Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Who is Morgan Tsvangirai?

Let’s do something “un-American.” That is, let’s pull our heads out of our asses for a minute and look at what’s happening in the rest of the world.

Obsessed with our own political campaigns, we are ignoring the presidential election taking place this Saturday in Zimbabwe. It could bring to an end Robert Mugabe’s iron-fisted rule. Or not.

President Mugabe, at age 84, isn’t ready to go.

Mugabe’s main opponent is Morgan Tsvangirai (pronounced CHANG-a-rye), head of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). One year ago Tsvangirai was arrested and beaten by Mugabe loyalists; Tsvangirai calls it a “near-fatal” ordeal.

To hear a sound bite of Morgan Tsvangirai speaking at a rally two days ago, follow this link to Voice of America. "We will stand for freedom as one, for a new Zimbabwe,” he said. “We will line up at those polling stations and we are going to vote in our millions. ...

"We expect the enemies of justice to engage in every trick in the book,” Tsvangirai continued. “We are ready for them."

According to VOA reporter Peta Thornycroft, Mugabe will not allow “white Western journalists” to cover the upcoming elections.

Embedded below are two video clips featuring Morgan Tsvangirai. The first is an interview he did four months ago with David Frost for al-Jazeera.

The other is an Australian news report about Tsvangirai’s violent detention last year.



24 comments:

Lolo said...

It's good to step to the side for another perspective.

AQUILOGY said...

They are not only banning western white journalists from covering the election, yesterday it was announced that they won't allow e-TV, a south African TV channel, from covering the elections.

Danielle said...

I hope he wins and can move Zimbabwe forward. Mugabe is just unbelievable to me.

Michael Fisher said...

If you want to know more about the historical background to this (much of it written from the perspective of my own involvement), check out the following:

here
here
here

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Very informative, Michael! Thanks for those.

Now let me ask you something about the key issue of "land reform." Rhodesia had been "the breadbasket of Africa"... because white settlers had established and maintained a commercial agricultural economy.

You obviously sympathize with the desire to return that land to black people (by any means necessary??). But as put into practice by Mugabe in recent years, this has meant the ruin of Zimbabwe's economy... and a profound food crisis.

In one of your posts, you spelled out a larger view of land reform: "to return the land to the Africans and train them to run and manage these commercial mega farms, to hook them up with the necessary financing, the various export contacts, and to train them to handle the same."

Well... I can see how one would argue that blacks are entitled to white farmers' land. But how can you argue that they're entitled to white people's expertise??

If the nation of Zimbabwe says, "Fuck private property. Give up the land, white man"... then why shouldn't the white man say, "Hey, you want the land, you got it. Let's see what you do with it. I'll go where I'm welcome"?

Wouldn't it have been in the best interest of Zimbabweans as a whole for the white farmers to keep their productive farms?

Wasn't the black-nationalist impulse to redistribute land very short-sighted... and ultimately disastrous?

What was wrong with the tradeoff of, "We white farmers get to keep our private property, and you, black nation, get to have a prosperous economy, a trade surplus, abundant food, etc."?

Michael Fisher said...
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Michael Fisher said...

Mills...

"I can see how one would argue that blacks are entitled to white farmers' land. But how can you argue that they're entitled to white people's expertise??"

Tis may be an imperfect analogy, but here it goes:

Let's say I break into your house, steal one of your scripts, copyright it under my name, win the inevitable law suit (mainly because the judges don't like Negroes who are lighter than I), and negotiate an above the line revenue participation deal with a producer who turns it into the biggest blockbuster ever.

Now with that money I send my kid to the best private schools period, while your progeny has to make due with some private schools if at all. (Plus I made sure via my new-found Hollywood power that you don't get a job anywhere at any time).

Now I got the money you claim, plus my kids got expertise they wouldn't have had without my theft.

Would it be morally correct to not only turn the ill-gotten revenue over to you, but to give your kids the expertise they would have acquired thanks to your efforts?

Michael Fisher said...

As to the necessity of returning the land, please check out this here

Undercover Black Man said...

Your analogy highlights my point, Michael. If you were to break in an steal a script I wrote, you'd be taking more than a physical thing... you'd be taking my expertise. My expertise is the thing that gives the script value.

Land is just dirt. But a farm is more than dirt. The ideology of "land reform" seems to have been: We want the dirt back!

But what gives Zimbabwe's arable land its value is the system of agriculture developed and maintained by white Rhodesians.

If whites had never set foot in Southern Africa, that land would not have been developed into a large, commercial agricultural system.

You can take back the dirt... but you can't take the expertise that made that dirt valuable.

If you want to keep that white expertise -- for the benefit of the nation as a whole -- you gotta cut a deal.

