Peter Godwin says Zimbabwe lacks two of the exports the world is interested in: oil and terrorism.
It is no wonder then that the world leisurely goes about its business as Robert Mugabe and his goons visit untold misery on the defenceless citizenry.
The world did the same in 1994 as Rwanda burned and brothers turned against their own kith and kin because of the physiological accident that made one taller than the other, one Hutu and the other Tutsi. Just as the corpses from the Rwandese genocide stand as an albatross around our necks 16 years later, the victims of Zimbabwe will not let us off with clear consciences. After colonialism and the repressive regime of Ian Smith, the scourge of tribalism has now emerged as the new enemy in Zimbabwe. It now matters greatly if you are Shona or Ndebele; it is, in fact, a matter of life and death.
And death there has been in Zimbabwe!
Godwin’s book, The Fear: The Last Days of Robert Mugabe is a chronicle of death and destruction on a scale so macabre it leads one to pine for the wisdom of Kenyatta and Nkrumah, those fathers of African nationalism who advocated for a united Mother Africa. No African should be suffering at the hands of fellow Africans on a scale Mugabe is wantonly doing to his people. What is even sadder is that the maiming and the killings happen almost with the sanction of African leaders like SADC.
As the dead are hastily buried and the living flee across the borders into South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and everywhere else in the Diaspora, African leaders continue to fete Mugabe like royalty.
Authorities in South Africa downplay the events in Zimbabwe at their own peril. In an effort to believe their own lies, they continue to under-estimate the number of refugees fleeing south into our shores. The numbers are upwards of three million – and rising.
Botswana’s Ian Khama, who has suddenly started singing a new tune on the excesses of Zimbabwe’s octogenarian dictator, should read this book. So should his fellow African leaders.
The gore of Matabeleland was a Sunday school picnic. Here Godwin takes us through the pain of humans being treated worse than dogs in such vile operations as Murambatsvina – clear out the dirt.
With so much pain coming out of Zimbabwe, there’s no way it can be business as usual for the rest of the world.
Author’s Website: http://petergodwin.com/
The Fear (2010) is published by Picador.