The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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The Times

            Don't send us back to Zimbabwe, hunger strikers beg Britain
            By Daniel McGrory and Richard Ford
            Hundreds in detention centre fear torture under Mugabe

            HUNDREDS of Zimbabwean asylum-seekers held in detention centres
have began a hunger strike over Britain's decision to speed up their removal
and send them back to face torture from Robert Mugabe's regime.

            Scores of Zimbabwean refugees have been removed forceably from
Britain in the past month at a time when the United Nations has ordered an
investigation into President Mugabe's latest terror operation which has made
up to a million people homeless.

            Human rights groups and MPs last night demanded that the Home
Office stop the deportations. They are urging Tony Blair to discuss the
plight of the refugees at next month's G8 summit at Gleneagles.

            The hunger protest was started after Crespen Kulingi, an
opposition leader, was told he was to be removed on Saturday. Mr Kulingi,
32, who is a close aid of Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for
Democratic Chang (MDC), is in a wheelchair after suffering crippling
injuries in detention in Zimbabwe. His supporters last night condemned his
imminent deportation in what is Refugee Week.

            Detainees in the Harmondsworth detention centre at Heathrow,
Campsfield House, in Oxford and the women's removal centre at Tinsley House
at Gatwick are all understood to have joined the protest.Mr Kulingi, in
Campsfield House, said: "I am truly frightened I will be killed if I am sent
back to Zimbabwe. I don't understand why Mr Blair and his ministers condemn
Mugabe as a cruel dictator to his people and yet Britain sends us back to
face his wrath."

            Tafara Nhengu, 25, an actor, is held at Harmondsworth and is
expecting to be deported in the next fortnight. He says he was beaten and
tortured by youth militias from the ruling Zanu (PF) party. He said: "We are
so desperate and afraid we decided to do something drastic. I would rather
starve to death than be sent back."

            The Government ended a two-year ban on enforced removals in
November after ministers argued that it was being abused. The Home Office
ruled that it was safe for failed asylum-seekers to return to Harare despite
the outspoken condemnation of human rights abuses there by the Prince of
Wales, Jack Straw and the Prime Minister. More than 15,000 Zimbabweans have
sought sanctuary here in the four years up to 2004, though only a few
hundred have been granted asylum.

            The Zimbabwe Community Association in London said that in recent
weeks asylum-seekers who report every week as required to immigration
officials have been detained without warning and given only a few hours'
notice that they are to be sent back. Amnesty International said 95
Zimbabweans were forcibly removed in the first three months of the year but
it fears the rate of deportations has been speeded up.

            Kate Hoey, the Labour MP, who this month witnessed the brutality
of President Mugabe's forced expulsions, said: "I know what a dangerous
place Zimbabwe is for those who speak out against the regime and I can't
imagine how the Home Office can say it is safe for these people to be sent
back," she said.

            The Home Office said: "Regular country assessments are carried
out in order to ascertain the current country situation and ensure the
safety of returning people to their country of origin who have no legal
basis of stay in the United Kingdom.

            "In light of this we would not remove anyone to a country where
their lives would be in danger. We are returning people to Zimbabwe where it
is found to be safe to do so."


            "I and others argued that it was inconceivable that Zimbabwe
should be readmitted to the councils of the Commonwealth, and that . . . it
should remain suspended until we saw concrete evidence of a return to
democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law."

Tony Blair, Dec 2003

"The fact that President Mugabe and Zanu PF have resorted to these methods
of violence, intimidation, murder and charges, many say are trumped up,
against the MDC . . . illustrates his lack of confidence in his own ability
to win a free and fair election."

Jack Straw, March 2002

"The whole world has been appalled at the violence and terror unleashed by
the government of Zimbabwe."

Peter Hain, June 2000



Arrived in Britain in September 2004 on a Malawian passport as his Zimbabwe
documents had been confiscated. He admitted this to immigration officers
when he claimed asylum at Heathrow and produced his son's birth certificate
and other paperwork to prove his identity. He said that he fled after being
beaten into a coma in prison and then spent months in hospital. He is now in
a wheelchair.

His plight has been documented by the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees. His six-year-old son remains in Zimbabwe with his former wife.


Arrived in Britain in August 2002. He was a member of a theatre group that
performed at MDC rallies. His former director, Norman Takawira, was found
dead after disappearing in 2003.

Mr Nhengu was supported by church groups in Derby where he lived after his
asylum application was first turned down in April 2003. He has been held at
Harmondsworth since April last year. His family remains in Bulawayo.

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Christian Science Monitor

from the June 23, 2005 edition

      Systematic Cleansing in Zimbabwe

      The Monitor's View

      It can't be called genocide, because it's not a systematic killing of
a national or ethnic group. But Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe's
destruction of hundreds of thousands of people's homes, market stalls, and
now, subsistence gardens is systematic all right.
      Put this in the context that it's winter in Zimbabwe, with
bone-chilling nights. That the country is experiencing a food "emergency"
(this according to the Famine Early Warning System Network). That Zimbabwe
has an AIDS crisis, and its jobless rate stands at a whopping 80 percent.

      Now think of what these conditions might mean for those suddenly made
homeless by Mr. Mugabe's "Operation Murambatsvina," or "drive out trash."

      This African ruler claims his program - going on for about a month
now - is to clean up urban blight and put a stop to illegal businesses. His
political opposition says it's intended to crush anti-Mugabe people, who
have a strong presence in the cities, and to force them out to rural areas.

      Indeed, the displacement brings to mind Cambodia's former dictator Pol
Pot, who forced masses to the countryside to disperse his opponents.

      The situation in Zimbabwe is alarming enough for the UN to announce
this week that it's sending an envoy to investigate, and to prompt the US to
condemn the operation as a "tragedy, crime, horror."

      Zimbabwe is literally emptying out. Millions of people have fled the
country, and AIDS claims 3,000 deaths a week. In 2002, the head of the
secret police said the country would be better off with a far smaller
population of "our own people" who support Mugabe's "liberation struggle."

      Europe, the US, and the UN can condemn, but where's the new Africa,
which pledges to tackle its problems itself? South Africa's influential
leader Thabo Mbeki should be strongly urging Mugabe to change course.

      "This is social cleansing to try to eradicate the opposition," says
Trudy Stevenson, an opposition member of Zimbabwe's parliament. She's right.

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Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2005 12:58 PM

Press Statement – Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) 21 June 2005


TWENTY NINE Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members were arrested in Bulawayo on Saturday during a peaceful procession against Operation Murambatsvina in the run up to World Refugee Day 20 June. Twenty eight were arrested on site with one handing herself in, in solidarity. The women spent 48 hours in custody and appeared in court on Monday charged with Miscellaneous Offices Chapter 3, “Blocking Traffic”. They were granted free bail and will go on trial on 11 July 2005 in Provincial Magistrates Court Bulawayo. The majority of these women are vendors and many had lost homes in the last week to Operation Murambatsvina.


At 11 am on Saturday, over one hundred women gathered placards and banners held high to begin a peaceful protest. This starting group had gone three city blocks when a police detail stationed near TM Hypermarket set came at the run. They were attracted by the women who were singing an Ndebele song, “The sun has set and where I sleep tonight. I will sleep like a bird on a branch of a tree”.


