Monday, September 27, 2010

Zebras killed

violence against MDC personnel and innocent civilians continues, but this headline should make the animal loving western press notice:

from SWRadioAfrica:

Invaders kill over 300 zebra at illegally occupied game reserve

Rodrigues visited the Denlynian and Tamari Wildlife Farm in Beitbridge after receiving reports that it had been invaded by a group calling themselves "Zhove Conservancy Co-operative." The members of this group include police, army, civil servants, rural council employees, war vets and ZANU PF activists. Because of the slaughter the eland population has dropped from 973 to 374 - a loss of 560 animals and the zebra population has fallen from 871 to 163 - a loss of 708 animals. ...

get your chicken to change ringtones

via Kubatana trust:

Download Freshlyground's Chicken to Change ringtone here

Mugabe cancels Ecuador trip

from the AP:

he was offered an "honorary degree" by a dissadent/breakaway Anglican "university" cleric who used to run guns to FARC (a now discredited revolutionary group in Colombia)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Being first lady is hell

Michelle Obama once told the wife of France's president that being first lady of the US was hell.

Got a lot of flack in the US, but I sympathize. She wasn't trained to be a hostess, but was brought up in the neighborhood, not in society, and is trained as a lawyer.

So now, she is stuck doing things like this:

Poor Michelle, mother told you there'd be days like this: (you can almost see in her expression she is thinking...must not laugh...must not laugh...)

The redhead is Chantal , and her husband, the President of Cameroon, has been nominated for the corruption hall of fame by a French Catholic human rights organization:

According to the authors of “ill-gotten gains, who benefits from the crime”, Paul Biya’s family owns castles in France and Germany, as well as many timber and mining companies. The presidential couple through their many "looting sprees" are said to have caused "the bankruptcy” of a Cameroonian banking company (Société Camerounaise de bank).
and their last vacation cost one million Euros, making Michelle's modest Spanish trip look cheap.

Which is why a lot of us are sceptical about the UN insisting we "aid" poor countries via their governments.

but there is good news: She doesn't have to pretend to like Grace.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Measles kills 70

from AFP

HARARE, Zimbabwe — A measles outbreak has claimed the lives of 70 children in Zimbabwe over the past two weeks, mostly among families from apostolic sects that shun vaccinations, state media said Thursday...

These "apostolic sects" often mix old testament rules and Christian ideas with African customs. They often are run by a prophet, and alas shun modern medicine, so their people often die of easily treatable or prevented diseases.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Manipulating Western Guilt


again, not about Zim per se but about manipulating western guilt to cover the sins of the new dictator.

...A new book by Edward S Herman and David Peterson focusing on the use of the term “genocide” in the media and academia - The Politics of Genocide (Monthly Review Press, 2010) - argues that the western establishment has “swallowed a propaganda line on Rwanda that turned perpetrator and victim upside-down” (p.51); the RPF not only killed Hutus, but were the “prime génocidaires” (p.54); there was “large-scale killing and ethnic cleansing of Hutus by the RPF long before the April-July 1994 period (p.53); this contributed to a result in which “the majority of victims were likely Hutu and not Tutsi” (quoted with approval, p.58)....

This book deserves attention for the fact that it opens with a lengthy foreword by Herman’s long-term collaborator, Noam Chomsky. Chomsky remains for many an exemplary champion of human rights; a quote from him even emblazons the respectable academic website on which the leaked UN report has been published.

Many others, however, reached a very different view after examining his comments on the Khmer Rouge record in Cambodia, his indulgence of Holocaust-denying writers, and his encouragement of Bosnian genocide-denial. But even in this gruesome context (to use one of Chomsky’s favourite words) his endorsement of The Politics of Genocide - with its denial of genocide in Rwanda as well as Bosnia - goes further.

