November 02, 2005

Is the world in turmoil?.....have I got news for you

A few months before September 11th, my RE teacher informed my class that our generation has never had to face a global threat, such as WW2, or the Cold War,to name two examples. Ohhhh boy….how times have changed. I neither daily watch the news or read the newspaper. This stems from sheer laziness and the need to switch off and tune out of the worlds depressing state of affairs. Of course, bad news has always been a factor in our world, but since 9/11 it appears more rampant. The number of catastrophes range from Al Qaeda's reign of terror, to massive natural disasters like the Tsunami. Whilst America and Britain have remained engaged in an obscure war with Iraq. Where the line between good and evil is some what blured, and imitating a modern day version of Vietnam-will those in power ever learn 'war HUH wat is it good for absolutley nothing.............'.

Good old Tony Blair was once promoted as the similey faced new aged leader to take us away from the Thatcher years. He is now seen looking worse for wear and has dramatically failed to live up to his image of a 'nice guy' willing to listen to his fellow countrymen and women. He went to war even though citizens of Briton put on their walking boots and exercised PEOPLE POWER! which begs the question does people power still exist?

One of the arguments used for the validation to invade Iraq was the need to eradicate the tyrant Saddam Hussein, which indeed occurred as he is currently standing trial. However, this has left me pondering…if Bush and Blair went to war for the sake of hummanity, why do they not exterminate Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe?

The crisis in Zimbabwe was drawn to my attention via a friendship with a work college from South Africa. Although, Zimbabwe has been mentioned on the news I knew little about the problems the inhabitants of Zimbabwe face, and the almightly scale of corruption by the government. This was probably due to the fact that I prefer to blank out the sufferings of those in third world countries, and also a lack of empathy.I would like to take this opportunity to offer some information on Zimbabwe, you may or may not know…..

Mugabe is a Tyrant, a cruel insane dictator who does whatever he likes, without no control. In 1983 he 'ethinic cleansed' the Matabele nation by cordoning off 16000 square kilometres. After a 24 hour curfew was imposed. No food was allowed into the area and as the region was in the grips of a third drought in a row, thousands of innocent people starved to death. It is estimated 30,000 innocent people died, though the true figures will never be known.

The land seizures led to the deaths of many, and the displacement of some four thousand mainly white commercial farmmers, and an estimated 1.5 million black farm workers and their families. Mugabe does not give a dam, about the illegality or consequences of his actions. He has brought economic ruin on his country to save his own skin and to remain in power-and not for the ideological reasons he claims. The food in Zimbabwe has gone up 100% weekly, and the country is sliding back to the dark ages. Patients, many of whom are suffering from lack of nutrition or HIV, are being turned away from the hospitals.

Mugabe over a 25 year period, has empoyed terror tactics against all those he regards as a threat. He planned, committed or otherwise aided and abetted, a campaign of violence directed against the civilian population of Zimbabwe. He has to stay in power because he knows that as soon as he loses the protection of his office, he and others of his regime will, if justice is to prevail, have to stand trial at The Hague, for genocide and crimes against humanity.

Perhaps, a reason for Mugabe's prolonged stay in power and lack of intervention from the west, is the fact that Zimbabwe to my knowledge has no natural resouces, unlike the Middle East?


- 4 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Christopher Hinds

    I believe that we predominantly went to war in Iraq because of the western world's need to secure energy supplies for the future on the basis that we'd rather continue doing what we do than develop politically delicate ways of getting our energy like fusion/fission. Or maybe because Bush senior didn't get it right first time and his son felt he had to avenge 'dads' errors.

    The humaniarian atrocities in Zimbabwe are sadly no more unique than in other parts of Africa or the third world. OK we may not hear about all of them, but what's worse, one leader issuing a death warrant for 16000 people or 160 tribal leaders killing a hundred people each? Mugabe has certainly committed humanitarian crimes, though the true extent I suspect will not ever be known.