As is the WOZA way, the women sat down immediately upon seeing the police officers, leaving them at a loss. After the women were seat the officer barked, “Sit down, sit down” To which they replied that they were already seated. A crowd of bystanders numbering up to 300 gathered around and bravely picked up the Woza Moya (Come Holy Spirit) Newsletters being distributed by the women. Many bystanders clapped their hands in appreciation for the work done by the peaceful women.


All that remained was for the officers to call for vehicles to transfer the arrested to Bulawayo Central station in fife street. Meanwhile it later came to light that police officers armed with AK 47 Rifles were awaiting the protesters at previous demonstration starting and ending positions.


During detention, one member Siphiwe Maseko was randomly selected on orders of “Dispol” to be tortured. She endured beating with a whip like baton on her back and under the feet by plain clothes officers in the ‘PISI’ office. The officers tried to force her to divulge names of leaders and WOZA’s funding partners. She withstood this brutality, spent two days in custody and is on the mend.


Two members, Magodonga Mahlangu and Jenni Williams who had handed herself in, were subjected to individual harassment by the Law and Order officer in charge Inspector G. Ndlovu and another senior officer, Inspector Moyo. Williams had her home illegally searched by law and order officers.


All of the women were photographed and finger printed. Those that were vendors were told that they would not succeed in renewing their vending licences.


The women, including six grandmothers, spent the time in custody cramped in a small filthy cell which could accommodate eight at a push. No food is available and food had to be bought in. Only two filthy blankets were available, and most of the women have come down with colds as it is mid winter. In the words of Gogo Mutendesi, “It was better to be in the cells than out in the open like many Zimbabweans.”


The peaceful women, whose slogan is the ‘LOVE’ sign, could face many years imprisonment if convicted under the notorious Public Order Security Act (POSA). This is the third trial the women of WOZA will face, they won the last two. WOZA have called on Zimbabweans, and sympathisers abroad to assist in donating funds towards the 11 July 2005 trail. “Please help defend your mothers as we have helped defend our children. The liberations guns have indeed been turned against us.”



21 June 2005


For more information, please contact

Jenni Williams +263 91 300 456, Magodonga Mahlangu +263 91 362 668



Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) Press Statement 13 June 2005




WOMEN of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) has called on Zimbabweans to mobilise and prepare for a day of peaceful resistance and demand Social Justice on 18 June 2005 ahead of the 20 June World Refugee Day. WOZA wishes to acknowledge the special relevance of the United Nations Theme for World Refugee Day 2005. The theme is “Courage”. Together with the UNCHR, we call on Zimbabweans who are refugees in their own country to put their courage to the test and join us on the street come Saturday 18 June.


We quote parts of the UNCHR Statement, “As ordinary people living peaceful lives, we rarely have to put our courage to the test. Refugees are ordinary people, too, except that through no fault of their own, they find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. As such, they are often required to dig deep into their own inner sources of strength in order, as another dictionary puts it, to find "the ability to overcome fear. It takes courage to be a refugee. Courage not to give up hope and to make the most of the hand that has been dealt. Courage to start a new life against daunting odds, eventually to become contributing and enriching members of society once more.”


Over 30 000 Zimbabweans have been arrested, some assaulted, had their goods and livelihoods stolen and many have had to suffer the further indignity of paying a $ 25 000 admission of guilt fine. Some 200 000 Zimbabweans have been added to the number of us who can no longer take for granted our dignity and rights.


We call on our sisters and brothers who are fighting to defend their livelihood to use peaceful means of mass action as a way to safeguard their dignity. Another test of your courage will be your peacefulness as only cowards resort to bullying and violence.


A reminder to Zimbabweans: Freedom is not for free, be prepared to sacrifice.



13 June 2005


For more information, please email us at or  (for security reasons, we will to filter through written correspondence). For UK based friends


UNHCR Statement is available from the following website:

Commemorating World Refugee Day 2005 - The theme, is courage.


Courage n. Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty. Le Petit Robert.


As ordinary people living peaceful lives, we rarely have to put our courage to the test. Refugees are ordinary people, too, except that through no fault of their own, they find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. As such, they are often required to dig deep into their own inner sources of strength in order, as another dictionary puts it, to find "the ability to overcome fear".


Initially, that fear may be the immediate one of trying to escape the horrors of war and persecution, the pain of losing homes and loved ones, and the ordeal of flight. Later comes the deeper anxiety of uncertainty – the worry of how to rebuild their lives, either in completely new circumstances, or back home where they now may not be welcome.

It takes courage to be a refugee. Courage not to give up hope and to make the most of the hand that has been dealt. Courage to start a new life against daunting odds, eventually to become contributing and enriching members of society once more.


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Business evicitions in Harare

Police moved into the central business district in Harare Wednesday and
started evicting tenants. They claimed the buildings were overcrowded and
evicted stationers, estate agents and people who offered sewing services.
Buildings within Zimex Mall in the city centre were raided.
The popular Dublin House where thousands of tailors and stationers operated
was also affected and indigenous business people who were subletting were
all evicted. So far there have been no reports of arrests. A few people had
managed to remove their goods before the police stormed in.
Other well known buildings affected, that have been left empty after the
evictions, include Atlas House, Dolphin House, Barbara House and Robinson
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Eight arrested for resisting Zimbabwe police
          June 22 2005 at 12:27PM

      Harare - At least eight people have been arrested in two towns in
eastern Zimbabwe after they tried to stop police demolishing their makeshift
homes, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

      Residents of Marondera and Wedza fought running battles with police
who were carrying out a controversial clean-up campaign, the Daily Mirror

      Police spokesperson Darlington Mathuthu said the police had to call
for reinforcements to deal with the unrest.

      "The police arrested at least eight people after engaging in running

      "Among those who were arrested were two ex-liberation fighters whose
tuckshops at Wedza Growth Point had been demolished," Mathuthu said.

      "We also arrested vendors and property owners," Mathuthu said.

      Tens of thousands of shacks and market stalls have been demolished
across Zimbabwe since police launched Operation Restore Order more than a
month ago.

      President Robert Mugabe's government says the campaign is an attempt
to bring order and cleanliness back to the country's towns and cities.

      But the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claims it is
an attack on its supporters, many of whom live in towns.

      Those arrested will appear in court soon, the Daily Mirror said.

      "The police will continue to investigate this matter and make sure
that everyone who was involved in the violence is brought to book," Mathuthu

      Police in Harare meanwhile announced that crime figures had gone down
by 16 percent since the beginning of Operation Restore Order.

