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September 17, 2007

5

Zimbabwe lunacy – “fasting is actually good for you”

by quaesitor

This is about a month and a half old – but only had it brought to my attention by this week’s THE WEEK (for the uninitiated, The Week is a seminal publication, reducing journalists’ blather and waffle into a manageable read). In SA’s CAPE TIMES newspaper back in July, there was an interview with an official in Zimbabwe’s so-called Finance Ministry, a man by the name of Doc Mtusi. Mtusi’s commentary on the starvation crisis now affecting one of the most fertile and productive countries on earth is revealing to say the least:

The unpatriotic hoarding of food gives the impression that we have a problem, which clearly we haven’t, except in the South African media’s mind. We do not call it starving, we call it fasting. Fasting is actually good for you. Lots of famous people have fasted for the benefit of their people. Gandhi, for instance. In our case, the people themselves will be encouraged to fast, thereby strengthening themselves against the onslaught of colonial imperialism. We have no objection in principle to people eating. Those of us in government all eat, but only because persons in our important positions have to. What we must guard against is the belief that people have the right to break the law if they are hungry. (You can read a fuller account of the interview on Political Vuvuzela as the original Cape Times article is only available to subscribers.)

I simply don’t know where to begin. It makes me incandescent with rage to read this absolute piffle: it is self-serving, hypocritical and imperiously twaddling cant. It has the hallmarks of Marie Antoinette – except for the fact that she was not actually the one who said “Let Them Eat Cake” and was most probably not quite as callous as the revolutionaries made out (see one possible explanation on Phrase Finder). But this Zim quote is real, attributable and on the record. Who do they think they are kidding. It makes you sick.

Oh beloved Africa! When will it end? How long, O Lord?

I couldn’t help but be reminded of a haunting song by a band I was really into in nearly 20 years ago (!yikes!) – FAT AND FRANTIC. It is called simply AFRICA, and was written (apparently) after a visit to Uganda in the mid-80s, when things were REALLY bad (as a result of Milton Obote‘s second and even more deadly regime). I used to listen to it sometimes while driving home from work in Kampala and simply weep. Yes it is uncomfortably true about colonialism as well as the modern corporate world’s attitude to the continent. But Africa’s tragedy NOW is that the post-colonial optimism of the 60s has been disintegrated by the freedom fighters’ oppression – for Mugabe was heralded by some in the 80s as Africa’s last great freedom fighter – indeed his early speeches were Mandela-like in their magnanimity. But no longer. FaF had it right:

Africa, my beautiful sister and my brother, Africa
Africa, my beautiful sister and my brother, Africa

With your bloated belly, your drum-tight skin,
your swollen tongue, dry eyes crying;
and brothers, sleek and fat and white,
are desperately justifying
stealing from my hungry sister,
my starving brother, Africa.

They’re stealing from my hungry sister,
my starving brother Africa.
Africa, my beautiful sister and my brother, Africa
Africa, my beautiful sister and my brother, Africa

Africa, they raped you my sister,
they beat you my brother Africa,
Africa, they raped you my sister,
they beat you my brother Africa,
With your beaten back, your broken neck,
your bloody face, your body dying;
you can’t detain and whip a whole nation,
but your brothers still aren’t sick of trying
to kill the raped and beaten soul
of my sister and my brother, Africa.

They want to kill the raped and beaten soul
of my sister and my brother Africa.
Africa, my beautiful sister and my brother, Africa
Africa, my beautiful sister and my brother, Africa

WORLD! Do something about Mugabe! PLEASE! Listen to Archbishop John Sentamu’s plea in yesterday’s Guardian: SAVING ZIMBABWE IS NOT COLONIALISM, IT IS BRITAIN’S DUTY.

 

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5 Comments Post a comment
  1. the Fool
    Sep 17 2007

    What can I say other than AMEN.

    Words fail me, I do not have the vocabulary to adequatly articulate my pain, my helpnessness or the rage in my mind at this continued injustice.

    Reply
  2. L.M
    Sep 17 2007

    What is happening in Zim is very heart-rending. I am reduced to tears whenever I pray for the nation. My thoughts are often with my family and the people of Zim. However, despite all the negative reports, I have hope that with God’s help Zim will come right again. The following poem by Rev. Martin Niemoller a German Pastor, written in 1945 reminds me of the importance of speaking up for others. Thank you for your support and for speaking up!

    First they came for the Communists,
    and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Communist.
    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Jew.
    Then they came for the Catholics,
    and I didn’t speak up,
    because I was a Protestant.
    Then they came for me,
    and by that time there was no one
    left to speak up for me.

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Zimbabwe: spot the difference « Quaerentia
  2. Kubatana.net speaks out from Zimbabwe » Blog Archive » Stay put or stay poor

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