34:06 AM EST

To put my same point, perhaps a little more bluntly: in your reply, why have you consistently misspelled "Niggers" as "Natives"?

To spell it out even more bluntly: Why are you ashamed of writing what you really think about the difference races involved?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

No, you wouldn't. (none / 0) (#84)
by Ward57 on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 08:02:02 AM EST

You'd form a senate of ten people, which anyone would have the right to address. If the three were really so wise, their arguments would carry the day. This is known as democracy. Plus, the ratio of blacks to whites in Zimbabwe is not three to seven, or even close.

Tim Whitworth

[ Parent ]
Sure, sure (4.50 / 2) (#85)
by grahamthomas on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 08:17:38 AM EST

This is known as democracy

Yes!! and this is exactly what's happening in Zimbabwe right now, isn't it? Oh - no - wait...actually, there is one dictator who has ruled for 20 years without elections, and when he was finally pressurized into holding elections, he sent out "letters of objection", or downright beat up supporters of opposition political parties, and generally threatened everyone who didn't agree with his political ideals, and then held an election that most of the world agrees was not free or fair. Gosh! Aren't politically correct apologists fun?

Plus, the ratio of blacks to whites in Zimbabwe is not three to seven, or even close.

Nope, not now. Now it's more like 1000-1, but in 1975 it was "anywhere close." Poor family planning, irresponsibility on the part of the government and medical services in the New "improved" Zimbabwe has ensured that now there are tons more black people in Zimbabwe, and the HIV rate has increased at an even higher rate than the population has.

Thanks for your reply, though.



[ Parent ]
I don't like feeding trolls (1.00 / 1) (#87)
by Hopfrog on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 08:50:32 AM EST

And thats why I've abstained from answering to your points till now. But stop lying outright.

There have been elections every 6 years, and you know it.

Whites have ALWAYS been less than 1% of the total population of Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwe does NOT have an overpopulation problem. The land is large, and the population is low, compared to ANY european country.

Hop.

[ Parent ]

lol. (none / 0) (#90)
by grahamthomas on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 09:13:30 AM EST

Whites have ALWAYS been less than 1% of the total population of Zimbabwe

This is complete nonsense.

The current population of Zimbabwe is 11,365,366 The number of whites in Zimbabwe is around 30,000. That's less than 1%. In the past, the population of Zimbabwe was less than half what it is now, and there were around 750,000 whites. That's around 15%.

Sorry, but thanks for responding anyway.



[ Parent ]
What utter nonsense (none / 0) (#91)
by Hopfrog on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 09:27:49 AM EST

The white population of Rhodesia always stayed well under 250 000. The black population was around 6 or 7 million at the time when the most whites were still there.

A very large outnumbering, and PLEASE, do not lie here again. If you claim something, back it up.

Hop.

[ Parent ]

pfffft. (none / 0) (#92)
by grahamthomas on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 09:46:05 AM EST

What I've said is verifiable. Check the CIA World Factbook for starters. Check out any factual history book on Zimbabwe/Rhodesia after that. What about what you said? That is nonsense. Tell me where you get the "facts" that there were never more than 250,000 whites in Rhodesia.

" a ... in 1910 ... 22,505 whites, 712,432 African natives .... in 1976 ... some 500,000 whites ... some 6 million African natives "

Ok, so I was wrong in saying "1/2", and I was wrong about the number of whites in the 1970s in Rhodesia. However, I am still a lot closer to the mark than you were. "always under 250,000"? Get real.



[ Parent ]
Here is a link to your Führer (none / 0) (#96)
by Hopfrog on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 11:34:25 AM EST

And it say there how many white Zimbabweans there were.

Hop.

[ Parent ]

Repressed feelings of guilt? (4.00 / 2) (#97)
by grahamthomas on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 11:55:57 AM EST

Interesting that you choose the word "Furher" and that you claim that he was "mine". Considering I'm South African, not Zimbabwean, it proves that you can't read and that you jump to conclusions without examing facts.

Second, we learn that you are trying to compare Ian Smith to Adolf Hitler, a man whose regime killed 6 million Jews and millions Russians and other people. You obviously have no grip on reality. I'm sorry that you are German and are therefore criticisng people of other nationalities to try and "justify" the fact that Germany committed atrocities in the 1930s and 1940s. However, the good news is that there are a lot of Germans out there (most in fact) who don't resort to this, and I think that you should try and learn something from them, instead of making incredible comparisons between Hitler and Smith.