      "We are pleased to announce that the general crime figures have gone
down. This shows that the operation, despite being condemned, has started
bearing fruit," spokesperson Whisper Bondai told the official Herald

      A special envoy of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is due here next
week to assess the "humanitarian impact" of the controversial clean-up

      Britain, the US, the EU, human rights groups and churches have all
condemned the police action. - Sapa-dpa
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Torture via Starvation by Mugabe
By: Charles Bird · Section: Foreign Affairs

Joe Katzman wrote a lengthy and good piece on Zimbabwe a few days ago.  The dire situation in this once free country was the final tumbler for him, cementing his view that the right to keep and bear arms is a universal human right "on par with freedom of speech and religion".  Welcome to the club, Joe, glad you finally came around.  But what grabbed me more is the fact that, over the past twenty five years, President Robert Mugabe has run this formerly prosperous country down to dust, from Africa's bread basket to basket case.  The Telegraph:
President Robert Mugabe's onslaught against Zimbabwe's cities has escalated to claim new targets, with white-owned factories and family homes being demolished in a campaign that has left 200,000 people homeless.
Across the country, Mr Mugabe is destroying large areas of heaving townships and prosperous industrial areas alike.
The aim of this brutal campaign is, says the official media, to depopulate urban areas and force people back to the "rural home".
Shades of Pol Pot and his killing fields.  All that's lacking are "reeducation" camps.  Today's New York Times has a similar report.  Mugabe isn't just sentencing 200,000 of his political opposition to slow death by starvation, he is purposefully gutting his own economy in the process. 
Jun 11th, 2005: 13:51:56, Rated: 5.00/1

Chris Viljoen and his wife, Elsie, were still inside their five-bedroom house when a bulldozer began reducing it to rubble. The white couple live in the industrial zone of the capital, Harare.
Next door was a 70-acre site filled with 24 factories and workshops. Bulldozers spent last week razing this area, destroying all but nine businesses that employed about 1,000 people in a country suffering mass unemployment and economic crisis.
Across Zimbabwe, the United Nations estimates that 200,000 people have lost their homes, with the poorest townships bearing the brunt of Mr Mugabe's onslaught. "The vast majority are homeless in the streets," said Miloon Kothari, the UN's housing representative. He added that "mass evictions" were creating a "new kind of apartheid where the rich and the poor are being segregated".
Virtually all the areas singled out for demolition voted for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in the last elections. The MDC says that Mr Mugabe ordered the destruction as a deliberate reprisal. But the regime is also seeking to depopulate the cities, driving people into the countryside where the MDC is virtually non-existent and the ruling Zanu-PF Party dominates.
The Herald, the official daily newspaper, urged "urbanites" to go "back to the rural home, to reconnect with one's roots and earn an honest living from the soil our government repossessed under the land reform programme".
Betsy Newmark:
What Mugabe is doing now in Zimbabwe is reminiscent of Stalin's actions to induce famine in the Ukraine. Zimbabwe was once one of the more prosperous African countries and now it is in an economic shambles solely due to Mugabe's treatment of his own people. Now, he is driving people out of the cities and destroying their lone source of earning a living. They are being pushed towards the countryside which is experiencing a drought now. Sadly, we will probably learn in the coming months how these people have starved to death. That is one way for Mugabe to get rid of his opposition.
In effect, Mugabe is sending political opponents to government-owned farms, presumably to be paid at government-set rates, assuming they are employed once they get there in first place.  Southern share croppers had it better.  In addition to driving its citizens off the land they legally own, Mugabe is systematically starving those who don't toe his line.  Another from the Telegraph:
People are being starved in Zimbabwe by President Robert Mugabe's deliberate and systematic ploy of using food shortages to cling to power.
Millions of people are going hungry not, as Mr Mugabe's government claims, because of poor rains but as a direct result of its policy of denying food to opposition supporters and enriching its loyalists.
Last night, the deadline passed for the mass eviction of 2,900 of Zimbabwe's white commercial farmers, for decades the mainstay of the agricultural sector. Mr Mugabe ordered them to abandon their homes, land and livelihoods by midnight.
An investigation by The Telegraph found that control of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), Zimbabwe's state-owned monopoly supplier of commercial maize, was passed this year to one of Mr Mugabe's most loyal henchmen, Air Marshal Perence Shiri, an alleged war criminal.
With Zimbabwe's economy in chaos, Shiri's mission was to spend a £17 million loan provided by Libya buying just enough maize to stave off food riots, which would then be supplied through the GMB.
The organisation, which is meant to supply maize at subsidised prices to all Zimbabweans, has instead been selling maize only to supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF party. Backers of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change went hungry.
Worse still was the country's Food For Work programme. Thousands of opposition supporters would provide 15 days' labour only to be told at the end there was no GMB food for them.
The GMB is so corrupt and politicised that aid groups shipping food into Zimbabwe are being forced to set up their own expensive parallel storage and distribution facilities, rather than using those of the GMB - the traditional way of bringing food aid into Zimbabwe.
There is also evidence that the Zimbabwean government is deliberately blocking the work of these international aid groups and keeping the flow of aid down to a trickle.
That trickle is enough to stave off threats of public unrest, but not enough to provide food for all of the country.
"What we are seeing is nothing but humanitarian torture," an aid worker said. "It takes three months to die of starvation and this is a torture every bit as bad as beating someone with barbed wire or hanging them from handcuffs."
Emphasis mine.  Joe Katzman:
Um, ever studied what dying of starvation actually involves, dude? It's just a little bit worse than hanging from handcuffs - and there's nothing humanitarian about it.
What do the various humanitarian groups have to say?
Freedom House:  Zimbabwe garners sixes (with seven being least free) in civil liberties and political rights.  Their report confirms that democracy there is a joke, on par with Iran's "democracy".
Index of Economic Freedom:  Ranked 151st in economic freedom.  Only Libya, Burma and North Korea have economies that are less free.  Even communist Cuba ranks better than Mugabeland.
Reporters Without Borders:  Ranked 155th in press freedom, tied with Syria.  Its 2005 annual report on the nation once known as Rhodesia quite simply states:  "Freedom of the press simply does not exist in Zimbabwe. Everything is under government control, from the licensing of the media and journalists down to the content of articles. Television and radio are a state monopoly. Police and the judiciary ensure that dissenters live in terror or endure the constant battering of a relentless harassment."
Amnesty International:  "The government continued its campaign of repression aimed at eliminating political opposition and silencing dissent."  There is not one category that Zimbabwe is not egregiously violating.  How does AI rank Zimbabwe relative to the 148 other countries it covers?  Oh yeah, it doesn't.
Human Rights Watch:  "The human rights situation in Zimbabwe continues to be of grave concern."  Four articles written on Zimbabwe this year, with more interest focused on their sham March election than the democide that Mugabe is currently overseeing.
Transparency International:  Ranked 114th in corruption out of 146 countries, tied with Venezuela, Uzbekistan, Congo and Ethiopia.
Austin Bay has a piece here, and he hearkens back to an observation he made in 2002 that rings just as true today:
Here’s the lede:
He’s an ethnic cleanser, a "former Marxist" and a cynical thief whose greed and mismanagement has destroyed a once productive economy.
His scheme to retain power involves the dictator’s usual routines: stoking ethnic strife, inciting economic envy, silencing the press, physically intimidating his domestic opposition.
Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic? No, Slobo’s been nabbed and is on trial in the Hague. This time the scoundrel is Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe. The local context is a March 2002 national election in Zimbabwe, where once again Mugabe’s election platform includes the murder of his democratic opponents in the black-led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Mugabe is never held accountable for his oppression and destruction.
The difference between Mugabe and Miloslevic is that Mugabe is engaging in political cleansing, not ethnic cleansing. What exactly is the food situation under Mugabe's fascist regime?  Horrible.  The Washington Post:
Zimbabwe, facing fears of widespread famine, has welcomed the resumption of international food donations that could feed up to 4 million people, U.N. officials reported Wednesday. President Robert Mugabe had curtailed such aid last year, saying the country could feed itself.
The problem is that Mugabe will use these food donations as a weapon, strengthening his political allies and starving his opposition.  Chester asks the relevant question:  Is Zimbabwe the Kitty Genovese of the international community?  Unless we do not spotlight what's going on there, the answer is yes.
So what are we to do?  When South African president Thabo Mbeki met with President Bush, Mbeki offered nothing but platitudes and Bush was little better.  Mbeki couldn't even admit that a genocide was occurring in Sudan.  Tony Blair is pushing for more aid to Africa from the US, but whatever portion gets to Zimbabwe, Mugabe's opponents will still starve and unless there are important strings attached, it will be a counterproductive effort [Ed. sentence revised].   Here are my thoughts:
Provide moral support for an "African solution" as Mbeki suggested but expect that there will no beneficial results.  Mbeki hasn't lifted a finger against Mugabe, and the South African's "African Renaissance" has the heft of those puffy rice crackers.
Give food, money and arms to the opposition party, the MDC, as Perry de Havilland suggests.  They deserve the right to defend themselves and seek freedom, and they could take comfort in these words:
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
I don't know if the UN has sanctioned Zimbabwe, but it they haven't, they should.  If they have, then sanction them more. By the way, Zimbabwe is a current member of the UN Human Rights Commission.  When will Kofi Annan kick this country off? [Update: The United States should lead the way on sanctioning Zimbabwe.]
Provide aid directly to those that Mugabe is purposely starving, using military forces if necessary to secure distribution.
Start a blogging storm.  Nothing will get done and nothing will change until we clamor for it.  Let's get going.
(cross posted at Obsidian Wings)
< Judicial Showdown: I'm Still Chillin' (45 comments) | The Sunday Show lineup (2 comments) >

