Monday, 9 February 2009

Quick hit: Horror in Zimbabwe

From Stuff this morning, things just don't seem to be getting any better in Zimbabwe:

Dozens of Zimbabwean opposition activists detained on terrorism charges, and who local rights groups say have been tortured, are in life-threatening danger because they have been denied medical treatment for months.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said on Saturday the government had defied several court orders since December to release the detainees and allow them to seek medical treatment.

President Robert Mugabe's government has charged more than 30 members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) with bombing police stations and recruiting people for an insurgency – charges all the accused have rejected.

The detainees have been severely tortured and the health of several, including a 72-year-old villager who has been held for 100 days, has deteriorated over the last few weeks, the rights group leaders said at a press conference.

How people can have the strength to stand up to a regime that does this astounds and amazes me. And how others can draw any comparison between Robert Mugabe and Helen Clark flabbergasts me entirely.


Anna said...

I think I feel even more paralysed in relation to the Zimbabwe situation than I do the Gaza one. I'm interested to hear from anyone engaging in any sort of activism around Zimbabwe.

And Julie, I actually feel disgusted at people who compare Clark to Mugabe - they're simply mocking the suffering of Zimbabwe's people.

Brett Dale said...

Didnt Keith Locke think this was great for Zimbabwe when Mugabe took over?

Julie said...

And you've never been wrong about anything Brett? Your comments here would tend to suggest otherwise.

Anna said...

I think, Brett, that Mugabe's rise to power needs to be looked at in the context of Zimbabwe's colonisation/independence experience - and African politics more broadly.

Julie said...

Sorry Brett, I apologise for my earlier grumpiness. I'm bummed about being stuck in the office after such a fantastic weekend full of the great outdoors.

Hugh said...

Brett, to turn it around, I don't recall your tory friends saying that we should have kept Ian Smith on.

While I don't want to denigrate the suffering alluded to here, there is an interesting counterfactual here. Would we in the West hear so much about Mugabe's misdeeds if his policies hadn't, at one point, disproportionately targetted white people?

Because what has been described above is by no means unique to Zimbabwe, it's happening in many other places in Africa, most of them in cities and countries the average New Zealander doesn't even know exist. Of course, everybody involved is a uniformly coffee brown.