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African Tears Beyond Tears Innocent Victims Imire Can you hear the drums, by Cathy Buckle


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Just words again?
March 12, 2011, 9:35 am

 

Dear Family and Friends,

As each new critic of events in Zimbabwe has spoken out over the last eleven years, the official government response has repeatedly been a barrage of insults followed by the instruction to people here to: “Look East.”

As I write this letter we are trying to look east but state run media are not helping.

Japan is east of Zimbabwe but, 6 hours after the horrific earthquake and Tsunami, our state run media were too busy criticising America and Europe to Look East themselves. Six hours after the earthquake, when all the international news channels were showing rolling film footage of a massive tsunami engulfing a Japanese coastal area and a giant black wave of silt, boats and cars swallowing fields and towns, ZBC TV were carrying headline news of Mr Mugabe’s statement on Libya.

“Libya is an African issue,” said Mr Mugabe. “Africa is for Africans and we took exception to interference by imperialist powers. We resent and absolutely reject interference into Libyan affairs from outside.”

Minute after minute I forced myself to watch the main evening news bulletin. Insults, propaganda and condemnation of the west went on and on until, thankfully, an hour later the news came to an end. The tragedy in Japan had not been mentioned at all.

24 hours after the earthquake in Japan the world began to hear of the extent of the tragedy. Two hundred thousand people in emergency shelters; a nuclear emergency from radiation leaks; over 700 dead and the number growing by the hour. Still ZBC news hadn’t looked east. They replayed the Libyan, Africa is for Africans’ story; they reported Mr Mugabe’s statements about the situation in the Ivory Coast and then followed endless insults and attacks by supposed analysts and experts. Attacks on US President Obama for America’s renewal of sanctions for another year and attacks by a procession of Zanu PF officials condemning sanctions against their leaders. Still there was no mention of the horrors unfolding in Japan. 50 countries had by then offered help to Japan meantime Zimbabwe hadn’t even mentioned that there had been an earthquake.

While the world watches Japan and tries to follow events in Libya and the Ivory Coast, all sorts of mayhem is underway in Zimbabwe. A growing number of senior MDC officials and civic activists are being arrested. Munyaradzi Gwisai and others remain in custody for watching videos of uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia and this week the MDC Minister of Energy was arrested. Prime Minister Tsvangirai said the Energy Minister’s arrest was an attempt to obscure massive corruption. Wide eyed and open mouthed we received the news that the Speaker of the House of Assembly had his position nullified by the Supreme Court. The MDC Speaker, Lovemore Moyo, had held the position since August 2008 but now, 19 months later, the Supreme Court have ruled that Moyo’s election did not follow Parliamentary procedures. We now have no Speaker of Parliament and the independent newspapers are overflowing with reports of intimidation, violence, repression and political stalemates. One Editor writes that we are a country under siege again.

Recent events finally turned Prime Minister Tsvangirai back into the firebrand he used to be and he acknowledged that the unity government had irreconcilable differences. “We have come to a time when people with legendary patience like myself say enough is enough.”

Just words again? It remains to be seen.

I end with thoughts and support for the people of Japan. Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.



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