"Liberated" Zimbabwe (updated)
When tragedy strikes, it's not enough just to mourn, or to say things like 'that's the way the world goes' -- it's essential to make sense of the world and to guard against future tragedies that lessons are learned from tragedies, and applied in our own context, especially if the tragedies are man-made.
One contemporary disaster that is entirely man-made, and entirely avoidable, is the destruction of Zimbabwe and its people. Ed Cline describes its demise:
[O]nce the “breadbasket” of Africa when it was known as Rhodesia (and for a few years after its “liberation” from white rule)[, it] is now a destitute, starving nation whose citizens choose flight to neighboring states in search of food and employment. Nearly a third of the country’s 12 million population has fled.
The life expectancy of males has dropped from 60 years to 37, and for women, to 34 years. Unemployment stands at over 80 percent... Over more than a generation, since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, adult literacy has fallen from 90 percent to about 40 percent... Inflation is currently measured at 150,000 percent and climbing; it takes a wheelbarrow of paper money to buy a small bag of flour, when it is available...
Once second only to South Africa as the most prosperous economy in Africa, Mugabe has reduced Zimbabwe to a condition only a slightly better than the Darfur region of the Sudan...
The country has gone from breadbasket to basket case in less than a generation, and there are many, many lessons to be drawn from that. Ed Cline draws them in a succinct and pointed essay at his Rule of Reason blog: “Liberation” Ideology in Practice. (If you're impatient, you might like to scroll down to the word 'Obama.')
UPDATE: From breadbasket to basket case, and stolen election to an election now being stolen -- "a violent crackdown on opposition supporters ... and a cowed judiciary seem to be helping one of Africa’s longest serving dictators to live another day" reports Kenya's Daily Nation -- but South African president Thabo Mbeki insists there is "no crisis" here, nothing to see, move along, move along. Mbeki made his "no crisis" comment after meeting with Robert Mugabe en route to a UN Security Council meeting that he chaired, and at which he managed to keep the issue of Zimbabwe's troubles off the agenda.
Mbeki it will be remembered, achieved fame a few years ago for telling global media that
he does not know of anyone who has died of HIV-Aids in his own country, where about 6 million people are living with and are dying of HIV-Aids-related complications.