Third, you try and demonize Smith as much as possible, but overlook the atrocities, 10 times worse or more, that Mugabe is imposing on his "own" people. The ordinary Zimbabwean on the street has NEVER been worse off than he is today. Things are looking very bad in Zimbabwe right now, and Smith is out of the picture. He hasn't been in the picture for 20 years+. There is noone left for you to blame. Mugabe and his government have been in power for the last 20 years, they have never had a free and fair election during their reign, and there are facts that you just can't seem to admit: Zimbabwe's economy is in ruins. This is not the whites' fault. The economy was good under Smith, it is bad under Mugabe. Deal with it. Prices of common goods have gone through the roof and since the Zim $ is worth less than nothing, they can't buy anything with it anyway. This is not the whites' fault. In the 1970s, the Zim currency was worth more than the US $. Mugabe is a raging lunatic, he kills people left right and center, blantantly for not accepting his political ideas. Mugabe has performed more atrocities against his "own" people than Smith did. If you want to refute this, cite facts rather than apologist ramblings. Zimbabwe is in the worst position economically, socially, and politically than it ever has been. And 20 years on, Mugabe, and you, apparently, still blame the whites. Un-fucking-believable.



[ Parent ]
Tossed Into the Mix (none / 0) (#98)
by virg on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 12:32:51 PM EST

Let me toss this question into the mix, then. Why does it not seem to occur to either of you that this may not be a racial issue at all? The way I see it from both of your arguments, Smith was a bad leader because his government was oppressive to most of the population, and Mugabe is a bad leader for very much the same reason. Why do both of you continue to argue whether black or white rule is better when it's not the common ground?

Note to Hopfrog: you need to check your facts more carefully. It took me very little time (and no help from grahamthomas) to disprove your numbers.

Notes to grahamthomas: you need to stop being so myopic. Again and again you drive the point that the Wise have been gone for twenty years, so they can't possibly be to blame for what's wrong, and that's historically incorrect. To take an obvious example, one hundred years after the end of the American Civil War black people in the southern U.S. were not allowed to enter certain buildings or use certain facilities, they were often forbidden from living in certain places, and were routinely mistreated by the white population. You can easily claim that this mistreatment was not the fault of the Confederate leaders or slave-owning landholders, and you'd be just as wrong. I find that in so many cases of "Africa was better when the Wise were there" there's a notable lack of anyone black who lived in those days and pines now for the way things were, and I find that to be telling. If you refute by saying that the reason for that is that they're all greedy and didn't know what they had, that's sound evidence that you stereotype them all together, and from where I stand that's simple bigotry. Also, your argument about the 3 Wise/7 Natives on an island is extremely biased, and although I disagree with your friend Hopfrog that Hitler can be compared accurately to Smith, if you really think that this island is an accurate representation of the real world, then Hitler can comfortably be compared to you. I've met members of the Aryan Nation who were less blunt about their bias than you with that example, and I ask you in return that if the island belonged to the Natives before the Wise showed up, why do they think they have any claim on the governance of that island, and why don't they simply act as advisors if they're so wise, instead of designing to take over entirely, considering that it's somehow their right and that the Natives should "know their place" and bow down to them? That sounds like several passages from Mein Kampf loosely translated, and you should be ashamed of yourself for not realizing that.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Stop putting words in my mouth (none / 0) (#101)
by grahamthomas on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 01:00:57 PM EST

if you really think that this island is an accurate representation of the real world

Please show me where I ever stated or suggested this.

Hitler can comfortably be compared to you

I'm not even going to respond to this. As they say on Newsgroups, when posters start comparing eachother to Nazis or Hitler, the discussion is over since the other party has nothing useful to say. I'm sorry, but this almost invalidates the rest of your post. I have never compared anyone to Hitler and I'm sorely dissapointed that you would stoop as low to.

