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The times are evil indeed when this counts as a sign of hope.

I often slag off the BBC, so let me praise them today. The BBC are banned from Zimbabwe. In the best traditions of journalism, back in August correspondent Justin Pearce went there anyway.

Following the mass evictions from and destruction of Harare’s squatter camps, hundreds of thousands have been sent to their “home” villages. Never mind that the evictees are city people who may not have seen the village since childhood, or at all. Naturally, they become paupers. The lot of those who do not have even that much of a home village is even worse. People whose parents or grandparents originally came from other African coutries have been left in limbo.

What in this sorry tale can count as a sign of hope, you ask? Only this: even soldiers and policemen go hungry says a more recent BBC report. When even those who take service under the tyrant cannot be sure of their next meal, one may hope the end is near.

Do not expect the good times to roll once Mugabe’s obsequies are done – or his noose is cut down. Chaos can be an ugly thing, and Zimbabwe’s political culture has been brutalised. But without Mugabe’s megalomaniac desire for tidiness, so typical of dictators, this campaign to sweep human beings aside as if they were rubbish will probably lapse.

3 comments to The times are evil indeed when this counts as a sign of hope.

  • Julian Taylor

    The more one hears of Mugabe’s atrocities the more one feels he must be drinking from the same fount as Pol Pot once did. Forcing city dwellers back to their villages reeks of the ‘Year Zero’ tactics the Khmer Rouge employed in Phnom Penh, within hours of the US evacuation in 1975.

    Like Pol Pot Mugabe will probably soon discover that there is only one way for a tyrant to continue his hold of absolute rule, and that usually involves a war with one of his neighbours – presumably with Mozambique, as the weakest of those states bordering Zimbabwe.

  • Joshua

    I guess it’s only a matter of time before Noam Chomsky comes out with a book about how “livable” Zimbabwe is and blaming the western media for skewed reporting of events there.

  • Paul Marks

    I remember well the backstabbing of Zimbabwe by a Conservative party government back in 1980.

    Mrs Thatcher had been elected with a policy of recognising the coalition government that had replaced the White controlled government of Ian Smith.

    Mr Smith had made a deal with moderate black polticians, and had accepted a black Prime Minister, a change in name for the country and much else.

    But, of course, for the socialists this was not enough – the moderate blacks were “traitors” or “Uncle Toms” and they would not recognise the new government.

    Mrs Thatcher was pushed (and contrary to the myth she could be pushed) by the establishment to demand an end to the new government, a formal surrender to Britain and new elections. The “talks” in Britain were a farce – with terrorists like Comrade Bob treated as if they were statesmen (“a man can be a terrorist and change” – whilst a Red is still a Red he has not changed).

    There should have been no “talks” at Lancaster House – the British government should have recognised the black led government in Zimbabwe and the Constitution as it stood and called off the sanctions that were undermining the economy – if the terrorists had wished to join in the politial process they should have ended the war and waited till the next elections (yes blacks had the vote under the internal settlement).

    With the black politicians who had made a deal with the whites humilitated and discredited and the regular army and police undermined their could be only one victor in the new British controlled elections – Comrade Bob.

    Everything that has happened since was predicted by Ian Smith and many others. Just as they predicted who would win the election once the moderate black leaders had been humilated and undermined.

    First the minority tribe got hit – by Comrade Bob’s North Korean trained Fifth Brigade. Years later everyone got hit – the only surprise is that it took so long.

    It did not have to be this way. If the internal settlement had been recognised by the British government (as the Conservative party had said it was going to do) the moderate black politicians would not have been destroyed in the eyes of their people.