Michael Fisher said...

Mills...

"If whites had never set foot in Southern Africa, that land would not have been developed into a large, commercial agricultural system."

First of all that's an assumption. Second, it doesn't matter. If you use something without permission and deny access to that something to the rightful owner, you ought to repair the damage you've done, plus you've got to hand over everything that goes with what you've stolen.

That's the concept behind reparations. Reparations is not about money. Without an understanding how to handle money it soon will end up in the hands of those who gave it to you in the first place. Reparations is about property + information + opportunity to actualize + access (to world markets).

The reason the whites need to hand over their expertise as well is very simple:

It is the right thing to do.

Otherwise known as Justice.

Undercover Black Man said...

First of all that's an assumption.

An "assumption," is it? You're the one saying they need white people to teach them how to run large-scale commercial farms. How do you figure Africans would've developed large-scale commercial farms on their own? There's nothing you can point to in history to support that.

Let's be real, Michael. Isn't there something pathetic about this dynamic of: "Fuck you, whitey, we're taking your shit! Uhhh... can you please teach us how to run it?"

"Justice," as you seem to imagine it, means giving back what was taken from black people. The dirt is what was taken. The agricultural and commercial expertise was not taken... so it cannot be "returned." Black folks never had it.

Mugabe wanted black people to have the dirt. Well, they've got the dirt. Now what?

Meanwhile, other African nations who want to build prosperous economies -- for the benefit of all -- have welcomed these displaced white farmers and their skills.

Another kick in the pants for bullshit racialism.

Michael Fisher said...
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Michael Fisher said...

Mills...

"Fuck you, whitey, we're taking your shit! Uhhh... can you please teach us how to run it?"

First off, it ain't "whitey's" shit in the first place. So black folks can't "take whitey's shit". Second, a criminal needs to make restitution. What you are basically arguing is the notion "I can utilize your property better than you can, thus I got the right to use it and you forfeit that right". According to that moral compass, I can take anyone's stuff, including yours.

Now if you have expertise/information and you want to trade it for natural resources in a fair exchange, I'm game. But if you steal my natural resources and refuse to provide me with the expertise you otherwise would have sold me for the use of these natural resources, then things change.

Naturally, I'm gonna demand payment. The payment not being money, but the expertise you would have had to pay me with in the first place. Plus interest.

Again. It's called "The Right Thing To Do" a/k/a a correct moral compass.

That is not about "racialism" but about universalism.

By the way, I'm about getting rid off racialism and racism. The concept of "race" in itself is based on everything but obejective physical reality.

But one can't get rid of this stupidity by burying one's head in the sand and ignoring that a whole system based on that stupid ass concept is in existence.

And it can't be done by begging the perpetrators of racialism. Illicit Power acquiesces only to POWER.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Does "justice" demand that the United States return all land to the American Indians?

Michael Fisher said...

Mills...

"Does "justice" demand that the United States return all land to the American Indians?"

Yep

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Then fuck justice.

Michael Fisher said...

Mills...

"Then fuck justice"

And that sentiment is exactly why ZANU was forced to kill all these white people.

Now if the Native People were still in the majority in this country and were able to organize themselves, what do you think they'd do with folks that displayed this attitude?

Michael Fisher said...

Though I tell you what...

The Cherokees and a few other shouldn't get one inch of their land back and turn it over to black folks.

They definitely forfeited their stuff.

Undercover Black Man said...

And that sentiment is exactly why ZANU was forced to kill all these white people.

Which did black folks so much good, didn't it? Zimbabwe can't even feed its people.

Michael Fisher said...
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Michael Fisher said...

Look, David. For ten years Mugabe did pretty much what Britain asked of him at Lancaster in 1980. I already knew then, in 1980, that the Lancaster House Agreement would lead to where Zimbabwe ended up.

I thought then already that signing these accords that did nothing for the landless black farm workers were a big mistake.

Mugabe shoulda said "fuck it" and kept on fighting to have the land restored, and then recruit African-American farmers to show them how to run stuff - the way the late David Sibeko, head of the South African PAC of Azania had planned to do.

So I ain't surprised.

Michael Fisher said...

By the way. This episode of Miami Vice with Charlie Barnett in it. I knew Charlie quite well. That crack drove him crazy. but he was probably the funniest comedian you ever saw. It is thanks to Charlie's drug habit and the resulting erratic behavior that Eddie Murphy got his chance to shine. If Charlie had kept his appointments - history would look quite different.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Thanks for this, Michael. Wish I had seen him in person.

nightzone said...

The informations are really useful to me...if any of us can suggest me issues of whether should or should not for other countries to intervene in zimbabwe...