I find that in so many cases of "Africa was better when the Wise were there" there's a notable lack of anyone black who lived in those days and pines now for the way things were

I think that the people who are now starving in Zimbabwe, have no chance of a free or fair election, and have almost no purchasing power to the point of neccessary goods being labelled "luxury goods" would disagree with you. It's difficult to imagine anyone thinking that the situation in Zimbabwe now is better than the situation in Rhodesia was. Zimbabwe has gone from being the breadbasket of Africa to having to import food - to me, THAT is a telling sign. Zimbabwe has gone from a country with free medical care and a booming economy to one where neccessary goods are scarce and medical health is almost non-existant. To me, THAT is a telling sign. No matter who was ruling at the time, I'm sure that the blacks who are old enough to remember Smith's government won't deny that some aspects of it, such as the food and luxury items aspects, were better.

I've met members of the Aryan Nation who were less blunt about their bias than you with that example, and I ask you in return that if the island belonged to the Natives before the Wise showed up, why do they think they have any claim on the governance of that island

This is incorrect, and you are twisting my words. I never claimed that they would have any inherent "right to governance". I did claim that they would do a better job of governing the island, and if you want to disprove that, cite some facts, or examples, or something to prove it, because there isn't much that would back that logic up, real or imaginary.

considering that it's somehow their right and that the Natives should "know their place" and bow down to them?

Again, you claim I said something that I didn't. Please show me where I claimed that the Natives should "bow down".

That sounds like several passages from Mein Kampf loosely translated, and you should be ashamed of yourself for not realizing that.

Your version of it does, yes. What I said doesn't resemble what you said very much at all, though. You are putting words in my mouth, and I'd appreciate it if you didn't. So far you have compared me to Hitler (or at least suggested comparing me to Hitler), put a whole lot of words in my mouth by twisting the words that I actually said, and in general have tried to take the moral highground at every opportunity.



[ Parent ]
Okay, We'll Do This The Hard Way (none / 0) (#102)
by virg on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 01:45:08 PM EST

Since you and I are both guilty of dissecting, I'll put this to you in very short, very direct questions, so as to avoid implications or misunderstandings.

1.) Do you think that a white person that acts like Mugabe would be better than Mugabe in this scenario, and why or why not?

2.) Do you think in general that white leaders are better than black leaders, and if so, why?

3.) Do you think that the Wise leaving and the Natives taking over is the overarching reason for the decline of Zimbabwe?

4.) Why did you answer as you did in question 3 above?

5.) What is it that makes Natives intrinsically less able to handle their own governance, in your opinion? (My basis for this question is your comment: " I'm sorry if this offends you, but in terms of wisdom, skill and beauty, the whites do surpass the Natives.")

6.) What do you feel are the reasons for what you answered in question 6 above?

There. Now there will be no accusations that I'm telling your story for you (the only reference to your words is a direct quote), and these questions are direct and concise. Answer them, and then I'll defend my arguments based on those answers, if I can.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Too ambiguous. Don't twist my words again btw :) (3.00 / 1) (#106)
by grahamthomas on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 02:21:01 PM EST

1.) Do you think that a white person that acts like Mugabe would be better than Mugabe in this scenario, and why or why not?

No, I think that if a white person acted like Mugabe they would be the same as Mugabe. But a white person who acts like Mugabe is not the same as comparing Ian Smith to Mugabe - comparing Rhodesia to Zimbabwe economically is evidence that Smith was a better leader than Mugabe is.

2.) Do you think in general that white leaders are better than black leaders, and if so, why?

In terms of political and economic leadership? Yes. Look around at black-led African countries.

3.) Do you think that the Wise leaving and the Natives taking over is the overarching reason for the decline of Zimbabwe?

Not really. There were a lot of factors, but the key factor was the rule of Mugabe and his henchmen. It's difficult to answer this question without knowing what aspect of Zimbabwe you're talking about.

4.) Why did you answer as you did in question 3 above?

I'm sorry, I'll have to pass on this question as I couldn't answer any of the questions fully.

5.) What is it that makes Natives intrinsically less able to handle their own governance, in your opinion? (My basis for this question is your comment: " I'm sorry if this offends you, but in terms of wisdom, skill and beauty, the whites do surpass the Natives.")

I'm sorry, I don't know the answer to that question. Why are beds bigger than breadboxes? I don't know. I bet that you won't be surprised when you try and sleep on a breadbox and it collapses, though. I'll have to pass on that question, it's too ambiguous.

