Thursday, June 26, 2008

for zimbabwe

i am so sad to see what is happening in beautiful zimbabwe.

the "election" is today... happening right now, there.

"Mugabe, 84, is seeking to extend his 28-year rule of the country, which is in its 10th year of recession and has the world's highest inflation rate of at least 355,000 percent. The United Nations, U.S. and southern African leaders say a free and fair election is impossible and have demanded the ballot be postponed."

of course it hasn't been postponed. it's happening, it's a sham, and i pray there will not be too much death today.

one take on the situation and what must be done from the ghanaian chronicle.

"More than that, people have died to place this man where he is. People grew up in and died in the bush, fighting for Zimbabwe. Everybody trusted Robert Mugabe with the country. Bob Marley trusted him, and composed a magnificent song to immortalize the country’s independence. I trusted him, and you probably did, too." ~ Rethabile Masilo, a blogger at african path

i was in zimbabwe during the summer of 1996. i was there with a uc berkeley african-american studies exchange program (all uc students could go). the country was safe then, one of the safest countries in africa. 12 years ago. mugabe was president then too. he married a 16 year old girl when we were there, and they declared a national holiday and no one worked, and everyone went to the palace to see the wedding. there were pictures of him everywhere, in all the stores and schools, but it didnt seem like it was a real dictatorship - things just weren't that bad.

but he is a dictator, an old, bad one, and now, things are really bad.

we lived with african host families in harare, the capital. zimbabwe got their independence from britain in 1980; before that they were called rhodesia. the families we stayed with lived in middle class areas that had been white neighborhoods until 1980, when the african people were given full rights. the middle class blacks moved in, and the middle class whites moved out. amazing how some things are so similar, in countries thousands of miles away.

our class, with our teachers, took some weekend field trips to places like victoria falls and hwange, a wild animal preserve.

scroll down or click here for some pictures of this gorgeous, amazing country.

No comments: