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The Guardian says Mugabe is not that bad

I have been waiting for the left to come out in support of Mugabe. After all, they worship Che Guevara, the warmonger and homophobe. They wear CCCP t-shirts even though that regime murdered 60 million people. So I was not at all surprised to read this John Vidal article in The Guardian this week:

It’s open season on the Harare regime and it appears that anyone can say anything they like without recourse to accuracy or reality. Whipped into a frenzy of hypocritical outrage, the EU, Britain and the US, as well as the World Bank – all of which have been responsible for millions of evictions in Africa and elsewhere as conditions of infrastructure projects – have rushed to condemn the “atrocities”.

The vilification of Mugabe is now out of control. The UN security council and the G8 have been asked to debate the evictions, and Mugabe is being compared to Pol Pot in Cambodia. Meanwhile, the evictions are mentioned in the same breath as the genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans – although perhaps only three people have so far accidentally died. Only at the very end of some reports is it said that the Harare city authority’s stated reason for the evictions is to build better, legal houses for 150,000 people.

In other words, the Guardian is saying that Mugabe is not so bad after all. Remarkable.

22 comments to The Guardian says Mugabe is not that bad

  • Robert Mugabe, the Robert Moses of southern Africa…somehow or other that really doesnt fly

  • Not surprising, really. I’ve been hearing this sort of rhetoric for a year or so now, often in the same breath as the lionization of Hugo Chavez. Both Chavez and Mugabe (and Castro, really) are portrayed as brave underdogs who’re standing up to Western (read: American) neo-imperialism and aggression. As we all know, Cuba’s sorry state is routinely blamed on the embargo, rather than on Castro’s nauseating corruption.

    It’s rather cliche, I think, to refer to these people and their fellow travellers as being on “the wrong side of history.” But any journalist (I note that this Vidal character is an editor of some kind) who comes out openly on the side of Robert Mugabe is on the wrong side of something.

  • htjyang

    The ideology of the Left is primarily anti-Americanism and anti-capitalism. Since Mugabe has been virulently anti-American for the past few years and since he has no regard for private property, it is not surprising that some on the Left regard him as a natural ally.

  • Rob

    Ah, the pissing contest of “my pet hate figure is worse than your pet hate figure!”.

    I suppose the Guardian has a point in that Mugabe is not “as bad” as, say, Pol Pot. But any defence that can only muster the argument that “people say he’s as bad as Pol Pot, and that’s just not true!” is a pretty weak defence.

  • The only reason that Bob is not as bad as Pol Pot is simply because he isn’t as good at it,poor Africa even the despots are inefficient.

  • The Guardian left: standing up for the “stated reasons” of tin-pot dictators. Solidarity against America trumps solidarity with the downtrodden every time.

  • I have been waiting for the left to come out in support of Mugabe. After all, they worship Che Guevara, the warmonger and homophobe.

    Walking back from photographing yesterday’s march in Edinburgh I was approached by an elderly gentleman wearing a Scottish Socialist Party badge. He asked if I would like to purchase a postcard of Che. I asked him why on earth would I want to buy a photo of a mass murderer who shot small boys. I enjoyed this confrontation so much that I had to go and celebrate with a beer.

  • The Happy Rampager

    He asked if I would like to purchase a postcard of Che. I asked him why on earth would I want to buy a photo of a mass murderer who shot small boys.

    I need to check this out. I knew Che was a scumbag, but I honestly didn’t know he went as far as shooting children. That’s the sort of thing that definitely needs to be in a movie about Che. Could you please direct me to wherever this has been reported?

  • stoatman

    Here’s testimony of Guevara shooting a 14 year old boy:


  • Verity

    The idolisation of Che Guevera has to be one of the weirdest anomalies of our age. In fact, it may be the weirdest.

  • Verity

    Thank you, David.

  • Millie Woods

    Verity, it’s nostalgia for Kangol berets, hot combed hair and the ultimate nihilistic achievement – being both red and dead!

  • In other words, the Guardian is saying that Mugabe is not so bad after all. Remarkable.

