Sunday 7 March 2010
Mugabe and the Wasteland
Robert Mugabe recently celebrated his eighty-sixth birthday. This year he will also pass another milestone: he will have been in power for thirty years. Who would have imagined back in 1980 that he would have lasted so long; who would have thought that he would have taken a prosperous country and destroyed it; who would have thought that he would create a wasteland and call it peace.
Zimbabwe, the one-time Rhodesia, has indeed become a wasteland, ruled over by a third-rate Ozymandias, a place where the powerless can only behold his works and despair. The land grabs all but destroyed the economy, as so-called ‘war veterans’ took farms, farms that they had not the competence to manage themselves. And the chief victims of these seizures were not white farmers but black workers, who lost their livelihoods,
Unemployment is now reckoned to run at a truly astonishing 94% Yes, that’s 94%, which means that less than half a million of the country’s twelve million people now have a job. Now add to that an inflation rate of eye-wateringly astronomical proportions then one begins to understand just how desperate things have become.
Still Mugabe goes on, rigging election after election, surrounded by a coterie of vicious thugs, in a constant state of denial, blaming everyone but himself for the disaster of his rule, forever resting on the crutch of imperialism, of a legacy that slips further and further into the past.
Yes, there is so much to celebrate. What a bash he had on his birthday, a party that saw the consumption of eight thousand lobsters and five hundred bottles of whisky, all this as children go hungry, as ignorance and disease spread. But Mugabe goes on, the African Hitler. Oh, that’s not my comparison, it’s his;
This Hitler has only one objective: justice for his people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their rights over their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold.
OK, Mister Mugabe –you are Hitler, tenfold. And as your ignorance of European history is almost as great as your corruption, moral turpitude and political incompetence let me just say that Hitler did not bring his people justice, or sovereignty, or independence, or control over their resources. No; he brought them disaster; he took Germany to the nadir, the lowest point in its history. Altogether a pretty apt parallel, though I suspect Mugabe has not the intellect to understand just how apt.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you:
I will show you fear in a handful of dust