Friday, June 27, 2008

Another really good one: "Mugabe has Recolonized his people" by Priyamvada Gopal

People don't realize how strong the Indian Left is....

(Title Link)

"Africa’s greatest liberationist thinker, Frantz Fanon, once warned that a national leader should not “fall back into the past and become drunk on the remembrance of the epoch leading up to independence”. His portrait of a once-effective leader who gradually secedes from reality and betrays his people has prophetic resonances today.


In a mutually convenient embrace of denunciation, Mugabe screams anti-colonial slogans, while British politicians piously condemn violence even as their own nation is implicated in two bloody wars. (Were the BBC to show as many close-ups of injured and dead Iraqis as they do of Mugabe’s maimed victims, criticism of violence against innocents might be more evenly distributed).

In truth, both Mugabe and Britain are guilty of sidelining history in favour of skewed stories which legitimate their own position. Britain reneged on its commitments to the land reform programme claiming that there were “no links to former colonial interests” while concerning itself with the fate of white farmers.

While Africa is ostensibly central to Britain’s international development agenda, the emphasis has always been on the paternalism of aid rather than acknowledging and making reparations for the economic devastation wrought by colonialism. Rarely do condemnations of land seizure, violence and intimidation extend back to the time Matabeleland came under British rule. This too was accompanied by the seizure of vast swaths of fertile land by a handful of British farmers while large numbers of Ndebele and Shona people were killed or forced into labour.

Meanwhile, Mugabe and fellow African liberationists should reacquaint themselves with the real meaning of anti-colonialism. Having resisted the anti-poor agendas of international monetary institutions and initiated necessary land reforms, Mugabe has also refused all responsibility for those many failures of his rule not reducible to the colonial past."

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