Mugabe says it was the boogeyman that raped Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe says it ain’t his fault. The raging hyperinflation that made his country’s currency virtually worthless and that forced Zimbabwe’s poverty-stricken residents to drag baskets full of cash to the market to buy a few loafs of bread? Wasn’t him. The rapes and cases of torture that were reportedly being carried out to intimidate those brave …I mean foolish… enough to vote for the opposition presidential candidate must have all been manufactured. Never happened.

And whatever else you may have heard? Hey. Wasn’t him.

In fact, if it wasn’t for that pesky western conspiracy to boot him out of office, Zimbabwe would be just fine. It’s The Man that’s trying to keep Mugabe down.

Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe

I say go ahead and tell yourself whatever gets you through the night Mr. President. Meanwhile your country is crumbling, but don’t you worry yourself none about that. Because it wasn’t your fault, right? The Man is out to get you, and that explains everything. You and Nero? Y’all keep right on fiddling.

We black folk over on this side of the water are quite familiar with The Man. We know his history quite well, and we are painfully familiar with his deeds. But we are also familiar with those who have learned to specialize in blaming their own shortcomings on The Man, even after The Man has been long gone. Because all too often it works. Pointing a finger at The Man is the best distraction technique going, and it has kept more corrupt clowns and demons in office than I have time to list here.

But on the serious side of things just for a moment? It’s not that I can’t possibly imagine the West – which is essentially a code word for The (white) Man – doing wrong things to an African country. It was, after all, white European nations that employed colonialism to rape Africa,  so it’s not like there isn’t a track record to point to here. It’s been done before.

But just because it’s been done before doesn’t mean every time something horrific happens, the same demons are to blame. There is no question that the British were to blame early on when they colonized the portion of Africa that they called Rhodesia but has since been renamed Zimbabwe. The British walked like The Man, talked like The Man, and damned sure acted like The Man in every way. The conclusion was no harder to draw about who was The Man in Rhodesia than it was to figure out the same in South Africa, where the Dutch Afrikaners were running rampant over the rights of black Africans. It was so clear and easy to differentiate between right and wrong that the outcry against the injustice being perpetrated in both countries was heard  throughout the world.

But now Rhodesia is Zimbabwe, and the resident demon no longer has white skin. Now he looks just like those he has been torturing. And now the global cries for justice are considerably more muted by comparison. Just a guess, but I’d say the white world doesn’t much care because it’s black on black. And the blacks would prefer not to make a whole lot of noise because, well, it’s black on black. South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is currently in charge of mediating the Zimbabwe situation, has been accused of such perplexing behavior more than once. For the longest, despite all the evidence of what Mugabe was doing to his own people, Mbeki chose not only to remain silent against the atrocities but to publicly defend the man.

But even for Mbeki, that stance became increasingly hard to do as the blood began to puddle around his own shoes.

And it was the blood of black Africans. Shed by black Africans. Who were directed by a brutal black African leader. Who blames The Man.

But the man is in the mirror.

SHAMELESS PLUG: Read my wife’s blog @


~ by Keith A. Owens on August 18, 2008.

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