Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Monday, July 04, 2005

Guardian does an about turn on Mugabe
I think I know a Guardian editor that may be out of a job in an hour or two:
Zimbabwe is being hypocritically vilified by west
The evictions -- which are clearly happening on a wide scale - have been seized on by the west, and the former colonial power Britain in particular, as another reason to demonise President Mugabe and further humiliate long-suffering Zimbabwe. It's open season on the Harare regime and it appears that anyone can say anything they like without recourse to accuracy or reality. Whipped into a frenzy of hypocritical outrage, the EU, Britain and the US, as well as the World Bank -- all of which have been responsible for millions of evictions in Africa and elsewhere as conditions of infrastructure projects -- have rushed to condemn the "atrocities".

The vilification of Mugabe is now out of control. The UN security council and the G8 have been asked to debate the evictions, and Mugabe is being compared to Pol Pot in Cambodia. Meanwhile, the evictions are mentioned in the same breath as the genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans -- although perhaps only three people have so far accidentally died. Only at the very end of some reports is it said that the Harare city authority's stated reason for the evictions is to build better, legal houses for 150,000 people.

- The Guardian's environment editor, John Vidal