    I don't believe so called crimes against humanity should exist such as ethnic cleansing, but also I don't believe it's the obligation of wealthy nations to impose their moral standards and opinions on other nations. If someone started telling Bush how to handle the devestation on the East Coast you can be sure there would be complaints. We don't like being told what to do by another country and more than anyone else. The world could not (in my opinion) support the whole world being a developed world. The developed countries want a cheap supply of labour to maintain their economies… and how can the world help itself by dragging all the economies done. So we do 'fake' aid… some help, but not enough to truly pick countries up.

    03 Nov 2005, 09:51

  2. Good post, Lauren (or was it Amy this time?). Referring to the start of it, I think it's worth saying that I don't believe the terrorist threat to be anything like as unique as is being made out by the British, American (and now Australian) governments seeking to bring in new legislation. I feel far safer now that I would have done during any of the periods the IRA was active. Yet every week on the news we're told of the "unprecedented threat" to our society, usually by police or ministers demanding greater powers.

    Thankfully there's still some political resistance – the non-controversial part of the Terrorism Bill was passed in the Commons by one vote yesterday (300 to 299), which is why the debate on the controversial part (90 day detention without trial for elderly hecklers at party conference) was delayed "pending further consultation".

    As for Zimbabwe, I think it's an absolute bloody disgrace that there hasn't been any more concerted effort to oust Mugabe, whose actions are motivated purely by . As you and Chris both said, it's almost entirely because of Zimbabwe's lack of wealth potential for the West.

    Chris, I agree on motives for Iraq – oil mainly, and partly the Bush family connection (I'm sure George W was quoted saying of Saddam, 3 or so years ago, "This is the guy that tried to kill my Dad"), but I'd also throw in Bush/Blair's heartfelt but horribly naive/misguided belief that they could just reform the country and the whole region at a push. Just by exposing the people to the beauty of Western democracy, or something.

    However, I don't agree at all that Zimbabwe is just like any other developing country. The atrocities Mugabe and Zanu PF are committing have been (almost) universally condemned owing to the sheer scale of them as much as anything else, and yet nobody's interested in doing anything more than that. Nor do I agree that developed countries, from a humanitarian point of view, should acquiesce at the damaging actions of other countries; who else has any influence over the problem?

    03 Nov 2005, 12:38

  3. Christopher Sigournay

    The other notable difference between Iraq and Zimbabwe is in their military power. For all the atrocities that Mugabe has committed, they have always been directed inward. This is a crucial difference between him and Saddam Hussein, who also had a much more aggressive stance to his neighbours. Also, Iraq's military power I believe was somewhat more significant than that of Zimbabwe, and did include powerful weaponry (I don't care what was said about finding "the weapons of mass destruction and the 45 minute claim which was complete rubbish, there were blatant discrepancies in what information his government was giving us in the lead up to the war and what we knew he had in his possession at least at some point before the war – witness gassing of his own people, SCUD launchers during the first Gulf war etc) and so in a way demands attention more because of the consequences not just for the country in question but for the region.

    03 Nov 2005, 20:40

  4. Brun hob

    I see your point, thats really interesting i didnt know Suddam Hussein had an 'aggressive stance to his neighbours' as well. However, I was not suggesting Zimbabwe deserved more attention then Iraq. I do not know enough about the two countries to make such an accusation. I wrote the article to illustrate the autrocities Mugabe has committed, and the fact that i find it curious how Bush/Blair cited Suddam Husein's tyranny and bood shed against his people as one of the reasons for why Iraq should be invaded. Yet, Mugabe is also a dictator, and the 'western nations' have stood by and ignored the fact that Zimbabwe is at crisis point and desperately in need of help. I think Iraq needed assistance in some form or another, and for Suddam to kiss good bye to his power, however not in the fashion of an obscure war which is like Vietnam. Thus, looking from a cynical perspective I wondered whether Iraq had been invaded as oppossed to being given help, due to having natural resources.

    04 Nov 2005, 02:45


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