Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Fortuin on Mugabe

Former race relations conciliator (and former South African) Gregory Fortuin has a good piece on Scoop on "constructive engagement" with a despot. The despot is of course Robert Mugabe. Fortuin admired him for his role in overthrowing white minority rule in Zimbabwe, but now condemns him as "a tragic despot and an embarrassment to the African continent":

When Verwoerd, Vorster en Botha showed scant regard for the Judiciary and rode rough shot over the Constitution (albeit an Apartheid one). We asked the world to condemn them. Most of the world did, but we also remember with contempt the Reagans and the Thatchers who propped up the regime and called it "constructive engagement". And so when comrade Robert shows scant regard for the Zimbabwean Constitution and Judiciary he deserves even greater condemnation.

When the Apartheid Leaders set out to ruthlessly eliminate legitimate opposition, the ANC called on the people of the world for assistance. When the evil Apartheid regime showed inhumane regard for people already stripped of their dignity by bulldozing their "homes" consisting of mere corrugated iron and a plastic sheet in squalor conditions, Arch-Bishop Desmond Tutu travelled the planet calling for sanctions. I applauded him. And again I say to comrade Robert, having suffered oppression yourself and now perpetrating the same thing makes you doubly guilty. Black oppression is as bad as white oppression. You cannot fix one evil by perpetrating another evil. You are an embarrassment as an African Leader.

Fortuin calls upon the world to apply the same measures to the Mugabe regime as they did to apartheid South Africa - including a sporting ban. While the latter is mostly symbolic, the symbolism was very powerful for the victims of apartheid, and is likely to be just as powerful for those opposing Mugabe.

So, how many more voices must be raised in protest before the government will do the right thing?