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Rhetoric of blame is now a white lie (AFRICA, HEAL THYSELF)
The Daily Telegraph ^ | September 3, 2002 | Tim Butcher

Posted on 09/02/2002 10:07:01 PM PDT by MadIvan

Africa is refusing to accept responsibility for its problems, writes Tim Butcher in Johannesburg

The anti-colonialist card has been played repeatedly by African leaders for decades now but President Robert Mugabe demonstrated yesterday that even in 2002 it has lost none of its potency.

Warm applause and cheers greeted Mr Mugabe's latest rant against Britain and the "Blair Government" which he targets very personally in almost every speech he makes on his policy of seizing land from white farmers in Zimbabwe.

The cheers reached beyond the debating chamber in the convention centre in the smart Johannesburg suburb of Sandton and its few hundred environmentalists and delegates.

They were echoed by millions of poor and disenfranchised across Africa, who remain highly receptive to any speech that deals with their sovereignty and the exploitation of interlopers.

"Viva Robert Mugabe, viva land reform," shouted members of the anti-globalisation lobby gathered in Johannesburg for the summit.

The language used by Mr Mugabe and President Sam Nujoma of Namibia yesterday was not dissimilar to the 1950s oratory of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's independence penseur, or Julius Nyerere, the leader of the liberation of Tanzania in the 1960s.

Then it was the jubilant language of liberation. But as the dream has faded it has become the rhetoric of blame, accusing outsiders of all of Africa's problems, and refusing to accept any African responsibility for the continent's problems.

In southern African countries, the emotions over colonialism are more easily whipped up because white rule in the region ended comparatively recently - and, in much of the region, whites continue to dominate economic life.

More than two decades after Zimbabwe achieved independence, Mr Mugabe made no mention yesterday of his regime's own economic mismanagement and political repression which have caused so much pain to the country's poor, the very people he claims to champion.

While Mr Mugabe spoke of the laudable principle of land reform - distributing to blacks some of the prime lands that have in the last century been overwhelmingly controlled by whites - he made no mention of the fact that in many cases white farm owners are simply being replaced by Mr Mugabe's cronies.

"What makes me so angry is that I can see no difference between the wrongs of slavery from the whites and the wrongs of the current system where an unelected black elite exploit just as much," said a Zimbabwean student from Bulawayo.

"A government like Mugabe's has all the bad features of white rule without any of the good."

Mr Mugabe maintains that, as the old colonial power, Britain has a responsibility to redress the wrongs of the past. Ironically, one factor that helped to precipitate the Zimbabwean land crisis was the election of Tony Blair's Labour Government, which proclaimed to be free of the guilt of the colonialism.

Mr Mugabe's language was very dated, highly reminiscent of redbrick university common rooms in the 1960s.

Intellectually and ideologically, his rhetoric has moved on not one iota since Zimbabwe won its independence in 1980 but he and Mr Nujoma are not the only modern African leaders to rely on such emotive language to deflect criticism for their own faults by pointing at injustices of the past.

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, the host of the summit, has been the brainchild behind the New Partnership for African Development (Nepad), an economic plan for the continent's regeneration.

He has been criticised for failing to condemn Mr Mugabe's repression and accused of sympathising with his fellow African leader.

In recent months his position has moved marginally towards that of Britain, largely because international backing for Nepad has been made conditional on a tougher position towards Zimbabwe.

But speeches like Mr Mugabe's and Mr Nujoma's send out the signal that there is little "new" about the current African leaders and their willingness to make progress for the continent.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: africa; africawatch; idiots; massmurderermugabe; mbeki; mugabe; mugabeequalliar; namibia; oldliesstillwork; rhodesia; serialkillermugabe; southafrica
I am sick to death of Mugabe, Mbeki and their ilk. South Korea, Taiwan, et al, show what happens if you stop blaming others for your problems and get on with the job of building the country; however these countries seem to prefer to whinge about everything. Sod them. Let them starve.

