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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

More on Zimbabwe


State radio said Wednesday people displaced by a government eviction campaign were being provided for in a 'transit camp.' Meanwhile, the government's campaign to clear the homes, businesses and even gardens of the poor from its cities has sparked more violence, a pro-government newspaper reported. The U.N. estimates up to 1.5 million people were left homeless after police burned or demolished their shacks in what the government calls a clean up campaign in the cities. The political opposition, which has its base among the urban poor, says the 4-week-old Operation Murambatsvina, or Drive Out Trash, is meant to punish its supporters. The government said Tuesday that besides knocking down shacks and the kiosks of street vendors, police were intensifying efforts to destroy vegetable gardens the urban poor plant in vacant lots around Harare, saying the plots threatened the environment.
Many of Zimbabwe's recent problems could be blamed by stupidity as much as malice. The balance seems to have shifted now though, with Mugabe determined to destroy his nation as quickly and completely as possible. It is difficult to imagine what he is hoping to gain from all this.


Blogger Random Gemini said...

He's hoping to gain what any gangster wants. Power and control. It's very sad that his people are having to pay the price for his power.

6/22/2005 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

So sad... this is something I'd rather see our troops committed to. I can't imagine any country, UN or otherwise, saying that intervention here is un-ethical. Or am I dreaming?

6/22/2005 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

The thing is, he has power and control. He is destroying the very thing he controls, for no good purpose that I can see.

I think there would be opposition to U.S. intervention in Zimbabwe. Some from nations who are generally decent but worried about U.S. power, and certainly some from nations who are pretty nasty and want to keep the precident of intervention for humanitarian reasons to a minimum.

Even if there was no opposition though, I doubt we would go. I am not even sure we should. The tradgedy is heartbreaking, but we cannot cure all the ills in the world. We have to pick and choose.

6/23/2005 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Oh, yes, I don't wamt to over extend ourselves. I'd rather, for example, we were doing something there (in Africa, no less) than what we're doing in Iraq. Note: I don't think improvement of human rights and change in the Middle East itself is a bad way to go either, nor do I think that work in Africa is more important than the Middle East, I just think the _way_ we are going about it is what irks me.

6/23/2005 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Random Gemini said...

And what way would you suggest? Given the circumstances in the middle east and the fact that diplomatic measures had been tried, with particular emphasis on Iraq, for fifteen years, where else did we have to go?

No one likes war. No one likes to see people get hurt, but war, sometimes, is an inevitable event.

6/23/2005 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Gemini: I don't agree that diplomacy was given the full effort. I think in Iran and North Korea it is, as well as the rest of the mid-east, but in Iraq it seems very clear that war was on the minds of our leaders very early on in the process. Though I don't need Downing Street Memos to lead me to that conclusion, they don't hurt either.

6/23/2005 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

Diplomacy may or may not have been given the full effort in regards to WMDs, although the Downing Street Memos being written before diplomatic efforts were tried can shed very little light on that subject.

I don't think you can seriously argue though that Diplomacy would have brought democracy to Iraq. Without a war, Saddam would still be in power. No amount of diplomacy was going to change that.

No amount of diplomacy will remove Mugabe from power either. Simply put, aint going to happen.

You can say that removing Saddam was not worth the cost (as may well be the case with Mugabe) but in both cases it seems pretty clear that only external military invasion will change the situation.

6/23/2005 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Very true -- I didn't mean for it to sound like diplomacy would have ever removed Saddam from power. War is the only short term way to do that, indeed.

Instead, I believe that diplomacy, education, and the "pure" and "good" image of freedom and democracy, when constantly applied over years (decades, even) can turn the tide.

The best form of democracy is one that comes from within. In order to do that, we need to be the shining example of democracy, causing those in the rest of the world to be green with envy.

Whe I refer to "pure" and "good", I am referring to the conundrum that we are facing with guantanamo. I know (and don't necessarily disagree with) the reasons for the secrecy of the detainees, but I also believe that there are costs with being a free nation and we could show that those costs, no matter how severe, will never take away the foundation of our country. I think examples like that would, over time, bring democracy to the middle east.


6/23/2005 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger The probligo said...

This particular "situation" has been on the NZ books now for perhaps ten years.

I have commented many times upon the various roles played by the likes of the Commonwealth Secretariat (CS), African members of the Commonwealth, the UN, and others.

Putting it shortly, the very big problem with Zimbabwe is -

Several of the more influential African nations ( including Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa ) effectively hog-tied the CS when Mugabe first began going off the rails. The threat then was that any direct move by the Commonwealth to dislodge Mugabe (seen as THE leading light in African democracy) would be considered as a threat to all.

To my shame, to my country's shame, we have a cricket team leaving for Zimbabwe in the next month for a short tour.

The first question -

"Should the NZ government prevent the players from leaving the country?" [Remember that the NZ government does not issue the visas allowing them to enter Zimbabwe.]

The second question -

"If the players refuse to tour, they are liable for some NZD2 million in fines and contract breach payments to the International Cricket Council (ICC). Should the government pick up the tab on their behalf?" [Thus far they have refused, and rightly so.]

Question 3 -

Would you change your mind if most of that money was going to the "Zimbabwe Cricket Council"?

Question 4 I will answer right now -

"What is cricket?" A strange English game. To describe it to an American - there are two books that have tried and failed. The Australians are the World Champions, and that about says it all.

6/23/2005 04:55:00 PM  

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