Zimbabwe: the UK permits Mugabe’s brutal tactics

Zimbabwe: where to start? Ever since the national election where the brutalised population overcame ridiculous odds to manage to not re-elect vicious, criminal despot Robert Mugabe I have been increasingly befuddled by the UK response.

The press coverage is detached to the point of nonchalance, reeling off stomach turning facts as if torture were a shopping list: “four opposition activists were burned to death last night,” “the tested tactic of beatings has evolved into a full-blown military strategy of abductions and murders of opposition,” “violence has increased dramatically in the past two weeks, moving from beatings and torture to mutilation and killing, with several victims burnt alive.” That last quote from The Times which casually refers to this as intimidation.

Jesus. Intimidation is pushing and shoving, a dirty look, shouting a few profanities. To sanitise systematic, state-sponsored murder, rape, torture and beatings with the lily-livered term “intimidation” is obscene. It’s more than that: it’s fucking insulting. I’ve seen more genuine emotion in articles about battery hens than is apparent in these clinical accounts of human beings beaten, raped, gouged, burnt, shot and bludgeoned.

Why the cold detachment? Why transparent disdain for suffering? Why does homicidal maniac Mugabe still have a knighthood? Why are the only people sticking up for Zimbabwe those with tragically little power to prevent mayhem? No one can plead ignorance, yet no one seems remotely interested in doing anything.

The nearest I’ve seen to a suggestion that someone should do something is a fatuous poll asking whether or not “neighbouring African states” should intervene. Firstly, since when are questions of genocide settled by fucking opinion polls? We’re talking about murder here, not the latest shoe craze. (Would anyone dare publish something so crass if the people being murdered were white?) Secondly, why African states? Aren’t the UK and US all for going in guns blazing in defence of democracy? Oh, that’s right. Zimbabwe doesn’t have any oil reserves to plunder, so no point in sending in the cavalry.

I think the UK blatantly doesn’t care because we secretly like to watch Africa fuck up. It makes us feel justified. Somewhere in our post-colonial heart of darkness we’re chortling “told you so!” After all, Mugabe was Britain’s parting gift to the former colony of Rhodesia, a farewell flourish that said, “Oh, you want independence do you? Hahaha. Fine… we’ll just install a maniac as your leader, prop him up for 30 years… see how you like ‘freedom’ then.”

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4 thoughts on “Zimbabwe: the UK permits Mugabe’s brutal tactics

  1. i am saddened by what i have read and i cant understand why it is allowed to go on. did we act in afganistan and iraq to stop this sort of brutality, obviously oil being the real reason. we dont care about the people just our interests. as they say if we arnt part of the solution…….. IT MAKES ME SO ANGRY so many times we like to take the moral high ground and and condemm. but how easily we forget we placed him in power. (could you explain how we propped him up, i need to understand)what about china and korea how easily we pick and choose…. to be offended or act depending on our interests, saying its not our place to dictate policy in another country. huh!!!! what about Iraq.. And while we impose sanction people die… but what is the solution …… WILL SOMEBODY HELP ME UNDERSTAND….

  2. Pingback: Blood, Speeches and Fear: Zimbabwe « irresponsibility

  3. It is very sad…and horrifying, to think here we are, in another century, still not have progressed much.

  4. your writing never ceases to blow me away.

    “I think the UK blatantly doesn’t care because we secretly like to watch Africa fuck up. It makes us feel justified. Somewhere in our post-colonial heart of darkness we’re chortling “told you so!” After all, Mugabe was Britain’s parting gift to the former colony of Rhodesia, a farewell flourish that said, “Oh, you want independence do you? Hahaha. Fine… we’ll just install a maniac as your leader, prop him up for 30 years… see how you like ‘freedom’ then.”

    how many times have we seen this play out across how many different countries? how many UK / US installed / backed dictators have “gone bad” ultimately.

    in fact its harder to name examples who haven’t.

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