Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dark Times on the Dark Continent

When it comes to current events and the MSM’s scandalous misreporting of them, I usually write about things that have a direct impact on the U.S. Today is different.

Suppose that for nearly three decades a country is ruled by one of the most brutal dictators in history. And when he seizes the country’s privately owned farms – which had been so productive the country was once considered the “breadbasket” of its continent – the agricultural industry collapses to the point the country can’t feed itself. Though the country was once among the most prosperous on its continent, unemployment soars to 85 percent and inflation to 100,000 percent.

Suppose the country holds an election in which the dictator loses, even by his own admission. But then, after delaying release of the election’s “official numbers” until the required date has passed, he fraudulently claims that his opponent failed to get the number of votes necessary to avoid a runoff election. Suppose that during the three months between the initial election and the runoff, the following things happen:

· More than 60 members of the opposition party are killed.

· The number two man in that party is arrested and charged with treason (punishable by death) for simply pointing out that his party’s candidate had won.

· The homes of three councilmen from that party are firebombed.

· Members of the ruling party arrive at the house of a member of the opposition party, find him absent, and proceed to murder his wife by cutting off both her feet and one of her hands and then setting the house on fire with her inside.

· Foreign journalists are jailed, and at least one of them is subsequently hospitalized with injuries he did not have prior to being jailed.

And suppose all of these events are known by the MSM. Surely they would be front page items in the newspapers, or at least page 2 or 3 items. Surely, articles about the events would be found in obvious and easily seen places on the main pages of MSM web sites. Surely they would receive considerable coverage on TV news programs. Right?

Wrong. These events are all real. The country is Zimbabwe, the dictator is Robert Mugabe, the opposition candidate is Morgan Tsvangirai, and the initial election was held in late March. The runoff was supposed to take place this Friday, but while writing this post I learned that Tsvangirai has pulled out of it. In announcing this, he stated: “We can’t ask the people to cast their vote on June 27th when that vote will cost their lives. We will no longer participate in this violent sham of an election.”

He was right to call the election a sham – can you imagine, after all these events, how a Zimbabwean could possibly go into a voting booth and not think he’s being watched? And it’s hard to quarrel with Tsvangirai’s decision to pull out, when it's obvious he would not be allowed to take power regardless of the outcome.

This is the kind of information the MSM skips over while feeding us drivel about Barack Obama’s melanin content, John McCain’s birth year, and Amy Winehouse’s latest stupor. If the MSM would publicize such things as are happening in Zimbabwe, the task of solving them would be made easier for the brave people who are struggling to do so against desperate odds. It would make the resolution of those troubles much more likely, and bring the moment of their resolution closer to the present, because publicity would lead to awareness, which would surely lead to outrage, which in turn would lead to support for Zimbabwe’s opposition, which in turn would cause “for real” pressure to be put on Mugabe by his international counterparts, etc. etc.

This post is not meant to suggest that I know how to solve things on the other side of the planet. It is meant to illustrate the media’s malpractice and to bring attention to one of the unpublicized horrors taking place in the world. But having said that, I do know that in Zimbabwe’s circumstances the ballot box is not capable of delivering the kind of change its citizens need. Violence – namely, armed resistance to and probably the killing of Mugabe and his henchmen – is the only thing that will start the process of freeing Zimbabwe’s citizens from the yoke of tyranny, no matter how much it may offend suburban sensitivities to say so.

Dictators understand only one language, and therefore respond to only one language. The road to liberty must always be framed with arms, just as arms were the only way to free the American colonies from the British crown and to free America’s slaves from Confederate planters.

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