Saturday, April 19, 2008

‘Torture and violence are surging in Zimbabwe.’

The international watchdog group Human Rights Watch announced today that members of Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party have set up “torture camps” and are rounding up political opponents of President Robert Mugabe. And beating them.

“Human Rights Watch has interviewed more than 30 people in the last two days who have sustained serious injuries, including broken limbs, as a result of these beatings,” according to HRW’s press release.

What’s unfolding right now in Zimbabwe is one of the great political dramas of our day. The U.S. media don’t seem very much interested. Whatever. The machine at your fingertips is an amazing window onto the world. You can read for yourself what’s being written by independent journalists in Zimbabwe.

I point you to the Zimbabwe Gazette and the Zimbabwe Independent.

24 comments:

dazed and confused said...

I don't know man, seems to me only way real change in a country happens is when the people themselves make it happen.

I don't see why this should be important to the US. When we can't even get our own shit together.

Michael Fisher said...

Mills...

"The "strong" will always dominate the "weak." How could it be any other way?"

And why exactly are you complaining about Mugabe again, David?

Undercover Black Man said...

Mugabe is not "strong," obviously. He is weak and marginal internationally, and he is weak at home... because he must resort to terror to maintain control.

That is not what I mean by "the strong will always dominate the weak."

Bullies aren't strong. And eventually they get their comeuppance.

Undercover Black Man said...

Meanwhile, Michael, having devoted your younger years to the black liberation struggle... doesn't this bullshit break your heart?

Michael Fisher said...

"he is weak at home... because he must resort to terror to maintain control."

And the "strong" in your social-Darwinist world resort to what? Passing out chocolate cookies with sprinkles on top?

Michael Fisher said...

Mills...

"Meanwhile, Michael, having devoted your younger years to the black liberation struggle... doesn't this bullshit break your heart?"

More importantly, before I answer that one, why haven't you replied to the point I made (upon your request) in the thread below?

Michael Fisher said...

Mills...

"That is not what I mean by "the strong will always dominate the weak."


Two questions.

(1) What then exactly do you mean by that statement?

(2) In accordance with your moral compass is it morally correct that such domination occur?

Undercover Black Man said...

And the "strong" in your social-Darwinist world resort to what? Passing out chocolate cookies with sprinkles on top?

What constitutes a "strong" nation? Stable government, prosperous economy, adherence to the rule of law and the consent of the governed, the protection of individual freedoms.

Right now, Zimbabwe's got none of that going on.

The U.S. and Western Europe have all of that going on... which, naturally, advantages them in the global competition among nations.

Now that China's economy is popping, they're making a play for Zimbabwe's resources. But Zim, being the weaker nation, will have a subordinate role in that relationship. China the dominant role.

Because geopolitically, the strong dominate the weak.

Undercover Black Man said...

(2) In accordance with your moral compass is it morally correct that such domination occur?

It is about as morally correct as the Earth rotating around the sun. Which is to say, it has nothing to do with a "moral compass."

You can sit around and say, "You know what? It's not fair that lions eat antelopes." But that won't change the state of nature.

Has there even been a human society on earth without an elite class? Whenever you put humans together, some will rise to a position of leadership.

Likewise with nations. The "strong" will constitute an elite that has disproportionate in global affairs.

Now, again, what constitutes "strong"? Is it naked aggression? No. Hitler was a bully. The Soviet Union, bully. Where are they now? In the dustbin of history.

And the capitalist democracies that defeated them are still rockin' and rollin'.

Which should provide a lesson on how to build a strong nation. A tyrannical dictator-for-life? Bad idea. One-party socialist state? Not a path to greatness.

Free markets? Yay! Representative democracy? Right on!

I think that's gonna be Africa's next phase. If they can get past the bullshit mindfuckery of racial-nationalist ideology.

Michael Fisher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Fisher said...

Mills...

"What constitutes a "strong" nation? Stable government, prosperous economy, adherence to the rule of law and the consent of the governed, the protection of individual freedoms."

China 2008

Stable government - check
prosperous economy - check
rule of law - check
consent of the governed - ?

Or let's put it this way:

Stable government - For whom by who?
prosperous economy - For whom?
rule of law - For whom by who?
consent of the governed - ?

Undercover Black Man said...

While you're busy deconstructing the universe, Michael, white folks are taking care of business.

Comes a time to leave the rhetoric back in the Student Union building and deal with realpolitik.

Michael Fisher said...

domination
(dŏm'ə-nā'shən) pronunciation

n.

1.
1. Control or power over another or others.
2. The exercise of such control or power.
"

Dominate someone without being a bully?

