Friday, December 19, 2008

How To Poison Your Own Well 101

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Amid the sound and fury surrounding The Bailout(s), Chicago wrongdoing, Iraq et al. and other woes, is Zimbabwe.

The former Breadbasket Of Africa is starving -- and beating -- and, most importantly, stupiding -- itself to death.

The situation is pretty dire. People are peeling bark off trees to make a meal. This, in a country that used to supply not only its own citizens, but most of Africa and beyond, with food in abundance. How did it happen?

A combination of things:

* Anger (justifiable, in some analyses) at white supremacy left over from colonialist arrogance.

* A (part-of-the-male-anatomy) of a leader, who, alas, possesses the same animal cunning for survival as his predecessors, like Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Hitler et al.

* Monumental stupidity all around.


Okay. When looking at this situation, two things must be kept in mind:

* In today's climate, any attempt to assign blame to a person or a population automatically carries the millstone of "race."

* Any attempt to apply reason must first sift through the filter of the above.


As a journalist by nature and training, I know that facts must be objectively recognized before they can be analyzed. Therefore, let's look at some facts about Zimbabwe, via (a site devoted entirely to basic information, hence the name):

"In 2000, veterans of Zimbabwe's war for independence in the 1970s began squatting on land owned by white farmers in an effort to reclaim land taken under British colonization—one-third of Zimbabwe's arable land was owned by 4,000 whites."

Squatting on land does not equal being able to manage said land. Regardless of race, etc.

"In Aug. 2002, Mugabe ordered all white commercial farmers to leave their land without compensation."

Off you go. (No compensation for the generations of time and expertise spent feeding everyone. We'll be able to do what you did, no problem!)

"In March 2002, Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations. That month Mugabe was reelected president for another six years in a blatantly rigged election whose results were enforced by the president's militia. In 2003, inflation hit 300%, the country faced severe food shortages, and the farming system had been destroyed. In 2004, the IMF estimated that the country had grown one-third poorer in the last five years."

No problem! It was those evil colonialists! Who were thrown out long ago! Right?

"Since 2000, Zimbabwe has experienced precipitous hyperinflation and economic ruin. By the end of 2008, inflation skyrocketed to a mind-boggling 231,000,000%, up from 7,000% in 2007, unemployment reached 80%, and the Zimbabwean dollar was basically worthless. According to the World Health Organization, Zimbabwe has the world's lowest life expectancy." (emphasis mine)

Oh, how the miserable pretenders to the mighty have not only fallen, but dragged down everyone else with them.


NOW. Here's the thing:

A bunch of smart white people made The Breadbasket Of Africa possible.

Does that mean only white people can make it happen? NO. What makes it happen is being SMART ABOUT MANAGING FARMS. There have been plenty of people, of all colors, trying to keep Zimbabwe on the correct path of food management, but they've been ELIMINATED by Robert Stalin.


And so, Zimbabwe, while I ache for you, I equally apply a boot to your (posterior region) to urge you to get RID of this menace and get yourselves back on track.

You can do it. Just get smart.

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