Meltdown in Zimbabwe
It’s really sad to hear and read what’s happening in Zimbabwe. What makes it worse is that the ‘popular’ media seems to have too many other distractions to give anything like comprehensive coverage to the situation there. And even though we do hear from many politicians expressing disquiet and concern, it still seems like we are going to have to wait TOO long before anything is done to remedy the situation.
How bad do things have to get before something is done? Here’s how a few leaders have described things:
Three members of The Elders, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former United States President Jimmy Carter and international advocate for women and children’s rights Mrs Graça Machel tried to visit Zimbabwe on 22 and 23 November but were unable to enter the country. Instead they met Zimbabwean political leaders, civil society and business representatives, donors, aid workers and UN agency heads over three days in Johannesburg. They have released a detailed report on the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe, calling on SADC (South African Development Community) leaders to acknowledge the seriousness of the refugee crisis in the region, stop deportations to Zimbabwe and establish a regional coordination mechanism to address and contain Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic.
Speaking in Denmark during her farewell ‘world tour’ Condoleezza Rice, said on December 5th “Robert Mugabe should have gone a good while ago”, and leave the power he’s held in Zimbabwe for 28 years consecutively. “If this is not the moment that it is obvious to the international community that it is time to demand what is right, I don’t know when that moment will ever come. The people of Zimbabwe have already suffered too much”
Britain’s Gordon Brown has described the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe, which has claimed almost 600 lives as an “international emergency“. The Prime Minister said conditions in the African state had deteriorated to such an extent that the international community must stand together and tell Robery Mugabe “enough is enough”. The disease epidemic has so far killed 575 people and left another 13,000 sick since an outbreak in August. In a statement Mr Brown said there was a duty to give the Zimbabwean people a “better future”.
Disturbingly, a search for comments from either President Bush or President-elect Obama shows nothing of substance in recent times. Whilst current events in the United States are obviously of paramount importance for both of them, it would be an abdication of their responsibility for them not to take a lead regarding Zimbabwe.
For Global Fayre, the cholera epidemic was made all the more real and personal this week. We received an email from Liv, of Originals from Africa. Liv is our source for the wonderful beaded creatures, made by Bernard, that so many customers of the store have appreciated. Bernard is currently in the United States seeking political asylum, meaning a period of enforced separation from his wife and family. Liv wrote to tell us that Bernard’s son had just died of cholera.
It is clear that what was once one of the leading economies in Africa is now deteriorating at an alarming rate. Of course we here in the United States are going through a crisis of our own, but it is nothing compared to the suffering that has been and will be experienced in Zimbabwe if nothing is done to remove the current leadership and reverse the current spiral of decline.