    No it isn’t.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Well, pray tell, what is it saying, dear inspector?

  • The Happy Rampager

    Thanks for the links, David and stoatman.

  • guy herbert

    I suspect the Inspector is saying that it isn’t remarkable that it is saying that.

    I agree it is not remarkable to find those sentiments in the Grauniad, but one ought to distinguish the columnist from the paper. It has a number of perfectly good writers as well as some utterly barking ones. Poor John Vidal has rather come unstuck in time; he was ahead of the game in the 80s, but his opinions don’t change with accrual of facts.

    George Monbiot on the other hand is well-acquainted with facts but interprets them in a determinedly perverse manner. The prize must surely go to John Sutherland, however, who (as befits a literary man) appears to live in an entirely invented world, on which he comments as if his insights were holy revelation for our own.

  • Sylvain Galineau

    Well, yeah. I mean, think of the alternative : if Mugabe can be compared to Pol Pot and the like then Bush is no longer the uber-evilmeister. Or maybe he would even look less bad, for half a nanosecond.

  • Verity

    Millie Wood – Not so sure. I had a friend who called his cat Che and one could gather from his challenging attitude when he introduced his cat that he thought this placed him on a higher plane, an admirer of a great striver for “freedom”. People who hadn’t admired Che were thick heads who didn’t under the great cause of liberty. He would not brook dissent. (My friend, that is. The cat didn’t give a shit.) It was always that unanswerable case: “Well, they would say that about him, wouldn’t they? They’re only trying to blacken his name.”

  • Those naughty old Che worshippers eh……?

    What made Che such a heroic figure for our time is that he, more than any man of our epoch or even of our century, was the living embodiment of the principle of Revolution. More than any man since the loveable but entirely ineffectual nineteenth-century Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin, Che earned the title of “professional revolutionary” And furthermore… we all knew that his enemy was our enemy – that great colossus that oppresses and threatens all the peoples of the world, U.S. imperialism.

    Murray Rothbard writing in the libertarain journal ‘Left and Right’ in 1967.

    I know this will only add to David Carr’s famed admiration for the great libertarain 😉

  • Paul Marks

    Karl Hess blamed a lot of the crazy things he said in the 1960’s on using L.S.D.

    Murry Rothbard (as Paul Coulam points out) also said a lot of crazy things (the United States to blame for the Korean War, the United States the most statist country in the world because its government spent more money than any other government………), but did not have the excuse of drug use.

    Rothbard went out of his way to try and please the “New Left”, and did not care if he had to talk (and write) a lot of nonsense in order to create a grand antistatist alliance with them.

    There were two problems with this. Firstly a scholar should not betray scholarship (i.e. trying to find and tell the truth) in the hope of political gain. Also the “New Left” did not really exist. They were not really antistatist, they (both the leaders and most of the followers) were anti private propery in the means of production and supported collectivism (which is why they supported the V.C. and N.V.A. in Vietnam – it was not just a matter of wanting American troops out, they wanted the other side to win).

    Rothbard looked at the long hair, pop music, and the “down with the state” blather and thought he was looking at something new. In fact he was looking at something very old, indeed most of the leaders of the “New Left” came from prosocialist families.

    In later life Rothbard never fully apologized for so misleading young libertarians in the 1960’s – in fact he often blamed these young people themselves.

    He advised them to get involved with a mass movement dominated by deeply evil people, and some of the young libertarians got sucked into various forms of socialism (or just had their lives destroyed by drugs), but none of this was Murry Rothbard’s fault.

    The United States was not libertarian, and war tends to expand government – so anybody who opposes the United States government at home and its wars overseas is someone to ally with. If young people (the young people one has advised to “get involved”) end up being corrupted and having their lives messed up – well that just means they had some character flaw.

    Murry Rothbard was a great man, but he had a lot to apologize for – and he never really faced up to it.

  • I suspect the Inspector is saying that it isn’t remarkable that it is saying that.

    Yes, sorry for my vagueness.