Sunday, June 22, 2008
HOW MUCH DO WE KNOW ABOUT ZIMBABWE?
This is the problem when you know there is a long history of our media lying. A BBC which described the ex-SS auxiliary & public supporter of genocide, the Bosnian Moslem leader Izetbegovic as a "moderate minded Moslem committed to a multicultural Bosnia", may or may not be slightly more truthful this time.
I don't know that everything they tell us about Zimbabwe is a lie but I don't know that it isn't & I do know that the people saying it are prepared to tell any lie. I also know that we don't get to hear from the people being demonised. The last time I saw some real foreign policy opposition on TV was when the Chinese ambassadress appeared on C4 News to defend their record in Tibet - she knew her facts & took John Snow apart - he was reduced to saying that the guards around the Olympic flame weren't competitively chosen students from across China but secret police because our press had said so.
My problems with the story we get:
- Sir Robert Mugabe used to be a fine upstanding example of how Britain's example could produce moderate successful governments (hence his knighthood). Now he is "another Hitler". When exactly did he metamorphosis & was there any sign of it other than taking over from white farmers, who after all, are the hardly the world's most oppressed minority?
- What else has Zimbabwe done that makes it more worthy of our attention than, for example, Congo?
- How much is the place's economic chaos is down to its own government & how much to western formal & informal sanctions because if the latter then blame does not lie fully with him?
- Is Morgan Tsvangirai & his lot really more democratic than his opponent or are they merely our thugs against their thugs? Is this case merely supporting the leader of 1 tribe rather than another?
- Are we funding his campaign, as we did in Serbia, Ukraine & Georgia among others? If not who is?
- Have we any plan for what to do in the event we move in? For example much of Africa's problems are that state boundaries have nothing to do with ancient tribal/national boundaries but were drawn on maps in London & Paris. I suspect dividing it into 2 countries on ethnic lines would work best - Basuto is about the only successful subsaharan state & is relatively ethnically homogeneous. However I see no sign anybody has even been thinking of this let alone prepared to do it.
- It is clear that Zimbabwe has had a somewhat democratic first round & if Mugabe didn't win he came close. Not like Saudi then, whose leader is apparently a fine fellow. There certainly are a lot of people willing to vote for Mugabe. If everything we are told is true why is that?
My suspicion is that this is merely the current TV war being rolled up for our entertainment & distraction in the best tradition of the Roman gladiatorial games. We also see the public being ramped up to face this week's hate figure. We seem to have had a lot this year - Mugabe, Sudan, the Chinese, the Burmese & of course al Quaeda (though bin Laden himself has almost become an unperson). The problem with gladiatorial games, however entertaining, is that real people die. Are our actions against that country doing the locals any good & is there any prospect that even if successful (looking at Iraq & Yugoslavia perhaps particularly if successful) they ever will?
If not we should abide by the rule of law & mind our own business. Is there any case since Korea when intervention to "help" another country has actually done so? Is there not a long history of it turning out that the "good guys" we were putting in were more corrupt, less competent & no nicer than the "baddies" we were taught to hate? If not we should at least examine how to do it better before killing more.
And in complete contrast to that here is a suggestion I made of how to at least do it while keeping our own hands casualties down - though perhaps the locals would welcome us, a promise I have heard before:
According to the TV today there are 500,000 Zimbabwean "political refugees" in Britain. That must be well over 100,000 potential male soldiers. Why not form & invite them to join a British Foreign Legion which could, in due course, go back there, after training in Afghanistan. I'm sure they would all jump at the chance - at least if they are genuine political rather than economic migrants they would.
Spiked, independently, has done an article on similar lines & their writer has answered several of my questions & the answers are rather as i had expected.
The serious cases are when the Bosnian Moslems mortared & sniped at their own people in Sarajevo to give the west something ot put on the news, the woman who was hung in Bosnia to give the Guardian a front page & Hamas puttingtheir artillery in the middle of villages to attract counter fire.
Some editors & journalists should have very guilty consciences.