Global Shunning

As Mugabe’s fascist thugs beat the opposition into submission, the Pan-African Parliament and the African Union have a major test of their willingness to call for a postponement of the phony run-off election. Marwick Khumalo is an election observer from the Pan African Parliament.

“How can you have an election where people are killed and hacked to death as the sun goes down?” Mr. Khumalo asked. “How can you have an election where the leader of one party is not even allowed to conduct rallies?”

Mugabe has ruled too long on the false assurances of anti-colonial African solidarity, where the South Africans looked the other way. The world was not afraid to resist South Africa’s Apartheid by global boycott. It should impose the same sanctions on Zimbabwe. Just a simple step like cutting off Zimbabwe from the global credit card system would finish off what is left of the country’s tourism industry. The mineral exports which Mugabe uses to support his reign of terror, should be subject to sanctions at the UN, despite South Africa’s threats of a veto.

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0 Responses to Global Shunning

  1. Dan says:

    I’m not sure that sanctions are genuinely enforceable. And if they are, I don’t think that much of the violence in Africa involves struggles over wealth. (I admit I’m not terribly familiar with Zimbabwe.) More common causes are longstanding tribal and ethnic hatreds, frequently fertilized by deep-seated superstitions. Too many Africans believe that all of their troubles arise from the fact that other Africans are still alive and breathing. Sanctions on mineral rights will cut off funding to the dictator-du-jour, but that might simply make the country vulnerable to predations by neighboring countries who have no trouble funding the next dictator-du-jour.

    So I’m not sure what the answer should be. Peacekeeping forces? Maybe. Combined with deft efforts to finally resolve the ethnic differences in a way that everyone can accept.

    No small trick.

  2. Nikc says:

    Dan you’ve got absolutely no idea about zimbabwe do you?

    dictator-du-jour. pfff

  3. Dan says:

    I’m aware that Mugabe has been in power for quite some time. And that he has threatened to ignore election results that match up with what he wants.

    I also know that he was himself a dictator-du-jour once, though he managed to hang on to power. Probably because he was successful at using the country’s mineral rights to fund his regime.

    Take away that funding, without doing anything else, and what happens?

  4. Hugo says:

    If we could figure some anti-Semitic angle for him, maybe Mr. Jimmy Carter would go out there and monitor the fairness of the elections.

    Granted, he didn’t help much with the Pakistani ones of late, but they weren’t really all that important and, besides, everyone knows that he’s persona non grata in that region once visited with his unique brand of deadly fecklessness and megalomania.

    Still, he’s a nice, half-frocked Baptist who photogenically hammers nails into houseframes for the poor, so just maybe he could go over to Zimbabwe and love ’em all into getting along. The Bambi Doctrine, and all that.

  5. Jon Taplin says:

    Hugo- You are in a mighty cynical mood recently. I asked a simple question. Does the apartheid type boycott still work to change country’s behavior?

    I figured you would have an answer?

  6. Dan says:

    Calling Carter anti-Semitic is inaccurate and unfair, and ignores the messages that he has sent to both sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

    If he’s a megalomaniac, he’s the first one I know of who calls for peace, compromise and tough choices. Usually they strut around in jackboots and kick off illegal invasions.

  7. Hugo says:

    Sorry, Jon. It’s not really cynicism; more dyspepsia. President Taylor, as you may know, died from the quackery that resulted from the dyspepsia that resulted from his eating a bowl of iced cucumbers washed down with a pitcher of cold milk. My regal dyspepsia is the result of feasting on the present condition of children, washed down with great helpings of systems theory. Only Zachary Taylor had only the White House quacks, whereas I have the very best of physicians.

    The answer is no, it won’t work in Zimbabwe; or, more to the point, it won’t work on Mugabe. The boycott of South Africa didn’t work as well as it should’ve done, either. Israel managed to repair any of their crucial lacks, and the Dutch just washed their good through Ivory Coast.

    But to the extent the South African boycott did work, it worked for reasons absent in Zimbabwe today. The ANC were an army then; today, a respectable party. They managed to create a grassroots call in the townships FOR the boycott. I don’t see anything like that in Zimbabwe. More important, perhaps, was that the industrial profile of South Africa was formidable and diverse—much like that of California, actually—so that we really were the natural trade partners for them and our divorce really kicked them in the gut. The top seven or so industrial sectors of California, that was all the stuff that was at the top of South Africa’s shopping list. Seriously, from the defense widgets and semiconductors down to the sports apparel.

    And one more thing: the moral stigma hurt the Apartheid regime. They hemmed&hawed about it for as long as they could but it outwore them, that giant stink. They got tired of hanging their heads.