6.) What do you feel are the reasons for what you answered in question 6 above?

I'll have to pass on that question, as I couldn't answer most of those questions fully.



[ Parent ]
Round Two (none / 0) (#107)
by virg on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 03:28:26 PM EST

Okay, here's round two, where I'll dig into the answers you did give.

As a side note: in response to your comment, "But a white person who acts like Mugabe is not the same as comparing Ian Smith to Mugabe" I did wish to add that it was Hopfrog that made that comparison, not me. I think Ian Smith was not a good leader, but I don't think he's a white Mugabe.

Based on your answers to questions 2 and 5 above, you think that white leaders are better than black leaders, citing the countries of black-led Africa as proof, but you claim you don't know why (BTW, a bed is bigger than a breadbox because breadboxes are built to hold bread, and beds are built to hold humans, and in general humans are bigger than bread, and you've demonstrated enough logical capacity to have derived this answer on your own, so my conclusion is that you wish to use a straw man to deride my question).

So, since you've demonstrated a propensity to dismiss my questions as ambiguous, I'll be as blunt as I can in this. Here goes.

1.) Do you, or do you not, believe that the color of the skin of an African leader is the major contributor to the economic status and political stability of an African nation (good or bad)?

2.) If not, how do you reconcile that to your statement (again, your exact words), "I'm sorry if this offends you, but in terms of wisdom, skill and beauty, the whites do surpass the Natives"?

3.) Why do you think whites are wiser than blacks?

4.) Why do you think their skill surpasses blacks?

5.) Do you or do you not believe that, with the same level of education, a black person can develop to the same level as a white person in the ability to govern?

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Schluss! (none / 0) (#99)
by Hopfrog on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 12:59:05 PM EST

I refuse to be drawn into any racial argument. They never end.

Hop.

[ Parent ]

Cobblers... (none / 0) (#72)
by maroberts on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 05:57:49 AM EST

I *really* disagreed with the parent, and I even suspected it for trollism, but I still uprated it.

Why ?

Because the views expressed seem to reflect the patronising attitude that a lot of ex-Rhodesians who I've heard comment seem to have.

Like most stories justifying a regime that was oppressive to the majority of the population; there are however several elements of truth. The economy of Zimbabwe is completely stuffed, the sad fact is 20 years of Zanu PF rule have not done Zimbabwe any favours. If land redistibution was to occur, common sense says that such reform must be achievable without the cost of total economic ruin. It is true that at the end of white rule the future of the economy of Zimbabwe looked bright and rosy.