Torture via Starvation by Mugabe | 57 comments (57 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
   Hmm... By: Tim Saler

I don't mean to be crass, but, with Mugabe's record, I think Zimbabwe would be a terrific member of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
Okay, I apologize. This is a very serious issue, perhaps I shouldn't reply with sarcasm.

Comment Rated: (none / 0) (User Info) (#1)

The last thing By: rotwang

you need to do is start a civil war in a country that is already starving.  Yes, we have ignored Zimbabwe for too long, but arming the opposition is not a way to bring about positive change.

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It's the first thing we need to do By: Neil Stevens

Improvement can only come when Mugabe and his people are out of power.
We're surely not going to send in troops ourselves, so the next best thing is to let those with a personal stake in the matter fix the situation.
A war isn't so great, but giving starving people food and arms is better than nothing.

Comment Rated: (none / 0) [ Parent ] (User Info) (#3)

And when the "revenge" killings By: rotwang

start of former Mugabe supporters and that turns into a brutal slaughter a la Rwanda, what do we do then, arm the counter-revolutionaries?

Comment Rated: (none / 0) [ Parent ] (User Info) (#4)

How do you know it will work that way? By: Neil Stevens

Did the American revolution devolve into mass murder?
I don't recall reading that the South Africans slaughtered all the 'whites.'
Has the new Iraqi regime murdered all the Sunnis?
Not all revolutions against oppressive powers turn bad. And besides, no matter what, those people should have the same right to keep and bear arms that we do, right?
Let them defend themselves and reclaim their freedom.  Let the greatest champion of freedom on Earth, the USA, help them do it.

Comment Rated: (none / 0) [ Parent ] (User Info) (#5)

Giving the ability to fight for themsevles By: Just Me

is still better than sitting around offering platitudes on how awful things are and empty promises to help.
I honestly think the UN is part of the problem-by giving a country like this a seat in the UN, and a seat on the human rights commission it legitimizes the thug who is running it, as if his government is fine and upstanding.  This is just one more example of how the UN is almost worthless.

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Well . . . By: rotwang

Did the American revolution devolve into mass murder?
Actually it did, it just took four score and seven years.  And we did stretch out the genocide of our native population until just about 1900 when we decided there were so few left we could safely assimilate them.
I don't recall reading that the South Africans slaughtered all the 'whites.'
No, and we're lucky it didn't happen in South Africa, and it very nearly did happen in Rhodesia.  Go back to seventies when the there was an insurgency that turned into a full scale civil war that finally ended with Black majority rule in 1980.  It was an ugly, horrible war with atrocities on both sides.
Has the new Iraqi regime murdered all the Sunnis?
Not yet, but preventing Civil War seems to be the primary reason for our continued presence.
Not all revolutions against oppressive powers turn bad. And besides, no matter what, those people should have the same right to keep and bear arms that we do, right?
Don't even get me started on this question.  Besides, I don't think that lack of weapons is the problem, but rather lack of support.  Don't take this as a defense of Mugabe, I think he is one of the most awful leaders in the world today, up there with Karimov of Uzbekistan, but he does have quite a bit of popular support and has managed to crush his opposition.  The white commercial farmers are such a miniscule part of the population they couldn't fight back if they were armed with M-1 tanks.
You just can't solve the world's problems, or even one country's, by dropping a few M-16s, M-60s and MREs out of the back of a C-130 and hoping for the best.  If it were that easy Castro would have been overthrown years ago.

Comment Rated: (none / 0) [ Parent ] (User Info) (#12)

Blame America First By: Neil Stevens

I'm glad I mentioned America first, because once you started your reply with Blame America First-ism, I could stop reading right there.

Comment Rated: (none / 0) [ Parent ] (User Info) (#13)

I didn't blame America for By: rotwang

anything.  Many historians consider the Civil War the culmination of tensions left unresolved by the Articles of Confederation and the passage of the Constitution (i.e., the tension between "States Rights" and the power of the Federal Government).  That war cost half a million lives.  
Now you and I may not like the fact that we, first as British subjects then as Americans, spent almost 300 years exterminating the native population of this country, but we did.  The policy wasn't always explicit, nor was it always well organized but sometimes it was.  There were times in this country's history when we forcibly  resettled the native populations of entire regions of the country without much concern about how many people died in getting to their resettlement areas or how they survived once they got there (e.g., the 1830s and 1870s--90s).  In the 1840s in California, practically the entire native population of the interior was slaughtered to make room for settlers.  

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Is there a Dr. in the house? By: Joel

Civil War was mass murder?
Do you know Howard Dean personally?
Can you honestly equate the expansion of European settlement, often in the face of governmental opposition, that took over 400 years, to planned governmental genocide to be done in one man's rule?  I guess you can.
If you check your history you will find that the 'native' population of California in 1840 had slaughtered and relocated the previous residents and so on for several iterations.  The Commanches of west Texas are athabaskan refugees from a pre-Columbian war who were unable to find a new home for several hundred years and several thousand miles.
Populations grow and contract, and in the past war as a part of that.  Genocide is properly defined as a distinct program with the intent of destroying a people.  Yes, Sheridan was probably genocidal, but the whole history of the USA is not one of prolonged genocide any more than the history of England or of Bangladesh is.

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I didn't say the Civil War By: rotwang

was mass murder.  But I was queried about the American Revolution devolving into mass murder and I pointed out that unresolved internal issues from the Revolution led to one of the bloodiest wars the world had seen up until that time.
See below for the definition of genocide.  And just because Native Americans killed eachother doesn't make our killing and relocation of them any less wrong.
If you are saying that England was genocidal too, I agree with you 100%.  Well into the 19th Century there was actually a bounty on Aborigones in Australia and Tasmania.  They actually used to hunt people there and in the Caribbean.  And yes, the relocations of Hindus and Moslems on both sides of the partition line during the partition of India was horrible, although it was the Moslems, not the Hindus who forced the issue (as was the forced ethnic cleansing of ethnic Germans from parts of Eastern Europe after World War II).