Regards, Ivan

1 posted on 09/02/2002 10:07:01 PM PDT by MadIvan
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To: Clive; *AfricaWatch; Dog; Desdemona; texasbluebell; Amelia; nopardons; general_re; dighton; ...
Bump!
2 posted on 09/02/2002 10:07:40 PM PDT by MadIvan
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To: MadIvan
Couldn't agree mwith you more.
3 posted on 09/02/2002 10:12:48 PM PDT by nopardons
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To: MadIvan
Absolutely right. Throwing food and money at these backward savages, so that they can breed even greater numbers of backward savages than they could if left to their own devices is, at best, foolhardy. If their governments prevent the farmers from farming their land, then let the stupid idiots eat dirt.
4 posted on 09/02/2002 11:37:02 PM PDT by SaudiDuck
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To: MadIvan
the New Partnership for African Development (Nepad)

Boy, did they pick the perfect acronym or what? They're all on their "nepads" for Mbeki and Mugabe like an entire continent of Monica Lewinskys.

5 posted on 09/02/2002 11:43:41 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: Timesink
One problem they have in seeking their own solution to their problems is that they receive just enough encouragement from the liberal leftists in the world to keep them agitating. Everybody wants a free meal. The secret lies in deciding what chance you have of getting it. For most people the answer is slim to none as they have to learn.
6 posted on 09/03/2002 12:45:40 AM PDT by meenie
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To: MadIvan
Fully agree with your conclusions. I remember Africa in the 1960s, everyone was filled with high expectations after independence. Forty years on, Africa is a series of kleptocracies, many worse off than they were under colonial rule. Almost all of the common people in relative worse shape to the rest of the world than they were before independence. Africans after 40 years have no one to blame but their own leadership for their problems. The leaders want to deflect blame to the West. The West's not buying it anymore.
7 posted on 09/03/2002 12:52:35 AM PDT by Roy Tucker
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To: MadIvan; All
Ivan, I'm going to add your post here to these:

CIA -- The World Factbook -- Zimbabwe

First it was Rhodesia then SA now America paying the price of silence.

-A Capsule History of Southern Africa--

Parallels between Apartheid SA & USA today


South African Crime Report

ZWNEWS.com - linking the world to Zimbabwe
... Books & Videos. Degrees in Violence: Robert Mugabe and the Struggle for Power
In Zimbabwe This book tells the story of Zimbabwe from the hopeful era of ...

MPR Books - Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African ...

Title: "Cry, the Beloved Country" - Topics: World/South Africa

-South Africa - The sellout of a nation--

...which is my "short list of information essential to getting past the media spin and ignorance about Africa."


8 posted on 09/03/2002 1:28:03 AM PDT by backhoe
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To: nopardons
I remember when I first visited South Africa, which was just before the transition. I thought "What a beautiful, wonderful country". I loved it, I thought it was a great place to live.

The last time I visited was 2000 - I will not go back again. It has fallen straight into hell and it does not look like there is any return to the beautiful country I once knew, and fell in love with.

Regards, Ivan

9 posted on 09/03/2002 1:33:14 AM PDT by MadIvan
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To: MadIvan
Yes, I know. It is heartbreaking. :-(
10 posted on 09/03/2002 1:37:06 AM PDT by nopardons
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To: MadIvan
"What makes me so angry is that I can see no difference between the wrongs of slavery from the whites and the wrongs of the current system where an unelected black elite exploit just as much," said a Zimbabwean student from Bulawayo.

"A government like Mugabe's has all the bad features of white rule without any of the good."

One short clear, concise statement says it all.

11 posted on 09/03/2002 1:57:53 AM PDT by connectthedots
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To: nopardons
Yes, I know. It is heartbreaking. :-(

Sometimes I wear a Springboks shirt as a sign of rememberance. ;)

Regards, Ivan

12 posted on 09/03/2002 1:58:25 AM PDT by MadIvan
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To: MadIvan
My daughter has a hat with that logo. :-)
13 posted on 09/03/2002 1:59:40 AM PDT by nopardons
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To: nopardons
My daughter has a hat with that logo. :-)

Perhaps one of the South Africans here will correct me, but I think it is right to say that the Springboks are one of the last remaining symbols of the past - in particular the English and Afrikaner cultures there. Even with that peculiar new SA flag on their sleeves.