Many people say that it is better to be free and poor than rich and in chains, but under Mugabe the whole population seems to have swapped one form of oppression for another, and lost any wealth they once had.

~~~
The greatest trick the Devil pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist -- Verbil Kint, The Usual Suspects
[ Parent ]
Your argument doesn't make sense. (2.50 / 6) (#74)
by grahamthomas on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 06:24:24 AM EST

Like most stories justifying a regime that was oppressive to the majority of the population

How did it oppress the population? Under Smith, the Natives had free medical care, they were entitled to sections of land specifically labelled as Tribal Land, their ancestral rights in this regard were observed by the Government, there were shortages of NOTHING, and Rhodesia was, to be quite blunt, a wealthy, prosperous nation.

Fast-forward to 2002, and there are shortages of food, the economic output of the country is a joke, even essential items are being labelled as "luxury goods", the crime rate is up, political murders are the order of the day - the rule of law is not followed and Law and order has been made a mockery of.

It's ridiculous that people are still making excuses for Mugabe and his crew of thugs. Mugabe is no leader - Smith was a leader. Rhodesia was beautiful and prosperous, Zimbabwe is ugly and falling to peices. What part of this do you not understand? Go ahead and change your moderation to "0". It won't change the facts.



[ Parent ]
eish (4.40 / 5) (#76)
by chia on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 06:30:05 AM EST

k5 is a forum for intelligent and thoughtful debate of which your post has neither. but the thing that really annoys me is that people will read this and believe that this represents the views of South Africans.

I will not say that it does not, there is a small group at the wrong end of the intelligence bell curve who will continue to believe in such things, but I can reassure ppl that your kind are dying off everyday and your numbers grow small. Sadly you will always be around to spew your filth on fourms like this, but your views grow more insignificant each day. Enjoy using Mugabe while you can. Go on admit it you really love the old bloke dont you? I pray to god i've been trolled.


Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. O Wilde
[ Parent ]
Bleh (3.00 / 2) (#79)
by grahamthomas on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 07:10:08 AM EST

k5 is a forum for intelligent and thoughtful debate of which your post has neither

How about arguing with facts instead of insults? Fact: Rhodesia was a prosperous country with a solid economy. Fact: There were no shortages of common essential goods which are now, in the New "Improved" Zimbabwe, are being labelled "luxury goods"

but the thing that really annoys me is that people will read this and believe that this represents the views of South Africans.

South Africans who are familiar with Zimbabwe's history will undoubtedly have the same opinion. Rhodesia was a successful, vibrant country. Zimbabwe is not. Are you seriously telling me that you believe that it's all due to colonialism, although Zimbabwe has been independent for 20 years+? You are annoyed by the fact that some people can look beyond politically correct bullshit and see the plain truth of the situation?

I will not say that it does not, there is a small group at the wrong end of the intelligence bell curve who will continue to believe in such things, but I can reassure ppl that your kind are dying off everyday and your numbers grow small.

Yes, and the people at the higher end of the curve, such as yourself, undoubtedly feel that Zimbabwe is in a much better position now than Rhodesia was in the 1970s. Of course, all of Zimbabwe's current problems must be blamed on the whites, who have not ruled there in 20+ years, but still, it must somehow still be their fault that Zimbabwe is a complete mess. Give me a break. Seriously. You have nothign to argue with except personal insults. Your arguments are illogical, but, luckily, they fit in with the current politically correct partyline that no black man can do anything wrong, and it must always be the white man's fault. If anyone suggests otherwise, they are racist and must be moderated to "0".

Sadly you will always be around to spew your filth on fourms like this, but your views grow more insignificant each day.

Listen buddy, political murders, countrywide shortages in essential goods and food, rapes, violence and murders is filth. And that's exactly what's happening in Zimbabwe now. So stop apologizing for the government in Zimbabwe and suggest real solutions - and don't tell me that what I'm saying is "filth". Rhodesia was in a much better position than Zimbabwe is in today, and PC apoligists like yourself can deny it all you want, but that isn't help the people in Zimbabwe right now, black and white, who are suffering because of Mugabe's incompetence.



[ Parent ]
ok (none / 0) (#115)
by chia on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 10:10:29 AM EST

i agree graham that i didnt argue any facts, my reply was emotional. i dont intend to argue the facts either as based on your replies to other people in this thread it is obvious that you are a zealot and no argument will change your point of view. its a shame but you are destined to live out your life believing in what you believe. Like all the other fanatics in this world who exist for and in their own beliefs you will never be changed. in this sense you are much like Mugabe himself. pls dont put words in my mouth, as i have said i decline to argue with you, i merely wish to make you aware that you are embaressing yourself and your country and to not let people think you hold a normal south african viewpoint. goodbye.


Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. O Wilde
[ Parent ]
2002: USA (none / 0) (#86)
by pyramid termite on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 08:41:11 AM EST

Where the Wise Children of Many Countries look at the "Wise children of Africa" and "The Natives" , shake their heads, and say "Ain't it a shame what those morons are doing to each other?"(br) (br) Don't expect *our* troops to come to Zimbabwe to bail the "Wise Children" out, OK?
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Your troops (1.00 / 4) (#88)
by grahamthomas on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 09:06:04 AM EST

Don't expect *our* troops to come to Zimbabwe to bail the "Wise Children" out, OK?

Hmmm, no... I don't think anyone can reasonably expect your troops to do anything, at least with any level of efficiency (including not blowing up your own tanks), as has been proven multiple times in countries like Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

Add this to the fact that your country has no idea of what security actually means, as was proven by the 9/11 attacks, and the fact that your country's national debt is the highest of any country in the world, despite it's supposedly superior economy, the US education system is a complete joke ("nite", "color", etc? "Creationism"??) at all but the tertiary level, and even there only in a few selected universities and the fact that a major downturn in the US economy has forced many companies to outsource projects to forgein countries with more favourable exchange rates, and add all that to the fact that the US government has become an extremely bloated, ineffective, bearucratic nightmare, and I think that you might have to agree that the US has a lot of its own problems and should deal with them before sending their troops out to "bail out" other countries, which is laughable in any case, since the US military has proven that it is pretty useless at actual operations, (except taking credit for what other countries do, ala WW2) and should stick to research and development. (but I suppose that you'll try and convince everyone that Americans invented everything anyway so there's no point in even suggesting that a lot of US researchers come from other countries as well).

Whatever. Why don't you just go and plant another American flag in your garden so that you can sing the Star Spangled Banner when you're feeling especially patriotic.



[ Parent ]
FYI (o/t) (none / 0) (#94)
by makaera on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 11:03:17 AM EST

As a percentage of GNP the US national debt is quite reasonable. Because the US economy is so large, it can easily carry more debt.

"Ninety rounds in there," Joel Andrews said. "If you can't take it down with 90 rounds, you better turn in your badge!" -- from Washington Post
[ Parent ]

Heh... (4.66 / 6) (#89)
by rootz on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 09:08:17 AM EST

Within your pretentious screed, obese with the pomposity of your failing memory, you omit several items of interest:

Salisbury is a bustling, prosperous town, where commerce is conducted freely and business booms

For some, yes it was. For the rest, living in "townships", unable to reside within specific areas of the city, unable by discrimination and economic marginalisation to aspire to any profession more exalted than teaching - well, Salisbury would hardly be seen in these terms.

the farms in Rhodesia are the most productive in Africa

Off the back of cheap, immigrant labour from Malawi and other surrounding countries, 7000 farmers could do naught else, could they? And with 4 million "natives" crammed, by law (the Land Apportionment Act of 1930) into the remaining 53% of the country, one can extrapolate the environmental issues (overstocking, that would afflict the remainder of the country. But so long as the white farmers remain productive, that just does not matter, does it?

and because of the sheer number of fighting natives, whose only language was that of violence, they were overthrown. Had they not been Men of Peace, they would have wiped out the Natives entirely, for their strength in the noontide of Rhodesia's power was very great

Does anyone else catch the inherent contradiction in this statement? This, more than anything else, convinces me that you're nothing more than an old fart blowing wind out your ass.

The Wise English Rhodesians, the wisest of all the Children of Africa, were forced to leave

No-one was forced to leave - anyone who left at Independence did so of their own free will. Mugabe's reconciliation speech at Independence is one of the reasons he was lauded as the new face of Africa by the West, at the time. Regrets, heh?

the Natives, still having not learned their lesson, petulantly demanded that the last economic stronghold of Zimbabwe, the farms, owned and run by the Wise, be handed over. The Wise tried to resist, and the Natives became violent and invaded

You conveniently fail to mention the Lancaster House Agreement, the support lent by the British government in the '80s to the land redistribution exercise, and the failure of the Labour govt. to resume this aid in 1997, as well as the maneouvering of the white farmers in the early '90s to avoid any sort of concession to the land redistribution program. How seriously, then, should you be taken?

You appear to be the sort of person referred to as a "when-we" - determined to cast every failure of an African country in a racial light. An old, embittered, racist Rhodesian whose presence in a multicultural society is more a demonstration of that society's tolerance than of your ability to adapt to that environment. I'd advise you to stick with your memories of gin and tonic on the verandah, because that's all you're going to get.