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Not the English By: Joel

The celts were wiped out.
The danes, the jutes, the saxons, all gone, nobody but normans who were vikings who killed off the local frenchies (or guals or celts or iberians or whoever was there) hundreds of years before that.
That these cultures disappeared is not genocide.  Nobody in the pre-Darwin world was capable of forming the intent to destroy a people, but only of intending to take more room for a farm or hunting or tribute.  This is simple conquest.  The idea of conquest for the purpose of destroying a people is a modern one.  Even Cicero never thought the end of Carthage would mean the end of Carthage-ness in the world, just the loss of a shipping rival.People migrate.  No one is native to where he lives.  Even the zulus migrated south during recorded history, no less than the tutsi migrated from place to place in east africa.  It is absurd (marxist even) to label populations with collective guilt.  Genocide is an individual crime.  No nation can be guilty or innocent.  No single farmer when he shot a buffalo or killed a raiding Comanche believed it was possible to kill all the Comanches much less all the buffalo.  

Comment Rated: (none / 0) [ Parent ] (User Info) (#25)

No, these weren't genocides By: Aleks311

Re: The danes, the jutes, the saxons, all gone, nobody but normans who were vikings who killed off the local frenchies (or guals or celts or iberians or whoever was there) hundreds of years before that.
None of these people were killed off. You need only consider the fact that English is modern Anglo-Saxon to understand that the Anglo-Saxons survived the Norman conquest quite handily. And likewise the original natives of Normandy also survived the Norman conquest of that land, as witnessed by the fact that Normans spoke a dialect of French.

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Either way By: Joel

There is as much Irish spoken in Wales today as Cherokee in Virginia.

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actually what generally has happened is By: Just Me

assimilation.  One group comes in and conquers the other, killing many of them in the proccess, but at some point assimilation will occur.
The Celts in the England part of the UK are pretty much gone-either they became refugees (Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Brittany)or they assimilated the culture of the conquerer and/or mixed a bit of their own in the proccess.
But there were attempts at genocide when Rome first came to GB, they eventually opted for the containment (Hadrians wall being the big cymbal of that).

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Ugh By: Charles Bird

And we did stretch out the genocide of our native population until just about 1900 when we decided there were so few left we could safely assimilate them.
Genocide implies active intent, rotwang.  The US did not have a policy which called for the extermination of American Indians.  Yours is a horrid and wrong mischaracterization.

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Actually the legal definition of By: rotwang

genocide is a series of acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group as such.  So you may quibble about whether we intended to destroy the American Indian in whole or in part, but we certainly intended to destroy their culture even if complete extermination of the racial group was never the policy of the U.S. government.

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was that the definition in 1876? By: Joel

what future crimes have you been up to lately?
or is it only fair to hold people to the law of their own time?

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I am not holding anyone By: rotwang

responsible nor suggesting that we dig up Andrew Jackson and try his bones for authorizing the deportation of the Cherokees.  I am merely stating that in the harsh light of modern standards our treatment of the native peoples of this country was deplorable.  and way off topic.

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Still doesn't apply By: Charles Bird

Intended is the key word.  Veering into Ward Churchill territory is not a place to go.

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Just a rhetorical By: streiff

Care to provide a citation for this bit of malarkey?
Go back to seventies when the there was an insurgency that turned into a full scale civil war that finally ended with Black majority rule in 1980.

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Sheesh By: rotwang

You don't remember the scandels with the mercenaries in Rhodesia and the Civil War there?  Weren't you in ROTC/college and a young officer in the Army when all this was happening?  Didn't you have any interest in foreign affairs at all back then?  I was in high school and I was following the war in Rhodesia.
But since you have apparently never heard of the Rhodesian civil war here is a paper assessing it.

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You might provide a reference By: Joel

with some mention of your mercenaries.
I met a Rhodesian FAC, and I was given to understand that Rhodesian mercenaries were soon to be ex-gov't soldiers who hired out as whole regiments after the change to Mugabe-ism in order to fight communist guerillas for other black ruled countries.  

Comment Rated: (none / 0) [ Parent ] (User Info) (#45)

Here's a book you can buy By: rotwang

from Amazon and read all about it.  There were lots of mercenaries fighting in the wars in Africa in the '70s, especially South Africans, but also Americans and Europeans.  The British actually tried a few of their citizens for crimes committed as mercenaries, although I think they might have been fighting in Angola.  Please don't make me provide a cite from that one because I am working off a 20 Year + memory.

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You are just a silly person By: Joel

When you post a link it ought to at least reference your argument instead of haring off on a wild tangent about stalemate theory.

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Give me a freaking break By: rotwang

the Rhodesian Civil War ended 25 years ago.  Most of the links I found on the mercenaries in Rhodesia were really repellant and I didn't want to link to them because they were the rambling of white supremacists and racists who remember the good old days of white rule and how fun it was to kill black people.  So I didn't particularly want to link to those sites.
It was a conflict in a country far, far away a long, long, time ago.  I followed it closely when I was in high school, along with the war in Angola, partially because I was an early Bob Marley fan.  So I remember a lot about it.  Everything isn't on the internet you know.  If you really want to find out about the Rhodesian Civil War you're going to have to hoof it down to your local library and look through the microfiches and microfilms of magazines and newspapers from about '75--79.  Angola was really a proxy war for the Cold War.  The White minority government in Rhodesia made the conflict there much more complex but you still had a minority-White basically pro-Western, but vilified, government, against a black, mostly Marxist insurgency.  Mugabe was actually chosen as the more moderate comprimise.
And as one last aside, Soldier of Fortune magazine began publishing in 1975 and was quite controversial at the time because of it's thinly veiled want-ads advertising for mercenaries to fight in Africa.

Comment Rated: (none / 0) [ Parent ] (User Info) (#51)

Two little things: By: Joel

So why provide a bs link at all.
Those idiots (in the '70's)were no more mercenaries than you are.  The mercenary garbage you refer to was long over as a significant enterprise during the 1960's-- mostly killed fighting for the Biafrans, or Belgians.  Just travelling to Africa and wandering around with a gun (or saying you did) doesn't make you a mercenary.  It makes you an idiot.

When you talk about 'mercenary involvement' you should be refering to 'organized mercenary' or 'private military company' involvement or else you are just blowing smoke.  Lots of idiots go to lots of wars, that isn't mercenary activity worth noting. 
Soldier of Fortune?  Do you think Blackwater and DynCorp recruit out of there?  Soldier of Fortune is for high school kids who don't want discipline but want to shoot free ammo.

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Why should I be talking By: rotwang

about "organized mercenary" or "private military company".  Someone who freelances is just as much a mercenary as someone who works for a private military company.  Please explain the difference.  If anything the rise of the private "security" companies over the last few years have given mercenaries an air of respectability (which frankly I do not think they deserve).

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Do you need to respect By: Leon H

someone to be horrified at their death by gruesome mutilation?

Macho Nachos - a spicy Tex-Mex treat!
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changing ground By: Joel

you went from talking about 'mercenary involvement' to 'what is a mercenary'.
Yes. Any foreigner not in military service who fights in combat is a mercenary.
No. No a scattering of untrained individuals with no unit identity don't make a "mercenary involvemnt" just like one car going 75 on the interstate doesn't make a lawless society.

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Whether or not By: rotwang

I agree with the extensive use of private security firms in Iraq has absolutely no impact on my capacity to be shocked and disgusted by the mutilation and torture of people, whichever side of the current war they are on.
And be they former U.S. , British, French military members or regular South African Army on loan to the government of Rhodesia, the contribution of foreign fighters (if you don't want to call them mercenaries) to the Rhodesian Civil War was significant. To be fair, the Rebels received significant support, in both men and materiel, from neighboring black African countries and also logistical support from the Soviet Bloc.  But hey, it was the seventies, practically every war in every god-forsaken country turned into a proxy struggle between capitalism and communism.  Besides, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe was/is rich in minerals, especially Chromium.