What's that?

Benevolent domination?


How you gonna do that?

That's the concept of the "good Master"

"Free markets? Yay!"

On the whole there ARE no "free markets" internationally, David. That's exactly my point. That is the crux of the problem. Especially as far as Africa is concerned.

Free markets are not free when they are based on robbing militarily weaker people of their resources and then imposing a system of credit and distribution after these resources have been consumed in order to build the institutions which then impose that system of credit and distribution on the folks who were robbed in the first place.

"Representative democracy? Right on!

So are you saying that an agreement that was foisted upon the majority of the people of Zimbabwe by the combined pressure of the British, the US, the South African whites, and the Soviets (all working directly and through Samora Machel of Mozambique as well as Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia), namely the Lancaster House Agreement of 1980 was the result of a representative democracy?

Did the people of Zimbabwe choose to have the "U.S. and Western Europe [who] have all of that going on... which, naturally, advantages them in the global competition among nations." dominate them globally?

Did they vote for that? Is that domination the result of a representative democracy?

Did they take a favorable vote on that at the UN?

Michael Fisher said...

Mills...

"Comes a time to leave the rhetoric back in the Student Union building and deal with realpolitik."

David, given the private conversations we've had, I think it should have occurred to you that I've practiced real politik for a long, long time. Including during my student days.

Now the reality on the ground in Zimbabwe is this:

Mugabe has the guns and, more importantly, Mbeki's support. And the reason he's got Mbeki's support is that Mugabe has been able to become the symbol of the defender of African sovereignty over stolen land. And the reason THAT is a problem for Mbeki is because as during apartheid 87% of the land in South Africa still remains out of the ownership and control of black folks.

So if Mbeki moves against Mugabe he is saying to black people in SA "forget about getting your stuff back". Which will be political suicide for Mbeki.

There is no African leader who is subjected to being elected who is going to move against Mugabe in an open way. None. Not even the President of Zambia who has come close.

Mugabe can hang on as long as he wants.

That's real politik.

But is is justice?

Ah, but then again, justice has no place in a system of real politik. At least not justice based on "Thou shall not steal". Right?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I know, Michael. It's all so unfair! It's unfair that lions eat antelopes! It's unfair that Zimbabwe doesn't have as much power on the world stage as England!

But on the real side, Zimbabwe will never be -- and could never be -- what England is. It doesn't have the history of intellectual and economic development.

Meanwhile, guess what? Who do you think has been immigrating into Zimbabwe in recent years? The whites were chased out; many blacks chose to get out... who's going in?

Chinese and South Asians, that's who. If they don't outnumber whites in Zimbabwe already, they will soon.

And what are Chinese and Indians doing in Zimbabwe? Same thing they do throughout their diasporas... build businesses, generate wealth.

So while the black nationalist/pan-Africanist complains about the white man being on top... and how illegitimate that is... in come the Asians to take care of business.

They'll probably become an economic elite in Zimbabwe the way they are in Kenya.

And the black nationalist will no doubt raise a "moral" objection to this.

And I will simply say, "Well, the strong tend to dominate the weak."

Michael Fisher said...

Mills...

"While you're busy deconstructing the universe, Michael, white folks are taking care of business."

And what does this business consist off?

Michael Fisher said...

Mills...

"But on the real side, Zimbabwe will never be -- and could never be -- what England is. It doesn't have the history of intellectual and economic development."

And what does this "history of intellectual and economic development" consist off?

When Elizabeth I sent out Francis Drake and colleagues onto the seas where was Britain economically and intellectually? What was Drake's job? To study law, ethics. and science?

Again:

"But on the real side, Zimbabwe will never be -- and could never be -- what England is. It doesn't have the history of intellectual and economic development."

Let's couch this in less polite and more direct terms: The Niggers in Zimbabwe are too stupid to govern themselves.

So why let them vote in the first place?

"When I hear, 'People aren't ready,' that's like telling a person who is trying to swim, "Don't jump in that water until you learn how to swim.' When actually you will never learn how to swim until you get in the water. People have to have an opportunity to develop themselves and govern themselves." MLK, 1957

Michael Fisher said...

Ok, David, now that we've apparently run through the Zimbabwe thing, let us please return to a question I asked you a few days ago:

"Please don't take that as an offense, but maybe, just maybe, you are functioning as a white person, David? Have you ever considered that?"

What say you?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Let me think more about that and devote a post to it later this week.

Undercover Black Man said...

Plus, Michael, I'm not done with this Zimbabwe conversation yet, IYDM.

