Sunday, September 30, 2007

Leftist Mythology of Mugabe Shattered

James Kirchick of The New Republic has an item in the Los Angeles Times today chronicling the history of the evil Robert Mugabe, who for some time was viewed favorably by the left. Ordinarily, I'd take anything recently from TNR and the LA Times with a grain of salt, but it's impossible to dismiss the mess that is Zimbabwe.
The characterization of Mugabe as a good man gone wrong extends to popular culture as well. In the 2005 political thriller "The Interpreter," Nicole Kidman played a dashing, multilingual exile from the fictional African country of Matobo, whose ruler was once a soft-spoken, cerebral schoolteacher who liberated his country from a white minority regime but became a despot. Mugabe certainly understood the likeness; he accused Kidman and her costar, Sean Penn, of being part of a CIA plot to oust him.

But this popular conception of Mugabe -- propagated by the liberals who championed him in the 1970s and 1980s -- is absolutely wrong. From the beginning of his political career, Mugabe was not just a Marxist but one who repeatedly made clear his intention to run Zimbabwe as an authoritarian, one-party state. Characteristic of this historical revisionism is former Newsweek southern Africa correspondent Joshua Hammer, writing recently in the liberal Washington Monthly that "more than a quarter-century after leading his guerrilla army to victory over the racist regime of Ian Smith in white-minority-ruled Rhodesia, President Robert Mugabe has morphed into a caricature of the African Big Man."

But Mugabe did not "morph" into "a caricature of the African Big Man." He has been one since he took power in 1980 -- and he displayed unmistakable authoritarian traits well before that. Those who were watching at the time should have known what kind of man Mugabe was, and the fact that so many today persist in the contention that Mugabe was a once-benign ruler speaks much about liberal illusions of African nationalism.

Mugabe's formative political education began in 1964, during a decade of imprisonment for subversive activity against the white minority regime that ruled Zimbabwe, then known as Rhodesia. While imprisoned, Mugabe earned degrees in law and economics by correspondence courses from the University of London and became a revolutionary Marxist. After he was released, he helped lead a civil war against the government.

As we've noted here recently, the people of Zimbabwe have been reduced to eating their pets, are being crushed under runaway inflation and the country is in desperate shape.

Yet the silence from the left is deafening. Probably because they love Marxist revolutionaries so much.
And over several years in the early 1980s, Mugabe executed what arguably might be the worst of his many atrocities, a campaign of terror against the minority Ndebele tribe in which he unleashed a North Korean-trained army unit that killed between 10,000 and 30,000 people.

Yet, even in the midst of these various crimes, Mugabe never lost his fan base in the West. In 1986, the University of Massachusetts Amherst bestowed on Mugabe an honorary doctorate of laws just as he was completing his genocide against the Ndebele. In April of this year, as the campus debated revoking the degree it ought never have given him, African American studies professor Ekwueme Michael Thelwell, who had been in favor of honoring Mugabe two decades ago, told the Boston Globe: "They gave it to the Robert Mugabe of the past, who was an inspiring and hopeful figure and a humane political leader at the time."
Read the rest.

If you needed any idea of how clueless some are, check out this nonsense.
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has stood and continues to stand in defence of and championing the cause of the oppressed, redistributing wealth and getting the fundamentals of a just society right.

Oppressors, exploiters, looters of wealth, those against the embodiment of our independence say he is too old and must go.
Meanwhile, here's another story of food shortages.
Zimbabwe harvested only one-third of the wheat it needs this year — a drastic shortfall the government blamed on constant power outages, official media reported Sunday.

Stores throughout the impoverished country — once considered the breadbasket of Africa — were telling customers that bread would not be available until further notice.

Most bakeries closed last week as flour deliveries ceased, worsening the situation for a nation already struggling with severe shortages of gasoline and food supplies, including its staple diet item of corn.

The government said Tuesday it would import 100,000 tons of wheat to supplement this year's yield of 145,000 tons — well short of the government's 375,000-ton target. The first 35,000 tons of the imported wheat were delayed, however, at the Mozambique port of Beira as authorities sought hard currency to pay for it.

Many have blamed Zimbabwe's agricultural decline on the government's seizures of white-owned commercial farms, begun in 2000, for redistribution to black owners.
Coming soon: Liberals crying out for us to "do something!"

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