Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Hubland and I ending up watching the documentary 'Zimbabwe's Children' last night.... we didn't mean to, most evenings we're just not up to coping with that sort of programming, however much we want to know about what is happening in the world. I'm glad we watched it as sometimes we all need to be reminded of the everyday suffering of ordinary people in places like Zimbabwe.
I'm just about to finish reading a book entitled 'Dinner with Zimbabwe' which is a psychological biography of the premier based on a series of interviews with people inside and outside of Zimbabwe that know and knew him, and even an interview with the man himself. It tries, from a psychological point of view, to understand how a shy, intelligent boy, hero of his people, became one of the world's most loathed dictators.
When I've finished I'm going to send it on to my uncle, who with my wife and cousin lived in Harare in the late 80s early 90s. Things were not easy then, I remember sending various things in the post to my aunt, including bras, but they are nothing compared with what has happened since the farm invasions in 2000. I know that what has happened in Zimbabwe has broken their hearts.
The tragedy of Zimbabwe - 1 in 7 of the population HIV positive, one of the lowest life expectancies in the world, half the population surviving only due to food aid - was a completely avoidable tragedy. The rest of the world has stood by and let it happen and that is unforgivable. Without the tacit support of its neighbouring countries (and governments further afield like China) Zimbabwe's decent into chaos would surely have been halted by now.
As Britons our hands are largely tied, with the fear that any intervention could be seen as more colonial interference. Our present Labour government, while not responsible for Mugabe's madness, contributed significantly to the descent when it refused to honour the agreements that had been made regarding compensation and land distribution by the Conservative government at the moment of independence. We also managed to communicate it through one of our least tactful citizens - Clare Short.
Despite all of this, our complicity, our responsibility, and our penchant for following other country's tragedies as they unfold, there is so little ongoing coverage of what is happening in Zimbabwe. I simply don't understand why that is.... and I'm not sure what I need to do about it.