Regards, Ivan

14 posted on 09/03/2002 2:02:04 AM PDT by MadIvan
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To: MadIvan
Yes, you ARE correct. :-)
15 posted on 09/03/2002 2:09:19 AM PDT by nopardons
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To: nopardons
Yes, you ARE correct. :-)

Good, so since I am wearing my Springboks shirt today, I'm being politically incorrect as well. ;)

Regards, Ivan

16 posted on 09/03/2002 2:11:47 AM PDT by MadIvan
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Bump!
17 posted on 09/03/2002 2:42:01 AM PDT by MadIvan
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To: MadIvan; All
Zimbabwe's Mugabe Rips Rich Nations - while stuffing his stomach and pockets

Bump!

18 posted on 09/03/2002 2:53:46 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: MadIvan
I've had to good fortune to have several South African friends who long ago emigrated to the States. I'll never forget their stories about dealing with the natives. One in particular:

The family hired domestic help (a common practice) but objects from the household and pantry items were constantly going missing. When the maid was finally caught and confronted, she admitted it, saying that if she didn't steal from the whites and bring her loot to the village at night she would get a beating. Even a cup of sugar would do, as long as she stole it. The family could never convice their help of property rights. They tried to thwart the problem by purchasing items the natives she could take back to the village. But it wouldn't work, because they refuse "gifts" from the whites. I was told this behavior colored every aspect of their dealings with the natives.

19 posted on 09/03/2002 12:59:19 PM PDT by GVnana
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To: MadIvan
I am sick to death of Mugabe, Mbeki and their ilk. South Korea, Taiwan, et al, show what happens if you stop blaming others for your problems and get on with the job of building the country; however these countries seem to prefer to whinge about everything. Sod them. Let them starve.

Geez. Whatever did South Korea do to you?

20 posted on 09/03/2002 1:02:06 PM PDT by cinFLA
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To: MadIvan
Mr Mugabe's language was very dated, highly reminiscent of redbrick university common rooms in the 1960s.

Or, alas, their concrete counterparts on U.S. campuses right up to today. It's a consequence of following that neat little Marxian theory that nonsocialist government is merely the tool of an entrenched oppressive elite, used to grind the People's faces into the dirt, and hence the latter will be somehow liberated when it's themselves who do the grinding. That's theory. What happens in the real world was sung to us in the Who's Won't Get Fooled Again, "meet the new boss - same as the old boss." Or when Orwell's pigs started looking like humans and the latter like pigs in the last paragraph of Animal Farm.

Of course, it is never the oppressed who end up coming out on top in this way, nor has it been since Lenin decided his "proletariat" revolution could use a little jumpstart from a "cadre" in charge, and that it would be a really neat thing to be part of that cadre. The State that was supposed to wither away instead turned into a monster of corruption, coercion, and confiscation, and a permanent fixture consisting of a vampire kleptomaniac elite. That's a fair working description of Mugabe's boys, and like all kleptocracies, the real trouble will start when there's nothing left to steal.

21 posted on 09/03/2002 1:18:59 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: GVgirl
The funny thing is, with handicaps like you describe, South Africa, at least when I first saw it, was a beautiful, wonderful country. I still have very fond memories of Pretoria, the jacaranta trees in full bloom, the beauty of the open veldt, just the wonderful feeling of being there. It is amazing that it was constructed with such a basis.

And now it's all gone.

Regards, Ivan

22 posted on 09/03/2002 2:47:16 PM PDT by MadIvan
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To: MadIvan
I've heard it was stunningly beautiful. I know my friends missed the place. Hope they still export Pinotage.
23 posted on 09/03/2002 5:38:58 PM PDT by GVnana
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