None of the foregoing should be taken as as inability to acknowledge the many and varied failures of the ZANU-PF government in Zimbabwe over the last 22 years. This is a set of adjustments to any false impressions that may arise out of the revisionist and incomplete history being presented by one grahamthomas.

--
R.O.O.T.Z: Robotic Organism Optimized for Troubleshooting and Zoology
[ Parent ]

Take up the White Man`s burden (4.00 / 1) (#95)
by Pac on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 11:03:21 AM EST

Send forth the best ye breed--
Go, bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait, in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.

Kipling expressed better than I ever could the loathe and despise I fell for the racist ideas you express. The white bigots that ruled South Africa and Rodhesia are among the most cruel and misguided actors of the bloddy history of Africa colonization.

But then again, here am I feeding an obvious troll. Stupid me.


Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
That's not the history... (none / 0) (#114)
by ariux on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 06:51:04 AM EST

...one usually hears.

[ Parent ]

The devil is in the details (4.00 / 3) (#65)
by Synthoid on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 04:03:56 AM EST

The main reason that Zimbabwe is getting so much more media attention than the Congo elections or the situation in Madagascar is that it is a member of the Commonwealth. This means that what is happening inside Zimbabwe is of direct interest to countries such as South Africa and Britain. In addition it means that Zimbabwe has agreed to follow certain good governance practices.

The South African observers' report does not state that they observed a free and fair election. President Mbeki has also not labled the election free and fair.

For the full text click here.

SA observers change mind over Zim poll

Posted Mon, 18 Mar 2002

South Africa's parliamentary observer team, which has begun debate on its report into the Zimbabwean presidential election, has dropped a draft conclusion that the poll was "substantially free and fair" after pressure from MPs, a source told Sapa on Monday.

.

"We are going through the draft report line by line. There was a conclusion that the election was substantially free and fair, but we said that was impossible and agreed to drop that.

Also, note that the oposition parties do not agree with the government report, and that the two SADC (South African Development Community which comprises 12 Southern African countries) observer missions disagree. Click here for the whole article.
ANC says Zim poll 'credible'

Posted Tue, 19 Mar 2002

The South African Parliamentary Observer Mission has stopped short of declaring the Zimbabwean presidential election free and fair, although the African National Congress majority on the committee has declared the poll "credible".

.

Opposition parties disagree

Opposition parties including the Inkatha Freedom Party, the Democratic Alliance, the New National Party, the African Christian Democratic Party, the Pan Africanist Congress and the United Christian Democratic Party have given a minority report disagreeing with the ANC conclusion.

The United Democratic Movement has yet to make up its mind.

The minority report lists several reasons why the election cannot be described as free and fair, including the existence of "no-go areas", the gross dereliction of duty by Zimbabwe's partisan police force and the legal and constitutional framework that gave the ruling Zanu-PF an unfair advantage.

The minority report aligns itself with the findings of the Southern African Development Community parliamentary forum -- which unlike the region's council of ministers -- found that the election had not met SADC's norms and standards.

SADC has taken the two contradictiory reports and declared the election 'substantially free and fair'. In both South Africa and SADC dissenting views are being papered over.

On a final note, a topic as complicated as the representation of truth in the media should not be reduced to a simple yes/no poll. To use your own words, 'the Zimbabwe issue is a lot more complex'.

Politics and pressure (1.66 / 3) (#69)
by Hopfrog on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 04:45:54 AM EST

The African missions all came out from the elections declaring that they observed a free and fair elections. Suddenly, they have started revising their opinions.

Blair actually said in not so many words that countires which support Mugabe would get their foreign aid reduced.

This is despicable - because the leaders of the countries do not agree with him, thousands of the very poor should die? This is inteference in the sovereignity of a country, and an effort to get his will through in an undemocratic manner.

Hop.

[ Parent ]

Mugabe vs. Blair (5.00 / 4) (#80)
by Synthoid on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 07:43:00 AM EST

The reports that I have read state that the SADC missions disagreed. If you have a report that contradicts this, please post the URL.

Blair did not say that 'countires which support Mugabe would get their foreign aid reduced'. He said 'The reason I feel strongly about Zimbabwe is I know that if there is any sense in which African countries appear to be ambivalent towards good governance, that is the one thing that will undermine the confidence of the developed world in helping them.' Your summary of his words is biased.

