Zimbabwe's Horror Show and the silence of the world: "One argument is the myth of time. This myth says in
substance that only time can solve problems that we face in the area of human
relations. So there are those who say to individuals struggling to make justice
a reality. Why don't you wait and stop pushing so hard. If you will just be
patient and wait 100 or 200 years the problem will work itself out. Well this
argument still goes around. The only answer that one can give to this myth is
that time is neutral. It can be used either constructively or destructively....
the people of ill-will ... have often used time much more effectively that the
people of good will. It may well be that we will have to repent in this
generation not merely for the vitriolic words and violent actions of the bad
people .... but for the appalling silence of the good people who sit idly by and
say wait on time. Somewhere along the way we must see that time will never solve
the problem alone but that we must help time. Somewhere we must see that human
progress never rolls in on the wheels on inevitability. It comes through the
tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals... Without
this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the insurgent and primitive
forces of irrational emotionalism and social stagnation. We must always help
time and realize that the time is always right to do right."
Last night I caught this discussion on Zimbabwe on Charlie Rose. The participants were: Philip Gourevitch, Chenjerai Hove, Andrew Meldrum, Michelle Gavin.
Norman Geras was born in Rhodesia and blogs about the present situation there often, on his Normblog.
The situation there is simply horrendous.
Chenjearai Hove, of Brown University, described some unbelievable atrocities committed by Mugabe, who is supported by South Africa's Mbeke, in the former's crazed bid to stay in power. In the course of the conversation, he said three things which I found surprisingly honest:
That having been a college student in Rhodesia in the seventies, he had encountered some grim instances of police brutality and torture. But, he said, nothing that was ever done during the colonial stage of Rhodesia comes even close to what is being perpetrated by Mugabe's henchmen today. If this present regime is not toppled, he said, Mugabe may pass away someday but his successor, believed to be the Minister of Housing, will be even worse.
Asked by Charlie what he thought was needed, he said "military intervention", right away. The other panelists agreed with him but dismissed the possibility that the UN would manage to hobble together and activate a necessary peace-keeping army to deal with the situation. They all said the UN will go through the motions of diplomacy and intervention but it will be all talk and prevarication and no action in sight. In the meantime, people who oppose the Mugabe rule are being hacked to death, set on fire, killed in the most cruel and unusual ways, in front of witnesses.
Then the conversation turned to Mbeke's seemingly unfathomable support for Mugabe. In this connection, Hove said that if South Africa would close its border with Zimbabwe, stopping food and other stuffs to go through, Mugabe' regime would fall within days. Again, the other panelists agreed and one of them suggested that even turning off the electricity which is supplied mainly by South Africa, may bring about the same result.
This is where I found myself, once again, confronted by the double standard: When Israel was trying to force the Hamas government to choose between smuggling weapons into Gaza, or providing food for their people, it decided to impose a blockade (of sorts) and turn off a portion of the electricity Gaza receives from Israel. Anyone remotely familiar with Israel's travails will remember the international outrage that ensued. Yet here we have a panel of serious knowledgeable thinkers who advocated these very same measures to be implemented in full in order to stop the intolerable levels of brutality which Mugabe inflicts upon his people.
What can possible account for the difference in attitude? Can anyone offer a plausible enough explanation?
And another point: while the Media, the Barking Loony Left, the criminal UNHUC are all focusing attention on Israel's so-called Human Rights violations, these unspeakable horrors take place, people are mutilated and mass-murdered in Africa. These are all well-documented and witnessed by scores of people and survivors. Yet the world's gaze is still transfixed on Israel. Real victims, who have no oil-rich sheiks to intimidate the West on their behalf, are suffering in ways that are hard to imagine, and they are blotted out of public awareness, pushed aside, marginalized, silenced, by a world's obsession with the Jewish state. Is this another version of the Czarist routine, writ global? Draw attention away from the real concentration of festering evil by creating and swelling up the bogeyman of Israel, a Jewish state? Who, then, on the UNHR Council, will speak for Mugabe' slayed and burned victims? Who will induce South Africa to close its borders and turn off the electric power it supplies to Zimbabwe, in order that finally this crazy regime will collapse under its own sheer brutality and greed?
Update (Saturday, 28 June, 2008):
Z-word made a similar point, here. And Terry Glavin opines, too, here.
Update (Monday, 30 June 2008):
Talk about the ironies of history. That it should be South Africa of all nations that led the opposition to calling this charade - a brutal farce - what it really is, is a tragedy when you remember the solidarity that was mobilized across the world in support of the people of South Africa in their struggle against apartheid. Thabo Mbeki bears the major responsibility for that.
"One argument is the myth of time. This myth says in