A dead zone

This book and Noam Chomsky’s foreword inadvertently show just how multi-directional the politics of genocide have become. It is true that official western propagandists minimise “our” crimes and represent those of “our” enemies in over-simplified ways, and that such legerdemain merits exposure. But it also clear that anti-western propagandists - Herman, Peterson and Chomsky among them - are guilty of the same evasions and distortions from the “other” side.

They argue that in official western narratives, “our victims are unworthy of our attention and indignation, and never suffer ‘genocide’ at our hands” (p.104, italics in original). Yet in anti-western, Chomskyan narratives, an identical process occurs: the west's enemies, whether Serbian nationalist or Rwandan “Hutu Power”, have never committed “genocide”, and their crimes are always of less significance than those of western-supported forces...

read the whole thing if you are interested in the "denial" industry and the "it's only crime if the west did it" propaganda that passes for news nowadays.

China's potemkin village

not about Zimbabwe, per se, but Tom Friedman wrote a pro China propaganda piece in today's New York Times, lauding China's economic miracle, and insisting that although he wouldn't want to live under it's "authoritarian rule", nevertheless, it is a wonderful place.

I answered it at my BNN blog, pointing out that China's economic miracle is partly based on an underpriced Yuan and unfair labor practices that mean new businesses in Asia and Africa can't compete, while China's bribery to corrupt governments mean they can exploit their resources for pennies, while local folks don't benefit.

The previous post from the UK Mail shows an example of this with the blood diamonds, but here in the Philippines, it includes suspected bribes to the Arroyo administration to allow them to have sovereignty over our gas fields in the Spratlys islands. But this is the tip of the iceberg: Today's news shows that bribes to customs officials allowed the importation of melamine contaminated milk from China, and in our area, cheap Chinese onions have made many of our farmers bankrupt.

From my BNN essay:

China is undoubtedly a growing power, but what Friedman is not noticing is most worrisome for those of us who live outside the US: that China’s economic policies-are essentially neocolonialist. By keeping the Yuan’s value artificially low, and by giving government subsidies to their goods, they are waging a price war against emerging markets in Africa and SEAsia.

By flooding the markets with their under-priced goods, thanks to the underpriced Yuan, local businesses here in the Philippines can’t compete. So local businesses either can’t be started or go bankrupt.

Is this good or bad? Both. I have no problem with free trade per se. But China’s manipulation of the Yuan means that they are not playing fairly.

And President Obama is trying to pressure China to reform the problem.......

To the President’s credit, he is allowing the Congress to consider passing protective legislation to counterbalance these unfair trade practices.

China’s economic miracle is based not only on their questionable currency manipulation, but on bad labor practices (underpaying workers, forbidding strikes), and (alas) often the export of shoddily made or even counterfeit goods due to a large amount of corruption at all levels of their society.

We here in the Philippines are aware of this, because we have to worry about buying products from China, because a lot of them are poorly made and break shortly after being bought. Sometimes the goods are even dangerous, such as melamine in our milk or the cheap generic medicines that don’t work. And we also know about the large bribes by China to certain politicians to allow them to steal our natural resources.

So one longs for a real report on the Chinese economic miracle, that sees a more balance picture, instead of a glowing report on what the Chinese government wants Mr. Friedman to see.

China is buying Mugabe's bloody diamonds

A report on how Mugabe is selling his blood diamonds to China, via the UK Daily Mail.

Today, the fields are a military zone — and anyone caught there faces being beaten to death.

The reason for the secrecy became apparent during an undercover ­investigation at the fields, where I found conclusive evidence of ­collusion between China and Mugabe.
In an official — but highly-confidential — agreement between the two countries, the Chinese People’s ­Liberation Army and Mugabe’s ­military chiefs are plundering this diamond find, believed to be the ­biggest in the history of the world and worth an estimated £800 billion.

So vast are the riches that diamond experts believe the gems from Marange — in a country of less than ten million people — could account for more than a quarter of all ­diamonds mined around the globe, and could even trigger a massive slump in diamond prices if the stones come on the market and cause a glut.

