Monday, April 28, 2008

So, How Many Divisions Have You Got ?

Those who cast the votes, they decide nothing. Those who count the votes, they decide everything.

Joseph Stalin, as quoted in Memoirs (Boris Bazhanov, 1992).

How many divisions has the Pope got ?

Stalin (again), when asked at Yalta if Pope Pius XII should be consulted about post- war arrangements in Europe.

Zimbabwe's fractious opposition parties have united in calling for dictator Robert Mugabe (defeated in March's parliamentary and presidential elections) to honor last month's election results, and leave power. The Movement for Democratic Change's presidential candidate, Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai, suggests that Bad Bob take an "honorable exit." Mr. Tsvangirai has also called for the UN Security Council to send a special envoy to rap Mugabe on the knuckles and get him to vacate the premises.

Beg pardon friends, but it's not going to work. Mugabe's army, police and gangs are intimidating and threatening the bureaucrats into nullifying the election results (which still aren't released), and scaring, beating and killing your supporters. Asking for help from the UN is a joke: the General Assembly might as well be called the Dictator's Club; and the democracies do not control the Security Council. Recent past history (think Saddam Hussein) should prove to you that there is no way Russia and China are going to allow the Security Council to take action against a "President" no matter how dubious his claim to office. Oh, they (and the EU) will no doubt send an envoy or a commission or something -- complete with stationery -- sent-off by blessings from the requisite Great and Good; which will produce a beautifully written, glossy report, parsed by lawyers to be read by accountants, that nobody will ever read.

The US and Britain can't help you -- that looks too much like the big white powers (and former colonial powers, at that), leaning on a "heroic" revolutionary leader. Too bad Mugabe's a communist, and not right wing. If Pinochet had been your dictator, you'd have a chance. Appealing to South Africa will get you nowhere for the moment, unless your refugees become more of a problem than is already the case. Brothers, you are on your own.

You're going to get nowhere legally. Mugabe and his stooges have proved that, haven't they ? Mugabe's rule is based on naked force, and the fear of the bad man and his henchmen as to what you're going to do to them when (not if) they fall. But that's for the longer term. At the moment, Mugabe and his friends have the cards. I wish it was different. You can emigrate, accept it, or fight. Good luck.

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