Skip to comments.Holocaust in Zimbabwe (Mugabe drives hundreds of thousands from homes)
Posted on 06/24/2005 4:31:12 AM PDT by Paul Ciniraj
When Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe systematically burned out white farmers and murdered them for their valuable land, the civilized world hardly noticed.
It was about wealth redistribution, said Mugabe. It was about land reform, he said. Those buzzwords were enough for the international community and the slaughter continued.
Now Mugabe has turned his deadly attention to the poor driving hundreds of thousands from their homes in what he euphemistically calls an "urban renewal" program or "Operation Drive Out Trash."
At news conferences in Africa and at the United Nations, more than 200 international human rights and civic groups said the campaign, was "a grave violation of international human rights law and a disturbing affront to human dignity."
But words don't mean much to Mugabe.
Since police launched the blitz in Harare May 19, it has been extended throughout the country, causing sporadic rioting as poor residents try to resist the destruction of their homes and livelihoods.
This week, the campaign in a nation facing severe food shortages moved on to the vegetable gardens planted by the poor in vacant lots around Harare. Authorities say the plots threaten the environment.
International rights groups said at least 300,000 people have lost their homes by conservative estimates. The United Nations puts the figure as high as 1.5 million, though Zimbabwe police only acknowledge about 120,000.
More than 42,000 people have also been arrested, fined or had their goods confiscated.
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, who has been a sharp critic of the evictions, said he is so angered by the campaign he was "ready to stand before a gun and be shot."
The rights groups urged the African Union, which is meeting in Libya next month, and the United Nations to act against Zimbabwe but did not specify how.
They also demanded that Zimbabwe compensate the displaced and allow them access to humanitarian workers, who they say are currently being blocked from providing relief.
Several people have been reported killed in the mayhem including a 2-year-old trapped inside her home when the police came with their bulldozers and leveled the house.
All that is left is the foundations, a pile of rubble and a small dirt grave with a wooden cross and a girl's name scrawled on the back of a piece of scrap metal.
"The police came. They had been sent to destroy the house," said Herbert Nyika, Charmaine's father. "They knocked down the building, the walls; they smashed everything. This was when our child was trapped inside. She died there."
Her mother, Lavender, said: "I blame the government because it is they who instructed the police to do what they did. It is terrible. I have lost my daughter in such a strange way."
Every day in Harare, in Bulawayo, in the towns and cities of Zimbabwe, police in riot gear are systematically moving from suburb to suburb forcing people from their homes.
The scale of the clearance is so great there is too much work for the police to do, so they are now forcing the people to destroy their own homes, or charging them a fee for demolition.
The churches are full, their lavatories are overflowing, the people have nowhere else to go. The government moved more than 2,000 people to Caledonia Farm, a resettlement camp outside Harare, with no clean water, sanitation or access to food.
What turned Mugabe against the poor? Some say the reason is political retribution, to punish the urban electorate for voting for the opposition. Others say he is simply a madman a Stalinesque, power-hungry tyrant who takes pleasure in the misery of others.
The devastation comes at a critical time mid-winter in Zimbabwe. There was a food shortage in the country before the campaign was launched. And this campaign has even included the destruction of grocery stores and small gardens.
The widespread homelessness, coupled with food shortages and unsanitary conditions are sure to mean slow, agonizing death for hundreds of thousands if not millions. Mugabe's campaign is just over a month old and shows no signs of abating.
The Reverend Oskar Wermter, former secretary to the Zimbabwe Roman Catholic Bishop's conference and a parish priest in one of the poorest downtown areas, called the crackdown against these plots "insane and evil."
"They are sleeping in the open air tiny children and people dying of AIDS and people you thought still had some decency are defending this crime against humanity," said Wermter. "It is a watershed, it is the beginning of the end, but the end will be terrible."
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change has accused the 81-year-old Mugabe of imitating Cambodia's former Pol Pot regime by driving pro-MDC urban voters back to rural areas for "re-education."
It alleges food access is being used as a weapon of political reprisal following the March 31 parliamentary elections won by Mugabe's Zanu-PF.
On Sunday, police spokesperson Whisper Bondayi said the demolition campaign was also being extended to wealthier suburbs. He said some residents had illegally converted their homes into offices and workshops.
As yet, however, no demolitions have been reported in such neighborhoods. Wealthy home owners have recourse to judges and lawyers unlike the poor who rush to salvage what possessions they can before their homes are burned or bulldozed.
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Pastor Paul Ciniraj
He could build furnaces and no one would care....anything he does is allowed. Earth to Kofi!!!
A policy approved 5-4 by the U.S. Supreme Court.
They gave Pol Pot a pass, too.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
No, only the media in the "civilized world" hardly noticed.
Those who are civilized definitely noticed. And were appalled.
To put it even more succinctly where are the Dems and specifically the Congressional Black Caucus. Still trying to nail Bush with some phony Downing Street Memo. But wait lets not blame ourselves too much, We are pretty committed in Iraq. Where are the Europeans? We all know that to wait for the UN to do anything is a waste of time. They may send some food aid that Mugabe can steal , but they arent going to try and change the leadership there ,Mugabe is black , Kofi is black. The world created this problem when they destroyed apartheid its up to the world to solve it,, Apartheid was attacked and driven out and replaced by starvation and corrupt leadership. Where is the cry against Mugabe that was heard round the world against Apartheid.
I guess that means he is still not angry enough to "STAND BEHIND A GUN AND SHOOT"
A policy approved 5-4 by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Yup, whatever is declared a 'blighted area' must be destoryed or sold or auctioned off to the highest political contributer. Sounds like these areas were indeed blighted, so I don't see how liberals can complain. (actually, to be fair, over at DU they were quite Irate over teh decision - perhaps it will lead them to question their worldview.)
"Give me a break. Driving people out of their homes isn't quite up there with full-scale slaughter."
I would call it more of a pogrom than slaughter.
A "holocaust?"As a murderous third world dictator you don't exactly have the means to go to each house and kill the undesirables individually.
Give me a break. Driving people out of their homes isn't quite up there with full-scale slaughter.
First you eject people from their homes. Then you suddenly declare that there are too many vagrants causing trouble and round them up. At that point you can kill them in mass using more efficient methods. These steps have been repeated over and over in the past century.
Don't give a blind eye to what we all know will come.
Yes and those always end happily.
Mass killing is OK, I guess as long as the right people are doing the dying...or the wrong people...depending on your perspective.
"To put it even more succinctly where are the Dems and specifically the Congressional Black Caucus."
All they want to talk about is slavery that ended 140 years ago (and reparations), murders of civil rights protesters 40 years ago, and aparteid in the old South Africa.
Whether something is egregious enough for the MSM to report depends upon the color of the perpetrator.
Sorry. We can't help. Our government decided yesterday this is legal.
In the beginning of this pogrom, it was a slaughter. Now it is just a "gentler" version of the pogrom.
The funniest thing I have seen lately is this old Kluxer who is on oxygen being given 90 years for a 40 year old murder. Now the old bastid gets free medical treatment and hospitalisation for the rest of his life, His family wont have to pay for nursing home care or worry that he cant afford treatment.
When I get old enough to require a nursing home I think I will admit to killing a Civil rights worker in Mississippi.
This old guy just pulled a fast one and has them patting themselves on the back for it.
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