7/02/2008

Where's the black outrage over Mugabe?


There is a deafening silence from the African Diaspora about taking a stand against Robert Mugabe's deadly regime. African leaders attended the African Union summit in Egypt this week and reluctantly approved a resolution to have a government of national unity in Zimbabwe.

From BBC:

The summit's host, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, made a strong speech in which he said that Africa's conflicts were a major impediment to development.

"There can be no development without peace and no advancement without stability," he said.

And he went on to enumerate the continent's conflicts: between Djibouti and Eritrea, Chad and Sudan, and in Somalia.

But of Zimbabwe he had nothing to say.

Zimbabwe is an embarrassment, which some African leaders do not want to mention in public in the hope it might just go away.


Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, most African Americans seem to have nothing to say about Zimbabwe. While many A-List black celebrities made their way to London last week to attend Nelson Mandela's birthday bash and celebrate the former South African president's accomplishments of bringing multiracial democracy to his country, these same celebrities are mum about the country next door where henchmen harass and kill people for not voting for Mugabe.

How I long for the days of mass demonstrations led by African Americans in opposition to South Africa's apartheid system 20 years ago. Just like our silence over the killings in Darfur, thanks in part to China, blacks around the world have become oblivious to Zimbabwe.

Even the people you would think would know better, just don't.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young is among those who still manage to see more morality than malice in Mugabe's rule. "Americans cannot be rational about Mugabe," Young said. "We've always miscast Mugabe. He's a fundamentalist Roman Catholic. ... He doesn't steal."

Young traces Zimbabwe's troubles back more than 30 years, to the failure of the United States and Great Britain to fund land reform efforts as generously as promised.

Similarly, Nicole Lee, head of TransAfrica Forum, a Washington-based human rights group founded by black Americans, points to "a larger context" that includes the failure of Western nations to fund programs to grant farmland to poor black Zimbabweans. She, too, says that Americans shouldn't "demonize" Mugabe.

There's just one problem with that. Mugabe has become a demon.


Thank goodness for the elders for keeping it real.

Georgia Congressman John Lewis said he supports a more forceful response to Mugabe's tyranny. "Just because he's a black leader of an African nation doesn't mean that we can afford to be silent," he said.

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1 Comments:

At Tuesday, July 08, 2008 10:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

also, nobody's said anything about the series of killings of immigrants in south africa (black on black). i think it would be a serious topic for black americans to engage with given this country's immigration climate. black south africans are lashing out violently against african immigrants, many from zimbabwe and other southern african conflicts. "it takes all kinds".

 

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