24 March 2005

Extras in an internal drama


Binga, Zimbabwe The hungry children and the families dying of AIDS here are gut-wrenching, but somehow what I find even more depressing is this: Many, many ordinary black Zimbabweans wish that they could get back the white racist government that oppressed them in the 1970’s.

“If we had the chance to go back to white rule, we’d do it,” said Solomon Dube, a peasant whose child was crying with hunger when I arrived in his village. “Life was easier then, and at least you could get food and a job.”

Mr. Dube acknowledged that the white regime of Ian Smith was awful. But now he worries that his 3-year-old son will die of starvation, and he would rather put up with any indignity than witness that.


Nearly every peasant I’ve spoken to in Zimbabwe echoed those thoughts


When a white racist government was oppressing Zimbabwe, the international community united to demand change. These days, a black racist government is harming the people of Zimbabwe more than ever, and the international community is letting Mr. Mugabe get away with it. Our hypocrisy is costing hundreds of Zimbabwean lives every day.

I wonder how many people who reported on this could even hold the idea in their heads that there were worse forms of government than the old regime in Zimbabwe. Of course, it’s of a piece with all the concern over South African blacks not getting to vote when South Africa was far from unique in that regard.

One is also tempted to consider how regime change in Iraq, run by the Right Wing Death Beasts, is turning out compared to that encouraged by the Modern American Left.

P.S. The author also writes:

The West has often focused its outrage at Mr. Mugabe’s seizure of farms from white landowners, but that is tribalism on our part. The greatest suffering by far is among black Zimbabweans.

It’s not like those things are unrelated. I objected to the seizure precisely because it was obvious that it was going to severely degrade food production in Zimbabwe and that the alledged beneficiaries (poor blacks Zimbabweans) were going to be much worse off afterwards.

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