Read more:

Monday, September 20, 2010

South Africa seeks removal of Zim sanctions (again)

from SWRadioAfrica

The South African government will next week lobby for the removal of targeted sanctions against Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF officials, during the 65th session of the United Nations in New York.

Death by silence

from the Zimbabwe telegraph:

A five-year genocide in Zimbabwe from 1982 raised barely a whisper from London, Washington or the UN.

Journalist and genocide scholar, Geoff Hill, looks at a shameful episode that has yet to be resolved.

In July this year, Mr. Melusi Matshiya was arrested in Zimbabwe’s southern city of Bulawayo for trying a display his paintings of a genocide in which several of his family were killed.

Depending on who you talk to, from 1982 to 1987, between 10 000 and 40 000 people were murdered in the Matabeleland province around Bulawayo. The government is still so touchy that most of the bodies lie in mass graves and families who try to exhume them face arrest.

Robert Mugabe who ordered the killings, remains head of state, but is banned from entering the Europe, the US and a dozen other countries because of human rights abuse since 2000 and a string of rigged elections.

His party, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) still controls all key ministries and the army.

You can talk politics in Zimbabwe, but there are risks: In early September another young man was jailed for 10 months for “insulting the president” whom he described as old and wrinkly.

Independent newspapers are coming into print after a government monopoly that dates back to when Mugabe nationalised the press in 1981, and more political space exists now than at perhaps any time in the past 50 years … unless you want to discuss the killings known locally as Gukurahundi or “a wind that blows away the chaff”....

In late 1980, Robert Mugabe visited President Kim il Sung in Pyongyang and signed a secret deal for North Korean instructors to train an exclusively Shona unit that would answer to Mugabe himself. A year later, the resultant Fifth Brigade entered Matabeleland commanded by Lt Col. Perence Shire who now heads the Zimbabwe Air Force....

“When the world turned a blind eye to Matabeleland, Mugabe may have expected to get away with the second round of carnage he inflicted on the whole of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“The international community must learn that impunity for serious crimes entrenches a culture of violence and abuse.”...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mugabe takes over more businesses

From the BBC:'
All firms valued at more than $500,000 will be required over the next five years to sell a controlling 51% stake of their companies to black Zimbabweans.

Among the many internationals in the line of fire are Barclays, British and American Tobacco, BP, Nestle and Unilever. ..

Mr Kasukuwere, who has amassed significant business interests here in recent years, did not rule out the possibility of buying assets in foreign firms himself.

Critics fear that many other senior members of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party, along with some military leaders, may do likewise. ..

Hint to Mugabe: Here in the Philippines, they only ask for 20 percent of the deal, not 50 percent.

and given the large amount of money being invested in Africa by China, one thinks this protester is out of date:

Reuters photo

Jealous Charities the cause of arrest of Americans?

from the Zimbabwean:

The lawyer representing four Americans arrested on charges of distributing HIV drugs without licenses says a jealous Zimbabwe Aids charity is to blame for the saga. ...

The Centre is a Harare-based charity that provides counselling and information to people with HIV/AIDS. When asked to comment on the allegations, the Centre’s Executive Director Freddy Kachote vehemently denied his organisation had any involvement in the arrests.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chicken to Change

Mugabe just pulled the visas from this group...hmm...wonder why?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

American doctors held in Zim

from the NYTimes

OHANNESBURG — Five Americans — two doctors, two nurses and an organizer — who carried donated AIDS drugs to Zimbabwe for distribution to the poor were arrested Thursday and remained jailed in Harare on Saturday on a charge of dispensing the medicine without the supervision of a pharmacist or proper licenses, their lawyer said. ...

The Americans belong to the Allen Temple Baptist Church AIDS Ministry in Oakland, Calif. The church serves a predominantly African-American congregation. Three or four times a year since 2000, members have paid their own way to Zimbabwe to give antiretroviral medicine, vitamins, clothing and food baskets to impoverished people with AIDS.

