Peter Tatchell in the Weekly Worker. While I disagreee with him on many issues, he utters some uncomfortable truths.
"I chanted outside South Africa House with 25,000 others eighteen years ago. Where are the mobs waiting to sack the Zimbabwe Embassy ? " - this blog, December 2003.
"We can see very clearly that the people of Zimbabwe are crying out for solidarity. They are pleading with the world: ‘Support our struggle for democracy, human rights and social justice.’ Mugabe has betrayed all those values, all those ideals. Where is the left’s solidarity with the people’s struggle in Zimbabwe?
Those of us who protest in solidarity with the Zimbabwean struggle for social justice, human rights and democracy are denounced by some on the left as the agents of imperialism, as ‘white racists’. Did they say that about white people who supported the ANC’s struggle against apartheid? Of course not - the ANC implored white people to get involved and to show solidarity with black South Africans. But when it comes to Zimbabwe, all those internationalist principles are ditched by much of the left. Correct me if I am wrong, but I have not heard voices of protest from Respect or the SWP. They seem to take the view that black Zimbabweans, trade unionist Zimbabweans and socialist Zimbabweans who are being tortured and murdered should be left to their miserable fate. Apparently it is not our responsibility.
I am sorry, but I do not buy this leftwing ‘hands off’ mentality. Tyranny is tyranny, whether it is perpetrated by a person who is white, black, brown or yellow. Mugabe is Ian Smith with a black face - only worse. Ian Smith never massacred half the number of black Zimbabweans as Robert Mugabe has done. He was a monster for sure, but only half the monster - no, less than half the monster - that Mugabe has become."
But Peter, what you need to grasp is that the Left in the Western world is no longer driven by concern for the poor and oppressed. It's driven by self-hatred and the secular version of Original Sin. So it doesn't matter how many heads Mugabe breaks, how many women are hung, burned or beaten in Iran, Saudi, Nigeria, Pakistan, how many dead in Darfur (unless you can slag off the west for not doing enough), Congo, Cote D'Ivoire, Indonesia. We're not doing it, so it doesn't count. What use is it to AL Kennedy, Pilger or Fisk to write a piece on slaughter or cruelty that doesn't contain the word 'WE' ?
"If socialist leaders turn despotic, if they abuse human rights, if they tear up democracy, if they attack trade unions, then they are no longer worthy of our support. In fact they are just as much deserving of our opposition as anyone else. The fact that Zimbabwe is a poor, ‘third world’ country, and is suffering from the legacy of colonialism, cannot justify or excuse gross abuses of human rights. The full responsibility for the massacres, the murders, the tortures and the rapes lies with Robert Mugabe and the leadership of the of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. They are the ones who are responsible; they are the perpetrators."
You're micturating into a force ten, old boy.
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