Defending Zimbabwe

After he left a comment on one of my posts, I checked in with the excellent and all too irregular blogger Courtney H of Neo-Jacobin. I was rather dissappointed to see him flexing his worst RCPish habit of contrarianism for contrarianism's sake (or at least, that's what I hope it is) in this post: A neo-Jacobin: Zimbabwe: a state the West loves to hate.

See also Dave Osler on Stephen Glover at Liberal Conspiracy: Glover blames "the left" for Mugabe; Osler corrects the account.

ADDED: After reading his comment, I just read Daniel Z's post on this, which is really good. What is interesting is that Daniel, who has a serious commitment to Africa (unlike many who weigh in on this issue) used to be pro-Mugabe, but his learning more about the situation in Zimbabwe changed his view, without making him change his core principles. Extract:
To the left wing liberal observer (like I think I am myself) it is sometimes not obvious that behind Mugabe's oratory skills that describe the neo imperialist and racist attitude of the North, is really nothing else but an attempt to cling on to political power. Page by page I was more and more astonished how liberation turned into nepotism and uncontrolled tyranny. Not just white farmers were the victims. Journalists, the judiciary, and anyone who had a business (including hospitals, coach companies, and believe it or not bakeries) were attacked by ZANU PF (Mugabe's party) "supporters." The country that is now almost without Zimbabweans of European background, has turned the war of liberation to war against Zimbabwean (with black skin) opposition party members. In fact Mugabe waged animosity as early as his rise to power in the early 1980s when he ferociously and stunningly destroyed his political opponent Nkomo (the contest between even predates that - not to say that Nkomo was not exactly a model politician - he saw himself as a shmoozer on foreign trips, instead of attending to home based probs). Any MDC (Movement for Democratic Change, the opposition party to ZANU PF) supporter is quasi white, by the fact that they wish to bring an end to Mugabe's rule.

Interesting is also how the land resettlement program became a political item. Whilst redestribution was always on the card, due to the very injust ownership of whites posessing most of the fertile land and income). After a compromise in Lacaster House and other negotiations that accepted a sort of status quo, years of self enrichment of Mugabe and his political clan followed and near bankruptcy of the state, especially as he sent troops into Congo. Aging former liberation fighters (also referred to as war veterans) - in their 10.000s had no pension or support on the other hand...

More like this: All my posts on Zimbabwe/All my posts on Mugabe


Thanks for high-lightening this. I have left a comment there. I fund Courtney;s reaction not surprising. Even I held similar views. It is easy to be mislead if you have Africa at heart. The words of Mugabe, and the sometimes old suit responses from the British foreign office makes the casual reader think this is an anti colonial fight still being fought out. It was only after I read the in depth account of Mugabe that I completely understood that Mugabe was what I call on Courtney's website another Mugabe style dictator on the African continent (more on my blog on 26/03/08).

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