Jeff Nolan, writing on “an 8 year long train wreck that will inevitably only be ‘discovered’ by western media when more people die and guns erupt in Harare. Maybe Bob Geldof and Bono will hold a concert”:
It’s somewhat cruelly ironic that South Africa is now suffering the consequences of Zimbabwe’s collapse given that SA President Thabo Mbeki has defended and propped up Mugabe for years.
Consider that this was written way back in 2001. This horror has been unfolding for a long time.
Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that there would be no Zimbabwean crisis without this key dimension of South African support. As former South African Prime Minister John Balthazar Vorster showed when he made Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith accept majority rule and allow Rhodesia to become Zimbabwe, a South African government has the leverage to make Zimbabwe do as it wishes. It is this phenomenon of Mbeki’s and the ANC’s support for Mugabe–betraying the entire human rights tradition of the South African liberation struggle–that has given the Zimbabwean crisis its truly continental and tragic significance.
Mbeki is a one-note politician, constantly playing the race card because he can’t do the unity thing. He lives and breathes the doctrine that there are two South Africas - one rich and white, the other poor and black - and to cut off Mugabe (whose tyranny could not have continued without financial help from South Africa) would have meant Mbeki siding with white farmers. Oh noes! So the death and destruction and human rights abuses have continued. Meanwhile, ignorant westerners think that any brown person who’s president of South Africa must be a good guy.
Hell, if a terrorist (and terrorist supporter) like Mandela can end up as some kind of ‘walking saint’ (as a friend of mine - who is an atheist, as it happens - insists on describing him), why not Mbeki?
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