Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Do you care about Zimbabwe?

In Zimbabwe a couple years ago, I was in a museum and found myself face to face with yet another poster of its ruler Robert Mugabe. I could be jailed for less, but I couldn't help myself. Looking over my shoulder to check for guards, I reached into my backpack, pulled out a sharpie pen and drew little horns on Mugabe's head. And a little piggie nose for good measure.

If only I could have done something more for the people of Zimbabwe.

I posted last month about the potential of help for Zimbabwe. Mugabe, ironfisted ruler since 1980, just got beaten in "free" elections, but the results were not forthcoming. Observers noted that the results were delayed in order to conduct voter fraud, and declare our longstanding tyrant the winner. People are starving, dying of AIDS, their inflation is highest in the world. I said there was little hope an 82 year old ruler would just give up the reigns. I hate to be right.

Since that post, the election results did come out--after a month -and they were "inconclusive" which meant that the opposition had won momentously, but they'd still have to do a "runoff" to prove it (!) So they set the run-off date for June 27.

Working up to the "run-off", Mugabe's henchman have beaten and killed opposition supporters (66 murdered since the election, with another 200 unaccounted for). They have also jailed and chased off foreign reporters, and what's more they chased out rival candidate, Mr. Tsvangirai, who won, with death threats. He's been in hiding in South Africa.

Mr. Tsvangirai had no choice but to recently return to Zimbabwe to campaign for a presidency he's already won, and yet he must know it's futile. Since his return to Zim, he's been detained, and his supporters are barred from holding any campaign rallies. More despicable, the government has cut off foreign food aid to its starving citizens. Thus, the government is now the sole provider of food aid, meaning only those supporting the government will be able to eat.

Surely there's more we can do than draw horns on a poster, but what? What can we do? We can all see what's going to happen on June 27 in Zimbabwe, and yet why do I feel like I'm the only one here who cares? I met Zimbabweans, I saw what was happening, I feel for them when I see this news, which gives me the horribly sinking feeling that we only really care about the people in places we've been. Maybe that's the solution.

If we only traveled more of the world, more of the time, we just wouldn't; we couldn't as a human race, allow things like this to happen.


Michael said...

I know this is about Zimbabwe, but all I can think is how crazy fucking hot you are in that picture. I bet you smelled kinda off, too.

It's your fault.

Anonymous said...

whose the hot YOUNG guy in the picture . . .

Anastasia Beaverhausen said...

Isn't it the great undiscussed topic among the Western Bourgeoisie? Just how awful African democracies have performed.

Even the Middle East, with their Medieval social structures, have managed to exploit their abundant natural resources to give themselves a nice living.

But not the Africans. Even the South Africans, the best of Africa, are having trouble generating enough power for their mines. Not to mention a president who denies that HIV causes AIDS. And he will be succeeded by a president who escaped a rape conviction on a technicality.

Please don't anyone raise colonial injustice as an excuse for this crap. Latin America and Asia were colonized too and they are doing just fine

Anonymous said...

Delayed remarks Jesse. An excellent Canadian movie (I thought) was Three Needles. It portrayed ramifications of the AIDS scourge (the word AIDS was never mentioned) in three areas: Africa, Asia and French Canada. The Africa sequence exemplifies the power of the witch doctor who encourages aids infected men to rape virgins (Olympia Dukakis and Chloe Sevigny, nuns)and an infant girl; powerful scenes.
How can there be two such adorable identical twins as Aaron and Shawn Ashmore? (see how easily I become side-tracked?). In the Canadian episode, Shawn plays Denys, a porn star who unwittingly infects his co-stars with the disease. The Asian scene (Lucy Liu), shows the dangers of cheaply purchased, blended blood for plasma production. Whole villages were decimated.
Terribly confused, I finally realized that I was enamored of the identical Ashmore twins. Aaron (Jimmy Olsen in Smallville and the gay Prom Queen with the blue hair). To confuse matters more, Shawn played Eric Summers in several Smallville episodes as well. Also, he was the ice-man in X-Men. Please excuse me for mixing serious matters with trivial Movienut.