- THE MADHOUSE CALLED 'HOME' (KENYA) - [Col. Writ. 1/12/08]
- GATHERING OF THE TRIBE - [Col. Writ. 6/19/07]
- DREAD IN ZIMBABWE? [Col. Writ. 2/8/07]
- THE ROAD FROM OAXACA [Col. Writ. 11/9/06] Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal
- RAP'S RESONANCES ABROAD [Col. Writ. 10/13/05] Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal
- KATRINA'S RAGE [Col. Writ. 9/1/05] Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal
- KEEPIN' IT GANGSTA? [Col. Writ. 6/18/05] Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal
- AMERICAN CELEBRITY [Col. Writ. 4/20/05] Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal
- 30 YEARS AGO: EMPIRE STILL! [Col. Writ. 4/30/05] Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal
- THE CULTURE WARS [Col. Writ. 3/20/05]
- WHY WOMAN'S HISTORY MONTH MEANS LITTLE [Col. Writ. 3/10/05] Copyright 2005...
- 'NEVER AGAIN' -- REALLY? [Col. Writ. 1/27/05] Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal
DREAD IN ZIMBABWE? [Col. Writ. 2/8/07]
The flood of bad press about the southern African nation of Zimbabwe has filled this writer with ambivalence; tales of government repression, violence against pro-democracy activists, charges of corruption against the Mugabe regime, and the dire deterioration of the economy have combined to paint an unflattering portrait of the nation.
Yet two things stayed my hand; 1) consideration of the source; and 2) the knowledge that until Robert Mugabe began demanding return of the tens of thousands of hectares of land stolen by whites to African farmers, he was hailed as a hero in the West.
In much of this bad press, I noticed something vitally important was missing: the criminal fact that a tiny, wealthy white minority --some 1% of the population -- owned about 75% of the land, while the African majority barely survives on scraps of land.
The Zimbabwean economy has been endangered since the founding of the state at the negotiation tables at Lancaster House, when the African-led government inherited the debts of the white minority regime of Ian Smith. It should be noted that those debts were incurred by the Smith regime's efforts, not to feed, clothe or educate the majority of the people, but to maintain legal white supremacy by a merciless terrorist war against Africans fighting for freedom and independence from Rhodesia.
Why was it called Rhodesia?
The country, roughly the size of California, had its modern origins in 1889 when the Matabale king, Lobengula negotiated a territorial treaty with Cecil Rhodes, then head of the British South Africa Company (BSAC). King Lobangula reigned over what is modern-day Zimbabwe and Zambia after the death of his father, King Mzilikazi, who was a general in the armies of the great Ngozi Shaka Zulu.
Lobengula thought he was granting mining rights; but Rhodes took it as a grant of sovereignty -- and from that seedling Rhodesia was born.
Historian Gerald Horne, writing in a recent issue of the The Black Scholar dedicated to Zimbabwe, cited the efforts of former congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, who rose to oppose sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2006. Horne writes:
"Mr. Speaker," she said, " at the International Relations Committee meeting of 28 November 2001 which considered the [so-called] Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001, I asked a question of my colleagues who were so vociferously supporting this misdirected piece of legislation: 'Can anyone explain how the people in question who now have the land in question in Zimbabwe got title to this land?" Nonplussed, she continued, "My query was met with a deafening silence. Those who knew didn't want to admit the truth and those who didn't know should have known -- that the land was stolen from it's indigenous people through the British South African Company and any 'titles' to it were illegal and invalid...
McKinney wondered what the reaction would be if Zimbabwe were to pass a "United States Democracy Act" in light of the well-known voter frauds that have characterized electoral contests in this country, in 2004 most recently. [From: Horne, Gerald, "Why Zimbabwe?", The Black Scholar, (Spr. 2007) [vol. 37: No.1}, p.16.]
The clamour for human rights and democracy? It sounds hollow after the debacle in Iraq. Are we to believe that the US cares about human rights in Zimbabwe, when they still don't give a damn about human rights in New Orleans -- where Africans have been living for at least 200 years?
Try mentioning human rights and Guantanamo in the same breath. This isn’t about democracy. It's not about human rights. It's about globalization as the new face of colonialism; and the continued exploitation of Africa for foreign interests.
Democracy and human rights is but the latest Trojan Horse.
Copyright 2007 Mumia Abu-Jamal