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My mistake By: Leon H

I confused this thread with another on Markos' "I feel nothing" comment regarding the American "mercenaries" in Iraq.

Macho Nachos - a spicy Tex-Mex treat!
Comment Rated: (none / 0) [ Parent ] (User Info) (#57)

a la Rwanda By: Joel

In Rwanda only one side was armed.
That is the recipe for genocide.
In any case if both sides are armed (Mugabe's side is already armed) there won't be a slaughter, there will be a possibility of deterrence or at the worst a fight for freedom.
We should be arming Darfur and southern Sudan just like we eventually allowed the victims in ex-Yugoland to do.

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If the choice is civil war versus By: Charles Bird

slow death by starvation, I choose war.  The victims of this democide have every right to defend themselves and their lives.

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You know I bet if you asked them By: Just Me

the same question (slow death by starvation or possible death in a civil war) they would choose the civil war, at least in that case, they have a chance to defeat the thugs.

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Well how about doing the hard work By: rotwang

of international pressure, getting attention paid to the problem and having the MSM spend half as much time on it as they do on one 18 year-old girl from Alabama missing in Aruba or 1/10th the time they spend on a washed-up '80's rock star's child molestation trial.

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So just what international pressue do you want? By: Just Me

international pressue has worked so well in places like Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan (before the war) and Cuba?
How many people do you think should die, before the UN decides it might want to do something, of course then you get a lame resolution out of the UNSC, after France and Germany get their chance to water it down (as they did with Sudan-have they even made that resolution yet, or is France still worried about its oil contracts?).  
How many dead by starvation is acceptable to you, before we do something to at least give the locals a fighting chance?  Or is it okay that they die, since in your liberal mind, giving them a gun to kill the thugs is somehow horrible compared to their death by starvation?

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So instead of doing something By: rotwang

substantive, making real sacrifices, actually getting the international community to pay attention to the problem and bring the issue to the forefront your solution is to drop some weapons on the country.
Is there even an organized resistance?
If there is, do they have popular support?

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Stop! Or I shall say 'stop' again! By: Nick Danger

You will have to excuse us brain-dead Republicans. Our puny human minds are simply incapable of getting around this concept of "bringing the issue to the forefront." We can't figure out exactly what you propose to do. Where is this forefront? What happens to an issue when it gets there? Will Mugabe disappear? Tell us how this works.
You also have this thing called "getting the international community to pay attention to the problem." What is this about? Am I supposed to, like, think about how bad Mugabe is for 15 minutes a day? What does "paying attention" mean, in your view? Explain how your new-and-improved form of paying attention causes anything to change. The only kind we know about is sort of like watching a train wreck. On our planet, no one is pulled from the flaming cars by the people standing around watching.
From our limited perspective on this, it sounds like your proposal is that everyone on the globe should simultaneously stare at Mugabe and say, "Tut tut." On our planet, nothing would happen if we did this, so we need to understand why you think this would be helpful.

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And on my planet By: rotwang

your solution would end up with a bunch of starving people staring in confusion at a bunch of M-16s, scratching their heads, saying "what the hell are we supposed to do now?"  Then the government troops would show up, gather up all the guns, shoot anyone who resisted, and that would be the end of that.
It takes more than guns to have a resistance.

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Well is it any different from your solution By: Just Me

which is to let them starve while the international community contemplates what a bad man Mugabe is, but continue to give him legitimacy in the UN by putting him on the human rights commission?
Not to mention, I doubt the people are so dumb that they don't know what a gun is or how to use it.

Comment Rated: (none / 0) [ Parent ] (User Info) (#37)

So on your planet By: ConservativeMutant

all the people in, say, the inner city have been to extensive firearms and range training? Because clearly if all they did was go out and buy/steal a gun, they wouldn't have the faintest idea what to do with it.
(n.b. From what I understand, I'd actually recommend the AK-47 over the M-16, because it has a very good reputation for continuing to work after being dragged through the dirt and used by guerillas with minimal weapons know-how. But that's a minor detail.)

Comment Rated: (none / 0) [ Parent ] (User Info) (#38)

Duck-billed platitudes By: Nick Danger

your solution would end up with
You don't know what my solution is. I didn't tell you. I asked you about your solution. I am seeking to have you describe your solution in ways that do not sound — to my admittedly limited Republican brain — like a bunch of platitudes and empty words. Can you do that?

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I'm sorry By: rotwang

but the solutions I have seen here has been to "arm" the "opposition" when apparently there is no organized opposition to Mugabe capable of overthrowing him even if they did have arms.
The first thing we should try is international pressure.  I guess you think we have tried this and it has failed.  I must have missed the President's address to the nation condemning Mugabe and urging international sanctions against Zibambawe.  And I'm sure I just wasn't paying attention when he and Tony Blair spent hours railing against Mugabe and calling him worse than Bin Laden at their joint Press Conference earlier this week.  Oh yeah,  CNN spent 20 minutes on the starvation in Zimbabwe before they cut to the search for that cute blonde in Aruba.  And it was the first topic on all the Talking Heads shows this morning, not how Howard Dean is obnoxious.
But now that we have had a extended National Debate on it and still nobody cares, I guess we just need to go with plan B.
And thank you ConservativeMutant for pointing out that you can arm a bunch of poor people to the teeth and still not get a revolution.

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Once again google is your friend By: Just Me

Just because the media didn't cover it, that doesn't mean nothing has happened.
The West's chorus of condemnation has been led by US president, George W Bush
Oops look at this there is an opposition in Zimbabwe, but Mugabe is trying to kill them-so does your solution mean we should wait until they are all dead?
Over the past year, Mugabe instituted measures that further destroyed the country's economy and trampled the rule of law,1 even sanctioning attacks on opposition supporters,, in his single-minded determination to remain in office.
There are lots of others.  Apparantlythe problem isn't a lack of condemnation from the Bush administration or the US government, but from other African nations which apparantly think it is better to leave Mugabe in power than to see him overthrown.

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Well the problem is By: rotwang

lack of condemnation because as I sarcastically pointed out both Bush and Blair (and since Zimbabwe is a former British colony they should be taking the lead on this) were together this last week they didn't say a word about it.
And as I said, the opposition is not strong enough to overthrow Mugabe without external assistance, which nobody seems willing to do.  So unless you are willing to advocate U.S. troops, which you are apparently you are not, it looks like people are going to starve.

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You must burn a lot of calories By: Shadx

You must burn a lot of calories moving those goalposts around all the time.
Don't they get heavy after a while, though?

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absolutely idiotic By: Joel

The State Department has some unpleasant things to say about
And funny you should mention GWBush.  Apparently he doesn't control Newsweek anymore because he just happened to be meeting with Thabo Mbeki.  Apparently they are not happy about North of South Africa. That didn't get too much coverage because it doesn't fit with Rove's big plans.

Expanding Democracy and Freedom
We agreed that our two nations should identify ways to work together even more effectively in the international arena to promote these principles of democracy and human rights.
We stressed that a democratic, stable, and economically prosperous Zimbabwe is in the interests of the African continent and international community. We expressed our deep concern about the food crisis and the suffering of the people of the southern African region - Zimbabwe, in particular.

