Monday, April 21, 2008

Human wave flees violence in Zim

from the NYTimes

...South African and Zimbabwean human rights groups say that the flow of people into South Africa has been surging in the three weeks since Zimbabwe’s disputed election and during the violent crackdown that followed. One Zimbabwean named Washington, who goes back and forth across the border ferrying Super Sure cake flour and Blazing Beef potato snacks, said the government was now using food as a weapon and channeling much of the United Nations-donated grain to supporters of the ruling party.“As we speak,” he said, “people are starving.”

He seemed more defeated than anything else. “People hate the government,” he said. “But they are too scared to fight it.”

Commercials are now running on Zimbabwean TV showing grainy images of captives from the liberation war in the 1970s and reminding citizens not to disobey their leaders, recent arrivals said.

In the past, countless Zimbabwean men escaped to South Africa to drive cabs or work on construction sites and send money home. But these days, many of the Zimbabweans fleeing are women and children willing to take considerable risks to get out for good....

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