The epidemic is severe throughout Zimbabwe and the country’s broken health system fails to treat most people in need...On this trip, the team had brought a four-month supply of antiretroviral drugs for about 800 people with AIDS, some of them orphaned children, in Harare and Mutoko, a rural district....

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Colony

AlJazeera report on a film about the Chinese colony in Dakar...

"...Small Chinese businesses have been expanding and growing rapidly across the African continent [EPA]

Upon arriving in Dakar and more recently Liberia, I was shocked at how visible the Chinese presence in these African countries is. Many African nations are mired in hopeless economic prospects, yet in these places the economy was booming for the Chinese.

With the Chinese, unthinkable growth was possible even in countries long abandoned by the West.

Cranes, enormous dump trucks, and construction equipment of all kinds baring Chinese logos and imported from China could be seen feverishly building late into the night.

And workers brought over from China can be seen overseeing all aspects of construction.

There are Chinese restaurants serving genuine Chinese cuisine everywhere. During my second trip to the country I lived on authentic steamed fish and dumplings. Chinese goods like cars, motorcycles, pots and pans, shoes, pesticide, clothing, plastic toys, etc., are very popular among local consumers.

Everywhere I looked I saw evidence of Chinese activity in Dakar from large-scale fishing companies and stadiums to toothbrushes and cheap jewellery sold on the street...."

there is a film at the link

Friday, September 10, 2010

hunger again

the gov't run Herald insists they don't need handouts, only the lifting of sanctions.

But the UN differs:

Zimbabwe: Food Security Improves, but 1.68 Billion People Still Need Food Assistance

Another economic crisis?

from the Zim independent:

what will happen when South Africa deports all those million of Zimbabweans without jobs? Will the economy collapse without the money sent in from that country?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Fides report on Zim refugees in SA

Fides news agency:

On September 2, the South African government announced that by the end of the year it will withdraw the special permit granted to thousands of Zimbabweans, allowing them to reside in South Africa without documents. "After December 31, all undocumented Zimbabweans will be treated the same way and will start being expelled," said a spokesman for the South African government.
"South Africa and Zimbabwe have very complex relationships involving the ruling parties in their respective countries," said Fr. Mario, who questions the viability of the measure: "I think this measure will be difficult to implement. The ANC, the party in power, is divided between a populist current, sympathetic to the position of the President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, who supports the return of refugees, and another that wants to maintain good relations with the United States. The latter current fears that the expulsion of refugees may harm relations with Washington, especially on economic terms."
There is a strong community of Zimbabweans living in South Africa - about 1 ½ million people who left their country to escape hunger and political persecution. "Zimbabwe was once considered the breadbasket of Southern Africa; some people even called it the Switzerland of Africa. The economic policy of its leadership has plunged the country downwards, now making it among one of the poorest nations in the world with a massive unemployment rate and a crumbling agricultural economy that has forced Zimbabwe to have to import food from abroad," mentions Fr. Mario.
The presence of a high number of refugees from Zimbabwe, to which are added the immigrants from other countries like Mozambique, has led to tensions with the South African population and resulted in severe episodes of intolerance and xenophobia (see Fides 23/5/2008), which were condemned by the Catholic Church in South Africa (see Fides 29/5/2008)....

Monday, September 06, 2010

ZANUPF violence stops food aid

from swradioafrica:

The Governor’s office in Matabeleland South has reportedly said that 300,000 villagers in four districts urgently need food supplies, but they are getting no assistance from donors. Serious food shortages have hit the drought stricken province, and villagers say organizations that usually provide them with food left the area, due to interference by ZANU PF officials and their violent thugs.

The situation has become so dire that last week the provincial governor, Angeline Masuku, summoned leaders from all political parties and civic groups and made an urgent appeal to donors for food supplies....

sorry for lack of posts

I've been sick and then the internet went off and on.

Will have to catch up on Zimbabwe news before I post
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