You brought up: China 2008

Why is China prospering now? Because they're doing business with Western capitalists, that's why.

They're selling manufactured goods to the West. They're providing pools of labor to white-run corporations.

That's why India is prospering right now, also.

Can a nation prosper on this planet without dealing with European and North American capital? I don't think so.

A sophisticated African statesman must accept this as the state of nature.

Which means realizing: "Okay, I ain't calling no shots. Now what can I do that serves the best interests of my nation and my people?"

In a 1996 interview with American journalists, President Mugabe said something interesting.

Mugabe said that the only reason he goes through the motions of a multi-party democracy with free elections in Zimbabwe is... because white people insist on it.

"Mr. Mugabe said that because the Western nations that supply business investment, tourists, foreign aid and loans prefer multi-party democracy, 'we go along.'

" 'But,' he added, 'in a developing society like our own, it's better to go for national unity, a united society.' "

In other words... a dictatorship.

But I think it's clear that white "domination" in this case -- manifested in the insistence on a democratic form of government -- served the best interest of the people of Zimbabwe!

A plurality (at least) of Zimbabweans want Mugabe gone. Instead, he holds onto to dictatorial power.

So obviously, he's more interested in his own wealth and aggrandizement than the well-being of his nation.

eeaster said...

David, I think you should check out a couple of important blogs:

1. Timbuktu Chronicles: a blog done by Emeka Okafor on the technological and advancement of Africa in the micro form - i.e. all the small and medium sized business that are seriously advancing technology specific to the resources and talents of Africa

2. TED Africa: videos and speeches from last year's TED Conference in Tanzania

There are more but start with these two. You seem to be of the opinion that sub-Saharan Africa is somehow filled with idiots waiting for a handout when nothing could be further from the truth. You've drunk the Western media's KoolAid on Africa and its development.

You really have to put Africa in perspective. One thing people do not realize is that degree to which Europeans completely stripped these nations of their infrastructure once they became independent. Everything from banking systems to materials to communication. Many of them are starting over in ways that it is hard to imaging since we in the US take so much for granted.

You need copies of a screenplay, you run to Kinkos. Someone in Zambia needs a copy, and there are no roads. Or they risk losing a leg to land mines. Situations that largely came about because of the fear in the West of Africa going communist.

To suggest that any imbalances are the result of some lack of intellectual prowess is simply ridiculous.

You also miss the cultural complexity of need. In other words, it is not in every culture to need more than one has. Especially when one has more than one needs. That is a major factor in what you might think is poverty but what someone living simply may see as living closer to God.

A lot of people busting their ass working for corporations in order to afford to live simply. If you've got that already, why fuck it up?

Undercover Black Man said...

Someone in Zambia needs a copy, and there are no roads.

You mean the white folks took the roads with 'em when they left? Damn their wicked souls! ;^)

Thanks for pointing me to the TED videos. I'm hip to those, and look forward to embedding some on this blog.

But I won't pretend to be any kind of expert on African development.

And the most exciting, forward-thinking African voices I've come across are talking about capitalism, democracy, good governance... things exemplified by the white West.

I'm saying quit demonizing the white man... when there's so much expertise to be acquired from whites when it comes to building free and prosperous modern societies.

To suggest that any imbalances are the result of some lack of intellectual prowess is simply ridiculous.

Ridiculous why? You expect equality of outcomes between societies with a deep base of written knowledge... centuries of an intellectual tradition based on the written word... and cultures that never developed their own writing systems??

Why wouldn't there be imbalances??

Michael Fisher said...

"They're selling manufactured goods to the West. They're providing pools of labor to white-run corporations."

And where exactly did I oppose trade? But let me ask you this, David. How much of Chinese territory is in the hands of non-Chinese?

eeaster said...

David, I'm not sure why you're still thinking of Africa as some backwater full of idiots. Scratch an African public official and you'll find a brother who's attended Oxford, Harvard and threw is a couple of degrees at the Sorbonne just because he felt like speaking one of the six languages he's been fluent in since birth.

They are well poised to take advantage of the resources of the nations they return to. And many have.

Government is not rocket science. I've ben in poltics long enough to know that most of the people you regard as brilliant in leadership are making it all up as they go along.

Governmental failure in some African nations is much more a result of bad presidents, not unintelligent people. You don't get away with stealing billions being an idiot. Mobutu, Idi Amin - jerks, not fools. They saw opportunity and got greedy and sought personal gain instead of national benefit. Failures of character, not the result of poor SAT tests.

Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini - explain them away with an argument about written language.