I am back once again on the subject of Crazy Bob Mugabe, the 84 year old dictator of the once lovely country of Zimbabwe, a man who just won’t go away.
As you now know, he has been sworn in for a sixth term as president. You may have seen the picture of him, holding a bible of all things, claiming victory in a one-man race, after he killed and maimed the leadership of the opposition, driving 200,000 of them from their homes until his rival quit the race.
Morgan Tsvangirai, head of that opposition –The Movement for Democratic Change, should get a medal for personal bravery.
Mugabe should swing from a gallows after a trial for genocide.
Morgan Tsvangirai described Mugabe’s swearing in ceremony as an exercise in “self delusion” and made the obvious point that it was meaningless.
I should say.
Many voters were threatened and forced to go to the polls to vote for Crazy Bob as the sole candidate.
Mugabe’s machete-wielding thugs searched for Zim residents who didn’t vote by checking fingers and looking for those folks without the ink stain of the voting booth. Mugabe’s men beat people with clubs if they couldn’t prove they voted.
More than 2-million votes were cast for Mugabe, said international observers.
Despite violence and intimidation, more than a quarter million people voted for Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mugabe’s men burned the homes of opposition voters, killing and maiming some.
Another 131,000 courageous people defaced their ballots as a protest.
Of course, the entire country was aware that the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had dropped out.
Mugabe has driven millions of citizens across his borders and has killed and injured more than 10,000 members of the opposition, some in the cruelest and most vicious ways.
Dirai Chipiro, wife of an opposition leader, was burned to death after they cut off her limbs as part of an interrogation while trying to find her husband, who was in hiding.
The once prosperous Zim is in its agonized death-throes as a country.
Mugabe has run it since 1980, and he has run it into the ground.
Inflation is now so high that no number seems to apply. The percentage increase is in the millions and there is almost nothing to buy anyway.
Mugabe has destroyed the once thriving agricultural business that was the bedrock of Zimbabwe’s economy.
Twenty five per cent of the country’s citizens, about 3-million people, have left, fleeing across the borders.
And until the last few weeks, South Africa’s Thabo Mkebi sat silent, refusing to criticize another black leader, even a man as monstrous as Bob Mugabe.
This is a fellow –Mugabe, who used to collect honorary doctor’s degrees from American institutions like the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Michigan State University. He was given an honorary degree at Edinburg University in Scotland.
Mugabe’s notorious Fifth Army brigade, trained in North Korea, slaughtered 20,000 innocent Zimbabweans during the very period that he was being honored in the United States with honorary law degrees.
American Law degrees! For a man who made a mockery of the rule of law.
As Roger Bate pointed out in a recent article in the Wall St Journal, Mugabe slaughtered and raped and stole from his own people in the 80’s at the same time that he was stealing farms in Zimbabwe and looting diamonds in the Congo.
And it was American liberalism, in the form of Jimmy Carter, who was crucial to Mugabe rising to power in the first place.
When the first democratic elections were held in Zimbabwe in the spring of 1979, after British colonialism, close to 65 per cent of black voters cast their ballots.
This, despite threats of terrorist attack from Mugabe, who killed voters and threatened to kill many more for voting for a Christian bishop, Abel Muzorewa
Bishop Muzorewa, of the United Methodist church was popular. He won the election and became prime minister.
Mugabe issued a “death list” before that election. Take a gander at the rhetoric he used then for clues as to what drumbeat he was marching to in 1979.
The 50 men he promised to kill were described as, “traitors, fellow-travelers, puppets of the old regime, opportunistic running-dogs and other capitalist vultures.” Mugabe then assassinated 10 of them.
The Carter administration was immediately hostile to the democratically elected bishop, a moderate who had been educated in the US.
Bishop Muzorewa was denounced as a “neo-fascist” by the leftist Andrew Young, a Carter sycophant who was US ambassador to the UN.
Consider that the bishop was one of the very, very few democratically elected leaders in Africa.
Jimmy Carter refused to meet with him when he came to Washington to ask for US support.
Meanwhile, Mugabe, a self-described Marxist, made clear his plan for Zim to become a one-party Stalinist state.
The Carter administration brokered an arrangement that brought Mugabe into the government of Zimbabwe anyway. Soon the Bishop was out and Mugabe was running the place. (Later Bishop Muzorewa was arrested on trumped-up charges by Mugabe and imprisoned.)