    Now, Mugabe? Nah. Not possible. And his industrial profile? What industrial profile? He’s killed a largely agricultural economy through some sort of Dada (pun intended) version of Found Collectivization. He is approximately the most virulent racist in the world, and if anyone of any color tries to condition any benefit upon improvement of the living conditions of his people, he’s likely to ask for names and shoot them first just to prove how little he cares.

    Mohandas Gandhi was an enlightened man. But it goes only so far. Violent regime change is the only way I can see, and I could conjure some ways for that to happen, indiginous and international, but there are people better at that sort of thing than Jimmy Carter or I.

    And Dan, I stand corrected. Jimmy Carter is not a megalomaniac. Strictly speaking, he’s a solipsist.

    Enter Mugabe.

  8. Alex Bowles says:

    South African style sanctions are unlikely to do any good, for a variety of reasons.

    1. South Africa was run by a white, western population that considered itself a part of the first world. Sanctions left many of them (at least the ones of British descent) feeling as though they’d been kicked out of their own club. Mugabe, on the other hand, has spent his entire career fighting the club. In fact, it’s his chief point of pride, and the primary source of power. He’s already made a monstrous straw man out of the British in propaganda campaigns accusing them of constantly trying to undermine his rule and the independence of Zimbabwe. The ‘relentless meddling’ of these ‘colonial powers and imperialists’ is actually Mugabe’s primary non-violent defense, and is used to deflect blame for just about every economic failure that has befallen the country under his rule. In other words, sanctions would have about as much effect on his outlook as telling Sid Vicious ‘you’re a punk’.

    2. You can’t sanction a government that cares less about its people than you do. After all, if a UN backed sanctions program resulted in 30% of the population starving to death (as Mugabe’s own policies have done) there is no way that civilized nations could go on supporting it. Mugabe, on the other hand, has no problem with a death rate like this, provided he can choose (as he does) which portion of the nation will go hungry. By selecting those areas most likely to support opposition, he is able to use the lack of food as a weapon. The infrastructure for administering systematic deprivation is already in place. With additional sanctions, he’ll just pull the noose tighter. Then he’ll turn around ans blame the British for the suffering – just like he’s already been doing throughout two decades of accelerating economic decline.

    3. You can’t act against an economy that has already been driven into the ground. Given quadruple digit inflation rates (the world’s highest, by far), starvation levels that have made life expectancy the world’s lowest (37 for men, 34 for women), and the already complete decimation of the nation’s agricultural base, there really isn’t much left to act against. South Africa could be sanctioned because it was a functioning nation. Zimbabwe is little more than a crater.

  9. Alex Bowles says:

    Sorry, just realized I’d echoed Hugo to a tee. But it comes down to this; for sanctions to work

    1. The regime in question has to feel a cultural (and therefore ethical) connection to whoever is doing the sanctioning.

    2. The regime in question needs to feel some accountability to its people, suffering if they suffer, or at least feeling their legitimacy threatened by the pressure.

    3. The regime in question needs to have something more than their own lives to loose.

    The junta now running Zimbabwe has none of the above. It has descended into a pure kleptocracy, operated by mass murders (no joke) with a class of half-starved and entirely uneducated thugs for protection.

    If the military junta fractures, as it may well do once Mugabe dies, the country could descend even further, into outright civil war.

  10. Hugo says:

    Alex you cause me to offer a new word, “Hardfelt”; for which I justify to the Oxford committee on lexicography their very good word “heartfelt”, a word wrought from long experience. So now I’m commending to them a most painfully earnest derivation, “hardfelt.”

    I await, and will respect as always, their decision.

    Guns at ready.

  11. Nikc says:

    targeted sanctions against regime leaders

    weapons sanctions against the nation

    regional ostracism

  12. Nikc says:

    and sporting sanctions too

  13. Rick Turner says:

    Zimbabwe is in the throes of a national murder/suicide frenzy…which seems fairly common now in sub-Saharan Africa.

  14. Rachel says:

    This story, from The Independent, is all too believable: . Mugabe’s thugs plan mass murder of the opposition on polling day.

    Sanctions really aren’t going to be enough.

  15. Nikc says:

    Last night’s Dateline (SBS Australia) on the situation in Zimbabwe was shocking, particularly the film ‘Mugabes calling card’

    Not sure if it will be watchable outside australia.

  16. Hugo says:

    Ogawd, Rachel. That is seriously not good news. Even the first post-Apartheid elections in S.A. were very dicey, dangerous happenings.

    That’s truly nasty stuff. When do even decent people look to the possibility of “good violence” overtaking “bad violence”?

    Are we ready for such sadness?

  17. Rick Turner says:

    Is this some sort of mass psychosis that is serving to reduce a population that cannot take care of itself? This is the kind of news that has me reading up on the Gaia theory…that the earth is a living organism that will take care of itself to the point of horrendous kill or die-offs of the population that is harming it.

  18. Hugo says:

    Rick you’re starting to sound like me, and that cannot be a good thing.

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