If only someone had said "I condemn Robert Mugabe" then things would be better?

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You use the tools you have, rw By: Charles Bird

I just used mine, in two places.

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Social engineering By: kavvanah

Your typical social-engineering two-step:
 Forcibly dispossess productive citizens on some theoretical basis.
When the forcible dispossession does not in reality create the benefits you expected, broaden the net of demands and coerce more people.
Repeat as inspired by the Demon, to the point where theft and coercion are policies per se.
We have baby-steps of that sequence happening nearby, let us be grateful for the prosperity and Constitution and heritage that have so far kept them smaller than these awful stories from Africa.

Dilys Not Yet Extinct
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Oh, and did you happen to notice if AI By: Just Me

has called for Mugabe to be arrested and tried in the ICC, as they have for Bush, Rumsfeld and Gonzalez?

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Sorry, but the well's run dry. By: jefferson101

I have to make the same comments on the subject that I've made elsewhere.  Another board that I visit regularly has a member from South Africa, who's a former Rhodesian.
And he's always throwing fits over one or another thing that Mugabe is doing.  And my comments to him are always the same.  "Y'all gave him the country."
I'm sorry, but there it is.  I'm not a racist by any stretch, but when the Rhodesian Government chose to resist until they were forced to capitulate, and didn't start negotiating way sooner, they sank themselves.
If they'd have started 10 years earlier, they could have worked something out and handed the reigns over to a moderate of some stripe.  By refusing to get off square one for as long as they did, they laid themselves open to a takeover by a radical.
And that's what they got.  My sympathy for the people there is endless.  But if they want me to feed them so they can survive under the status quo, I'm like, "What for?"
Now if they want guns, we ought to accomodate them.  I'll bet we could scrape up a good bunch of functional AK's and ammo for them from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Recycling works if you do it right!
But if they are starving, they allowed it to happen themselves.  I don't have a dog in the fight, and whenever I objected to Mugabe for 20 years, I was told I was a racist.  
I'm on the sidelines for this one, and we as a nation should be.  Let somebody else take some responsibility for a change.  How many American troops are we ready to send there, given the way we've been abused by all parties in that quarter for the last fifty years?

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Zero Troops By: Neil Stevens

I don't think we should send a single soldier.  Let's just feed and arm the opposition.
Let them defend themselves.  That's all we have to do.

Comment Rated: (none / 0) [ Parent ] (User Info) (#14)

I think guns would do them better By: Just Me

than food anyway at this point.
Arming the oppressed populace will at least give them the chance to not only live on, but to fight for the chance to live better.
Give me a death in battle, before killing me slowly by starvation.

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Mugabe the Moderate By: Buckland

If they'd have started 10 years earlier, they could have worked something out and handed the reigns over to a moderate of some stripe.  By refusing to get off square one for as long as they did, they laid themselves open to a takeover by a radical.
Actually at the time Mugabe's ZANU/PF was seen as a moderating force. And he was very moderate compared to some of the groups with guns at that time. Even in the early years in office the Whites were happy with the transition. The white flight and the huge dropoff in productivity in most sectors didn't start until the late 90's, years after Mugabe came to power in 1980. His Catholic upbringing, education at University of London, and profession of teacher training (before leading a guerilla group) made Mugabe seem like a safe, moderate choice.
The only other leader with enough popularity to take control was Joshua Nkomo. However his close relationship with the ANC in South Africa scared some of the Whites. But by that time it the die was cast. Mugabe's tribal affiliation to the majority Shona group was just too strong to deny him the leadership role.  Nkomo's and his smaller Ndebele tribal affiliation weren't strong enough.
So I'm not sure there was anybody around at the time who could have denied Mugabe the leadership. He wasn't seen as a horrible choice, and having the backing of the Shona peoples and armed by the Chinese the only group that could stand up to him was the White Rhodesians. They did so for about 20 years but didn't see another way out.

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Because they either waited too long... By: jefferson101

..or quit too soon.
Rhodesia wasn't even a good analogy for the Confederacy.  They didn't lose the war on the battlefields.  They lost it in the conference rooms.
They chose when they decided to start negotaiting, which was too late.  And who they would negotiate with, which was the wrong one.
And they folded up and quit, far short of anything resembling a militarily necessary surrender.
It may well have been "humanitarian" at the time.  But look where they wound up.  Too soon tough, and too late smart.
Sorry.  They did it to themselves.  "No Pasaran", right up to the month they folded like a house of cards.  Idiots, and I don't feel sorry for them any more.  When reason might have worked, they wouldn't use it.  When it was too late for reason, they demanded it from others and were still too dumb to use it themselves.
Sad, but again, it's not my problem.  I've been told to keep my nose out for most of the last 40 years or better.  So I suggest that we do keep our noses out.
Let the Brits handle it.  Or South Africa.  Or whoever.

Comment Rated: (none / 0) [ Parent ] (User Info) (#32)

We must act before it's too late By: BrixtonBoy

Although the coverage here is limited, the coverage back in the UK is considerable:
Independent Article
Mugabe's efforts are all about ensuring his legacy will live on. He knows he is old, and will have to give up soon. He is trying to remove all opposition before that time so that his chosen successors have a free run at it, and can't be challenged.
South Africa must take the lead - America and Britain are too easily accused of colonialism - and put pressure of Mugabe to go now, ensure free elections can happen, and start the rebuilding process. If not, there will be nothing left to save.
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Call to Boycott South Africa

As many of you know the Vigil has decided on a demonstration on 4th July to put pressure on South Africa to change its policy of support for Mugabe.   The following is a News Release which will be sent out on Thursday, 23rd June.


“Zimbabwean exiles and human rights campaigners in the UK are to launch a campaign on 4th July to boycott South African products because of President Mbeki’s support of the Mugabe regime.  The campaign is organised by the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been demonstrating outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for nearly three years in support of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. 


South African fruit is to be trampled into the pavement and South African wine poured down the gutter at a demonstration outside the Guildhall in the City of London.  The occasion is a one-day meeting there organised by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.  NEPAD, as it is known, is largely a Mbeki idea and is aimed at boosting investment and aid in Africa.  In return it promises good governance. 


A Vigil spokesperson said, “We have been debating the question of a boycott against South Africa for some time because of President Mbeki’s connivance with the horrors going on in Zimbabwe.  We wanted to draw on the resonance of the anti-apartheid protest but were worried that our problem with Mbeki’s policy might be seen as an attack on our brothers and sisters in South Africa.  But the recent sale of South African military equipment to Zimbabwe was the last straw and everyone said ‘what else can we do?’ 


“We decided that the NEPAD meeting was an opportunity to embarrass President Mbeki who will be visiting the UK that week.  South Africa holds the fate of Zimbabwe in its hands and Zimbabweans are angry that South Africa has again accepted rigged elections in Zimbabwe and are appalled at the treatment of Zimbabwean exiles fleeing to South Africa.  Our hearts were torn by seeing a video of 30 blind Zimbabweans living in one room in Johannesburg.”


The demonstration will be followed by the presentation of a petition to Downing Street demanding that Britain does nothing to legitimise the Mugabe regime and to press South Africa to allow democracy in Zimbabwe. 


