26 April 2008

Regular folk can make a difference


Anthroplogist Margaret Mead once said "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." And in the past couple of weeks, southern Africa is experiencing the phenomena.

A bunch of my friends and family have been asking about Zimbabwe. What is going on? Why doesn't South Africa do anything? That sort of thing. I can't give good answers. I'm not South African and I don't live in Zimbabwe, but the papers here and the BBC give better coverage than the US media.

It is four weeks since the election and still no "official" word on who is president. I doubt that there will ever be official word, since Mugabe is in charge and doesn't want to give up his power. In the meantime, vote recounts continue for the parliamentary elections. Here, Zanu-PF's opposition, MDC (Movement for Democratic Change), is gaining ground and keeping it. Zimbabweans have resoundingly had enough. One can only hope that the current government takes heed before there is even more of a bloodbath.

BBC Africa

China has also seen fit to involve itself by selling arms to the Zanu-PF government. That's a terrific sign. So the Chinese tanker ship landed in Durban. The South African government gave permission for a legal unloading of arms and ammunition. Then, the South African people had their say. Union dock workers refused to handle the cargo, a judge ruled that it would be illegal to transit the arms through the country and thousands of regular citizens showed up to protest and block roads to prevent transit. That's what regular people can do. Good on them. Maybe their action can embarrass their government into doing something.

Now Angola has let the Chinese ship dock. However, it will not be allowed to unload its cargo of weapons. The Zambian president has called on other African countries to not allow this ship to dock and unload its deadly cargo.

Yesterday, 400 people were arrested in Harare by riot police as they were taking refuge from violence in MDC offices. The name Operation Mavhoterapapi (Who did you vote for?) says it all.

For further reading:

Civil Society's Triumph on Zimbabwe

Angola Allows Arms Ship to Dock
(note: they will not be allowed to unload arms)

Police Swoop on Injured MDC Supporters

Zimbabwe Opposition Retains Gains

All Africa News - Zimbabwe Page

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