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NY Times editorial: Mr. Mugabe, Fighting Colonial Ghosts....


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This thread was put up about two days ago about Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, everyone's "favorite" Marxist-Leninist thug:


Well, today I found this on the New York Times editorial page:


Mr. Mugabe, Fighting Colonial Ghosts

Published: October 20, 2005

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe went to Rome for the meeting of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization this week. As he usually does whenever he manages to elude sanctions that restrict his travels to Europe and America, he let loose at George Bush and Tony Blair, likening them to Hitler and Mussolini and blaming them for all of Zimbabwe's woes.

While he spoke, armed bandits back in Zimbabwe were raiding potato farms, and opposition leaders were drumming up support for a boycott of Senate elections next month. In addition, aid agencies say 4 million of Zimbabwe's 11.5 million people are facing famine.

Mr. Mugabe's response has been to raze squatter camps around Harare, driving hundreds of thousands of the destitute into greater misery. The U.N. has called that a "catastrophic injustice." Mr. Mugabe has called criticism of the destruction "blatant interference." Zimbabweans are not hungry, he said - they just can't eat their favorite foods.

Clearly, the Food and Agriculture Organization can allow anyone it wants to attend its World Food Day ceremony in Rome. The United Nations and its agencies must remain ecumenical and open. And the occasional appearance by Mr. Mugabe does help remind the world that the 81-year-old tyrant is still around, still blaming colonialists, neocolonialists, racists and everybody else for his country's suffering, still fixing elections and hounding his opponents.

There was a time when Mr. Mugabe's credentials as a fighter against white-minority rule earned him respect. That time is long gone. He is a millstone around the neck of one of Africa's best endowed lands. Who says so? The South African archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has said Mr. Mugabe is a "caricature of an African dictator"; Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, who has called on Mr. Mugabe to stop "fighting colonialist ghosts"; the Nobel-Prize-winning writer Wole Soyinka, who has labeled Mr. Mugabe's regime "a disgrace to the continent."

Mr. Mugabe has run Zimbabwe for a quarter of a century, crushing every attempt to dislodge him, so there's little point in urging him to heed his fellow Africans. But there is every reason to support the opposition in its brave efforts to oust Mr. Mugabe's clique, and to assure the suffering people of Zimbabwe that the world has not forgotten them.

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