Andrew Young was quoted as saying about Mugabe then, “he is a “gentle man.” “I can’t imagine (him ever) pulling the trigger on a gun to kill anyone.” A completely idiotic statement, not the only one from Young over the years of his public life.
So, Andy Young –a darling of the media in the 80’s, but a handsome, limited man all hat and no cattle, and the pious Jimmy Carter, now luxuriate in comfortable surroundings in Atlanta, never having issued an apology for the part they played in the destruction of a country and its people.
Let’s take a look at what Mugabe was doing after he was elevated in political life by Carter and Young.
In 1983, his 5th Brigade soldiers lined up and executed, by shooting them at point blank range, 62 young men and women who had had the nerve to oppose Mugabe.
Soon, thousands of Zimbabweans were shot by Mugabe troopers. The 5th Brigade was famous for making their victims dig their own graves while singing songs of praise to Mugabe before they were executed.
Rapes and beatings, and the murders of thousands of innocent people, were all encouraged by Mugabe at the very time the University of Massachusetts was draping him in robes and mushy words.
Just a few weeks ago, on June 15, 2008, after all these years, that university in Amherst, Massachusetts, pressured by some students, took back their degree to Mugabe saying it was a mistake. It was the first time the school had revoked an honorary degree in its 150 year history. A Massachusetts state representative named Kevin Murphy, to his credit, joined the students pushing for revocation and helped pressure the board.
Murphy called Mugabe “an affliction on the people of Zimbabwe" Good for him, he had that right. But here’s the part Murphy had wrong. On June 15, talking to the university board of trustees he said the “initial decision” to honor Mugabe back in 1986 was motivated because Mugabe then “appeared to represent the hope of a self-determined Africa. But, he said, “The promise we saw in 1986 was false.”
The fact is, Rep. Murphy, in 1986 anyone who was even mildly interested could have told that deluded university faculty and administration that Mugabe was a ruthless tyrant who had already killed thousands of civilians in Zimbabwe and that the “hope” he represented was likely the hope to be able to kill many, many more.
Joe Duffy, then the U of Mass chancellor, and a fellow who I used to know, said at the special ceremony to honor Mugabe, employing quite Orwellian language, that Mugabe was “ a champion of human rights,” the exact opposite of what he really was.
Joe Duffy said, as Nelson Mandela’s daughter presented the new “Doctor Mugabe” his doctoral hood, and all the school faculty and staff stood beaming, that Mugabe had “rebuilt” the Zimbabwe economy for the betterment of the people of that country. Actually, Mugabe was already working to dismantle that economy and he has now succeeded in literally destroying it.
The best line of Chancellor Joe Duffy’s that day was that Mugabe “has laid the foundation for racial harmony between blacks and whites” in Zimbabwe. Ha, what a crock, since Mugabe had already begun fanning the flames of race hatred.
This pipe dream apparently is what Joe Duffy, a nice but very weak man, and a remarkably ineffectual administrator, believed in the face of facts to the contrary.
Joe was an old friend of Bill and Hillary and they made him director of the US Information Agency in the Clinton Administration. Soon, because of his glaring character weaknesses, he presided over the dismantling of his own agency by the bi-partisan wrecking crew of Jesse Helms and Madeline Albright. This was a terrible action and has proven over the past decade to be public diplomacy a loss to the US government and its taxpayers as the State Department, without USIA’s help, has failed to successfully counter radical Islamic propaganda.
Michigan State University, which gave their honorary degree in 1990, while Mugabe was tightening his Marxist control of Zim, has yet to repudiate. The same with the Scottish university.
Here is a thought: it comes from Obert Madondo, an African intellectual.
Don’t take back those degrees and honors. Let Mugabe keep them.
And let them serve as a reminder of a time in history, one that has been repeated regularly, when a genocidal, murderous dictator went on a decades-long rampage and the “international community” so –called, and the West in particular, looked the other way or actually cheered him on.
As Obert Madondo said, “any university that respects human rights would never have given (those degrees and honors) to him in the first place.”
All three, The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Michigan State University and the University of Edinburg, should apologize to the families of the millions of victims of Robert Mugabe for acting like pom-pom girls through all those years of misery. But they won’t. They never do.
The international community –every nation with any commitment to decency -must mount a campaign of serious, relentless pressure on Mugabe to effect peaceful change in Zim before the country sinks lower into a blooded abyss too deep to escape.