December, 2006 Rate of Inflation, 1,740%. Unemployment, 80%. HIV infection rate, 33%. Life expectancy, 34. Motto: "Unity, Freedom, Work." National anthem: Kalibusiswe Ilizwe leZimbabwe "Blessed be the land of Zimbabwe" An Interview by Richard Fernandez, PJM Sydney
After the leaders of Robert Mugabe’s political opposition shambled into court bruised, bandaged and stitched together following their arrest at a prayer rally in Harare, and subsequent brutal beatings, reaction in the destitute and nearly destroyed country of Zimbabwe, against the regime of Robert Mugabe increased sharply.
The prayer rally happened against the background of a divided opposition facing the almost dictatorial Robert Mugabe, who is widely blamed for reducing the African country to destitution. Both MDC opposition leaders, Tsvangirai and Mutabara, were arrested though both have since been released. But Mugabe’s opposition has been galvanized-for now-by their common ordeal. News outlets, such as ZimOnline have been carrying graphic descriptions of the badly beaten opposition leaders. Tsvangirai himself “could hardly see because his face was heavily swollen, his half-shaved head clearly showing the eight stitches.”
PJM: What happens next in Zimbabwe?
Zimpundit: This crisis continues while the world watches. With no oil, or "national security" interest for western powerhouses like the US, Zimbabweans are on their own as they continue to bear the brunt of the leadership’s poor choices.
South Africa, our biggest trade partner won’t intervene either because Mbeki considers Mugabe one of his own or because he’s enviously hatching plans to carry out his own atrocities, or both.
Zimbabweans must find it in themselves to negotiate a way out of the present situation. It will take more lives, it will take more suffering, it will take more pain, but we have no other choice.
The MDC leadership will be released with no charges because the state has no case against them. I suspect, having been brutalized once, both Mutambara and Tsvangirai will be out again urging people stand up against the cruel regime. And they’ll both have stronger credibility.
Because of their visible wounds and the fact that they have sacrificed their own bodies and led by example, more people will listen to them. Their wounds and tales of brutality have the potential to spell an end to ZANU-PF’s tyranny. If the government thinks they are going to get the MDC to back down, they have a surprise coming.
PJM: Are there any red lines left?
Zimpundit: The only thing remaining to happen is a public ground swell of people refusing to stand the oppression any longer. Zimbabweans have been pushed long enough, they’ve suffered long enough, all that remains is that their anguish be channeled toward one central place.
Sooner rather than later, there will be an out pouring of rage against the oppression. The economy has yet to grind to a complete stop. Keep in mind that it was the Tsvangirai led crowds that stoppped the nation in its tracks back in 1998 protesting against the cost of living. History has a funny way of repeating itself.
PJM: Is there hope for Zimbabwe?
Zimpundit: With the nation in a shambles, there can only be hope. The impetus behind the people who were out on the streets on Sunday isn’t exclusively about what is going on in the country today; it is in large part about what Zimbabweans hope and know our nation can and will become tomorrow. The reality has long sunk in that Zimbabwe has little to offer today, but we remain inspired by prospects of a better Zimbabwe tomorrow. Yes, there is a lot of hope in Zimbabwe. In a very real sense, it’s all the people have.
ZIMBABWE THEN, “Don’t worry, be happy:” Zimbabwe in 1994 with the ever-unctuous Dan Rather as your guide to the bright and shining future. “Neither white hopes or black fears have been fully realized.”