Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Is it time for revolution in Zimbabwe?

A Zimbabwean senator wrote an op-ed piece for the Washington Post, proposing that powersharing with the Mugabe regime was the only nonviolent option. Here's the comment I posted there:

I'm sure Senator Coltart's assertion is correct: the powersharing agreement is the only nonviolent alternative.

However, that doesn't make it the only alternative.

No one should propose violent revolution lightly, and I don't. My own country--America--tried everything before resorting to revolution, and in that revolution, many people died or suffered grievously. And in our case perhaps it wasn't necessary. Certainly Canada and Australia and New Zealand all transitioned to independence peacefully--as did Zimbabwe's southern neighbor, to the astonishment of the rest of the world.

That said, surely we all agree that there are conditions under which violent revolution is the least worst alternative. the question is whether this is true in the case of Zimbabwe, and, sadly, I'm afraid it is.

Mugabe has become a tick firmly embedded in his country's body, bleeding it dry. He has stated recently that Zimbabwe is his personal possession. He appears to have veered into clinical megalomania. And an insane dictator is even more dangerous than your ordinary despot.

And in this case it really looks as though Mugabe and his cronies are already at war with the people of Zimbabwe. Maybe we just have to recognize this fact.

But then the question is will South Africa's government stop aiding and abetting the Mugabe dictatorship? This quiet collusion is shameful and flies directly in the face of S.A.'s own commitment to democracy.

Of course there's the issue of Africa's general inability to transcend its bitter memories of the colonial era. Mugabe fought colonialism, therefore he's a fine fellow. Well, the colonial era ended several generations ago. Africa needs to get out of reactive mode and deal with the present in terms of the present.

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