Monday, June 23, 2008

Quit whining aka there are things in this life I just don't understand

Lately, it seems as if the American public has been bombarded with political rancor from both sides of the gamut. Libelous statements and opinions abound, and I find myself growing quite weary of it. I consider myself to be neither Republican nor Democrat; rather, I am in that limbo zone in the middle, where I try to educate myself as best I can before casting any stones. I grow weary of finger pointing and the spreading of libelous statements to forward a party or a candidate. It actually makes me quite ill, to be honest.

I don't like being yelled at for "defending" Pres. Bush (whom I don't care for) when I say that the recession isn't entirely his fault (yes, the War in Iraq is a huge factor, along with poorly chosen advisers, but let's not negate the actions/inactions of the president before him either) and then in turn get yelled at by someone else who can't believe I'm reading a book by the "Muslim terrorist infiltrator" who is Barack Obama (yes, I am reading The Audacity of Hope, and if you seriously believe all of the "Muslim terrorist" libel, I honestly feel sorry for you).

I just like to study things out and let the facts (which are substantiated multiple times by multiple sources) speak for themselves. That doesn't mean I have all the answers, but factually, it puts me heads and shoulders above those who take things at face value to support their biases.

To be honest, I get tired of all of the complaining. True, it is our Constitutional right to voice our opinion, but must everything be soiled upon? I'd love to take all of these complainers and stick them on a plane to Zimbabwe. (Or Dafur, or Northern Uganda.) I read this article in Newsweek today and felt sick to my stomach. Instead of just providing a link, I am going to post the entire story here, it's that important:

Isolation Nation
Mugabe forced out his foe. What comes next won't be pretty.
Scott Johnson
Newsweek Web Exclusive
Updated: 12:43 PM ET Jun 23, 2008

These are strangely repulsive days in Zimbabwe--a little like watching an Orwellian horror show unfolding in slow motion. Recently, several polling agents loyal to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change were found dead. Whoever had killed them had cut off all of their arms and legs, butchered them and left the remains unceremoniously lying about. Another MDC activist was beaten so badly, and so thoroughly, that her head had swollen to twice its normal size and she was in critical condition at a hospital. But Monday's Herald, the state-run newspaper and mouthpiece of the dictator Robert Mugabe's regime, led with this cheery bulletin: "Government Rolls out Basic Goods." Bravo, Robert Mugabe. Orwell would have been proud.

In fact, there's hardly any news rolling out of Zimbabwe at all these days; the government has made sure of that. And none of it is good, or basic. Instead, it is a baroque litany of terror and mayhem. Yesterday opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been struggling to unseat Mugabe for over a decade, pulled out of the upcoming runoff election with only five days to go, citing unacceptably high levels of violence. Now, Newsweek has learned, MDC activists are investigating whether Mugabe's regime has been plotting all along to assassinate key members of the opposition in a coordinated plan to "eliminate" certain key players. "This is a war going on out there," says MDC activist Simon Spooner, who estimates that a regime crackdown on the MDC election monitoring structures has left a skeleton crew of 20 to 30 percent of its staff able to work, and those in increasingly life-threatening conditions. "They have systematically gone across the country beating and killing polling agents."

But Tsvangirai's decision to withdraw nevertheless cast everything in turmoil. The opposition candidate still has to officially declare his withdrawal to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. If he goes through with it, Mugabe will go to the polls on Friday unchallenged. Within a day he will have appointed governors, senators and a cabinet. He'll have to convene parliament, which the MDC won by a slim majority in the first round election last March 29th. But Mugabe will retain control over the upper house of government and, with firm control of the presidency, will have cemented his iron grip once again.