The NEPAD meeting at the Guildhall is to report by video link to the African Union Summit in Tripoli beginning on the same day.  It is also to report to the Summit being held later that week in Scotland of G8, the group of leading industrial countries. “


This is designed to be a media event and we hope that as many people as possible will turn up to embarrass Mbeki.  The demonstration will be from11 am to 2 pm with the ceremonial trashing of South African products to take place at 1 pm when the streets should be thronged with people taking their lunch break.  Discussions are under way to get some noteworthy person with us.  The venue is the junction of King Street and Gresham Street opposite the entrance to the Guildhall, nearest tube: Bank and follow directions to Guildhall.  Other nearby tube stations are Mansion House and Moorgate.


We would remind you that the Vigil is hosting two events next weekend. On Saturday, 25th June, we will be joined by WEZIMBABWE, an organization set up to help Zimbabweans. We will be helping them raise funds for their “Operation Murambatsvina Emergency Appeal”. Check for how to make donations. On Sunday, 26th June, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum will be commemorating the UN international day in support of victims of torture. There will be a special service (see attached) from 2 – 4 pm for Zimbabwean torture victims at St. Paul’s Church, Bedford Street, Covent Garden. After the service the group will walk to the Vigil with flowers and a special Vigil will be held for the torture victims from 4 – 6 pm.


Please let us know if there is any help you can give us with these events.


Vigil co-ordinators


The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.


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Hearing of Bennet's Petition Gets Underway

The Herald (Harare)

June 22, 2005
Posted to the web June 22, 2005


THE Electoral Court has begun hearing petitions by the MDC challenging
results of the March parliamentary polls in some of the constituencies it
lost to Zanu-PF.

The first petition in which the party's losing candidate in Chimanimani
constituency Mrs Heather Bennett is challenging the victory of Zanu-PF
candidate Cde Samuel Undenge got underway yesterday.

Cde Undenge was declared the winner of Chimanimani constituency after
wrestling the seat from the MDC after its candidate Mrs Bennett failed in
her bid to replace her jailed husband, Roy Bennett.

The petition hearing before Justice Rita Makarau opened with the
petitioner's lawyer Advocate Happias Zhou requesting the court to refer the
case to the Supreme Court on a constitutional ground.

Adv Zhou told the court that Section 162 of the Electoral Act was
inconsistent with the provisions of section 92(1) of the Constitution of

The petitioner, who wants section 162 of the Electoral Act and the
appointment of the special court (Electoral Court) judges declared null and
void, wants her case referred to the Supreme Court for determination.

Pending the determination of the issue raised by Mrs Bennett, Adv Zhou said
the proceedings of the case should be stayed.

He said the Act had no provision compelling the Chief Justice (Justice
Godfrey Chidyausiku) to act on the advice of the Judicial Services
Commission in appointing the High Court judges to the special court
(Electoral Court).

In terms of Section 162 of the Electoral Act the Chief Justice "shall after
consultations with the Judge President appoint one or more judges of the
High Court to be judges as the case may be of the Electoral Court."

But in terms of section 92 (1) the Constitution, the power to appoint
persons to preside over a special court vest in the President after
consultation with Judicial Service Commission (JSC), provided Parliament may
provide the Chief Justice after consulting the commission to appoint a
person holding the office of judge of the High Court to preside over a
special court for such period as may be specified.

"The law permitting the Chief Justice to appoint a judge of the High Court
to the Electoral Court is contrary to and contravenes the provisions of
sections 18 and 92 (1) of the Constitution and this court is not properly
constituted," said Adv Zhou.

He said the petitioner's fundamental right to the protection of the law as
enshrined in the supreme law of the country had been violated.

However, Adv Zhou said the problem in this case was not attributed to Chief
Justice Chidyausiku but emanated from Parliament, which he said did not
confer the Chief Justice with powers to make the appointments.

He said any appointment of judges to the special court without complying
with the Constitution was a nullity.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku, who early this year had appointed five sitting
judges to the Electoral Court has since revisited the appointments and
invalidated them.

But he re-appointed the same judges after consulting the JSC recently.

The Electoral Act is silent on how the appointments were supposed to be made
and did not fix the time frame for such appointments.

In his argument, Adv Zhou further said, the Chief Justice was not supposed
to cure the defects in the Electoral Act because this was not provided for
in terms of the law.

He said it was the duty of Parliament to do that and it should be given a
chance to remedy the situation.

Mr Fredie Gijima of Gijima and Associates appearing for Cde Undenge opposed
the petitioner's application saying complaints raised by the petitioner had
been rectified.

He said the conduct of Chief Justice Chidyausiku to revisit his appointments
and nullify the initial appointments after consulting the JSC was proper.

He urged the court to dismiss the petitioner's request as frivolous and
vexatious, arguing that such issues should have been raised during the
pre-trial conferences that were held before the trial of the petition

Mr Gijima said the conduct of the petitioner was merely a tactic to buy

The petitions, according to the rules of the court, should be completed
within six months of the commencement of hearing.

After hearing arguments from both parties lawyers Justice Makarau postponed
the hearing to Friday when she is expected to make a ruling.

The MDC last month lodged a constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court
seeking to invalidate the appointments of the Electoral Court judges by the
Chief Justice, saying it was done in violation of the Constitution.

The matter is still pending.

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ZESA Holdings Needs US$500m for Power Station Expansions

The Herald (Harare)

June 22, 2005
Posted to the web June 22, 2005

Martin Kadzere

ZESA Holdings needs at least US$500 million for the expansion of Hwange and
Kariba power stations, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Mr
Michael Nyambuya, said this week.

Mr Nyambuya, who is scheduled to go on a tour of the Hwange Power Station
today to establish areas which need attention, said the projects were
scheduled to be completed by 2008.

"The US$500 million will be channelled towards expansion of its two power
stations - Kariba Hydro Electric Power Station and Hwange Thermal Power
Station - to boost electricity generation capacity," Mr Nyambuya told Herald
Business in an interview.

"The region is facing some electricity constraints. Our economies are
growing and we need to address the power challenges which are emerging," he

Talks are already underway with Chinese and Iranian investors who have shown
interest in injecting capital for the expansion programme, said Mr Nyambuya.

However, he could not be drawn into revealing the names of the companies
involved apart from saying "one investor will be expected to fund the Kariba
station while another one will finance the HPS", which are both operating
with six units each.

The country imports 35 percent of its electricity requirements from the
Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa and Mozambique.

But such imports were threatened as the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) countries were likely to reduce supplies to Zimbabwe in the
wake of an anticipated power shortage across the region in 2007.

"Accordingly, the country is pursuing opportunities to introduce
self-sufficient initiatives that will ensure it generates enough electricity
for domestic consumption and eventually electricity for exporting," Mr
Nyambuya said.

Small thermal power projects have been established in the Eastern Highlands.
These include Rusitu Hydro-Electricity Project in Chimanimani and Kairezi
Hydro-Electricity Project in Nyanga.

The ministry was also engaged in exploring opportunities at Munyukwi Dam in
the area, which has potential to generate electricity and to effectively
harness the power of the sun to provide electricity to rural and urban

Mr Nyambuya said his ministry was also studying the feasibility of turning
the Coal Bed Methane Gas deposits in Lupane (Matabeleland North Province)
into electricity.

"Although these initiatives will be providing insignificant supply of
electricity, it is vital that the country exploits potential sources of
electricity to supplement electricity being produced by Hwange and Kariba."

Zimbabwe, which is already experiencing intermittent power shortages, needs
to urgently expand its existing power stations as well as find new sources
of energy to avert a looming power crisis in the next three years.

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