What interests me about this debate is that you admit to irregularities such as gerrymandering, which by defenition mean that this was not a fair election. It was not free either due to what some South African observers called 'a climate of fear'. that was caused by things such as violence, politicized police and bombings of the independant press.

The question of 'intereference in the sovereignity of a country' is redundant. Zimbabwe is part of the Commonwealth, and has signed a number of agreements that allow the Commonwealth to get involved in its affairs.

[ Parent ]

Free Press (4.75 / 4) (#75)
by Al Fresco on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 06:27:42 AM EST

Mugabe, the current president of Zimbawe did not directly cheat during the elections.

But Mugabe's government controls the press. They passed a bill last month that means that all stories must get official approval.

I would call that cheating.



He delayed this till after the election (none / 0) (#77)
by Hopfrog on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 06:31:12 AM EST

I personally think he is taking this a bit too far. Zimbabwe has freedom of press. The stinging attacks on Mugabe that you see in Zimbabwean papers can be seen in very few African or Arab countries.

Because of this, Mugabe has got upset or whatever, and passed this new press law. However, he decided not to sign it till after the election. Just like he decided not to prosecute anybody for treason till after the election.

Debateable policies, and policies I don't like, but not responsible for his electoral victory.

Hop.

[ Parent ]

Oh really? (4.33 / 6) (#108)
by dipipanone on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 05:15:56 PM EST

And back to Africa. Obasanjo of Nigeria and Mbeki of South Africa control the 2 most powerful countries on the African continent. They are not dependent on Zimbabwe or Mugabe in any way, and are democratically elected presidents. Obasanjo even spent a few years in prison for his democratic views. Yet these leaders refuse to condemn Mugabe.

Actually, they've just both voted to expel Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth for the next 12 months.

Personally, I found the rest of your article similarly ill-informed, biassed and just plain wrong headed. Sometimes, just sometimes, white, western Eurocentric opinion happens to be in the right.

This is just another one of those occasions.

--
Suck my .sig
Mugabe sponsers murder (5.00 / 1) (#109)
by kaffiene on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 06:03:52 PM EST

Mugabe publicly and directly supports the process of removing farmers from their land by force - a process which has killed farmers in the past and led to another murder in the past few days.

This is your glorious leader fighting back the big bad british? (I'm a New Zealander, BTW).

Land reform may be long overdue, but you don't do it by killing your opponents.

Besides which, in NZ, 95% of the wealth is owned by less than 5% of the population - which is pretty much standard everywhere. I don't like it but it's not going to turn me into a murderer to get my share.

BTW: the video which allegedly proves the assassination attempt on Mugabe *was* played in the NZ media and it was *far* from convincing - low quality video, poor quality sound. Without forensic evidence that the video hadn't been edited, its hard to give it any credence at all.

The video is a blatant fake. (5.00 / 1) (#113)
by snacky on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 06:20:27 AM EST

They hardly even tried. Check this article.

Choice quotes:

Although this sounds like damning evidence, after each question or answer, the film suddenly jumps and the figures switch their seating positions, showing that the clip has been heavily edited.

"The timer... changed repeatedly from, 9.45am to 9.25am; and from 9.25am to 9.43am and then back to 9.27am; and from 9.52am to 9.44am," says the [Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe]



--
I like snacks
[ Parent ]

so how about democracy in oklahoma (1.00 / 1) (#110)
by turmeric on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 12:05:16 AM EST

repressive ballot access laws made it so that the green party could not get on the ballot, there were only 3 people in the 'president' box.

mugabe doesnt seem to have done anything different than the republican and democrat parties, who routinely conspire to destroy third parties, like when they kept ross perot out of the debates and made him out to be some wacko (ok so he is a wacko, but i bet he doesnt fuck his interns, or snort crack )



The interesting thing... (none / 0) (#111)
by radish on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 02:44:24 AM EST

is that both positions here have merit.

Mugabe definitely seems to have gone megalomaniac and (IMHO) ought to be ousted, but if you step back a bit from Mugabe himself, there's plenty of reason for poor Zimbabweans to doubt that land reform will ever be anything other than preferential and opportunistic, and feel that if they wait for a good plan they'll be waiting forever. Tsvangirai might not even go so far as to distribute land to his supporters, which would certainly suit Britain just fine.

Literacy is almost always good though. I'm reminded a bit of the last Shah of Iran, whose efforts in education and economic improvement eventually undermined his efforts at suppressing dissent. Of course the clerics that followed were a bad trade... )-:

Western pressure (none / 0) (#112)
by Hopfrog on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 05:33:08 AM EST

Why did Mbeki and Obasanjo agree to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth?

Well, America and Britain said that if they did not, NEPAD was dead.

Hop.

Much ado about Zimbabwe | 116 comments (89 topical, 27 editorial, 0 hidden)
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