He will, however, be increasingly isolated. On Wednesday, in a preemptive move, the MDC plans to formally announce its proposal to form a "transitional government" with Tsvangirai as its leader. The hope is that the implosion of the economy, increased pressure from neighboring African states like Zambia and Botswana, and a renewed effort to get United Nations Security Council-approved sanctions will be too much pressure for Mugabe to withstand. This week, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa called for a delay in the elections, and is reported to be in talks to take an increased role in putting pressure on the 84-year old Mugabe to accept some sort of negotiated settlement. Even Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, Mugabe's long-standing ally, has begun to question his neighbor's behavior. Yesterday, Mugabe told supporters that "only God" would remove him from power.

A deal is unlikely, however. More probable is that Mugabe will choose to isolate himself further. Even after Tsvangirai's announcement yesterday, Mugabe thugs assaulted Harvest House, the MDC headquarters in the capital Harare, and arrested over 60 more activists. (Tsvangirai himself has reportedly taken refuge at the Dutch embassy there, out of concern for his safety). "The stance they're taking is they want to keep beating people up, intimidating, cowing everyone," says one international observer in Harare, "It's 'kick them when they're down and eliminate them as any kind of force.'" That strategy may backfire. For one, the economy has imploded. One U.S. dollar today will get you $10,000,000,000 (that's ten billion in case you had difficulty with the zeros) Zimbabwean dollars. Industry has ground to a halt. And with international NGO's forced to halt their work, and maize imports from neighboring countries like Zambia on the decline, Mugabe's worst enemy could turn out to be hunger, anger and the winter cold that has descended upon southern Africa--in other words, all the ingredients for a revolution.


I actually find it a tinge ironic that Johnson referenced Orwell in this article, because I just finished Animal Farm yesterday. Whether it be in this tome, or in his equally powerful 1984, Orwell does a masterful job of portraying the frailties of man. He shows the dark side of human nature that becomes obsessed with power and gain, under the guise of the "public good." Though obviously aiming at Communism, his views can be applied to what's happening in Africa today, what we should be grateful is not happening here.

After reading the artrocities that are taking place in Zimbabwe, please also take for an example what is happening in Uganda today. (I am now sharing information that I received first hand while in the country of Uganda. My sources will remain nameless for their own protection.) Yoweri Museveni has been the president of that country for over 20 years now. Part of of rebellion that toppled the vile Idi Amin, and participant in the subsequent "War in the Bush," Museveni took power to the cheers of the people, because he claimed that his presidency would be different, that he would only run the country for five years. Slowly, the people realized that this was not to be, that Museveni, like his predecessors, intended to be in power until his death. Or until he decides to pass the torch onto his son, who is currently a high ranking military officer.

His likeness is found in every public building throughout the country, his expensive government-issued Mercedes Benz drives through the pot-holed streets of Kampala, while his people starve and fall prey to malaria and AIDS. The LRA has risen to answer Museveni, much as he did to Amin. My friend said, "I cannot think that the Lord's Resistance Army is correct in their methods. However, they just want to be heard. Museveni will not listen. It is like the War in the Bush. 'You will not listen to us so we go to the bush and fight.' In that way, I understand why they fight."

I found my friend's statement shocking. Surely the LRA is worse than the government; more violent, more oppressive. I was obviously mistaken. No one in Uganda can be heard, nothing will change until another rebellion is strong enough to overthrow Museveni. And it cannot be known at what cost this regime will be abolished. The LRA have already done so many unspeakable things-- kidnapping children and forcing them to fight and to kill, using them as human shields for the self-preservation of their kidnappers. When does it end? Will it ever end? Or will the next man to take power become another Museveni? Another Amin?

So basically, I'm tired of under-informed Americans whining about the government, about things that they have the ability to change if they'd just get off their lazy arses and VOTE (provided they actually educate themselves on the issues beforehand, that is). We go to the polls and have more than one candidate or issue to choose; we don't fear a rebellion because ballot boxes are blatantly stuffed (let's leave Florida out of this, you all know what I'm getting at).

So let's stop whining and start DOING. And let's be grateful for the country in which we live.

1 comment:

Kenna said...

I think someone like you, who has had the experience of spending some time in Africa, could teach us all a lot of things. Good for you for posting this.