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War against the tyrant
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-07-08 10:16:52
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I feel very proud to have friends all around the world, friends with whom I often communicate, friends I know their families, their kids and sometimes friends that I’m honoured to be part of their families. Friends who shared their food and their houses with me, friends who are really poor and an extra mouth means less food for them in the next few weeks. Still they were always ready to share. Friends who crossed the lines of language, colour and religion; my friends spread all around the world from Japan and China to South Africa and Chile! For all and each one I’m proud and honoured for their friendship.

This intro was very important to me because I wanted to show you that friendship is beyond frontiers we humans put. A lot of my friends are from Africa and I’m really grateful for the chances I had in my life to travel a lot often for professional reasons and meet all these people. Some of these travels go back thirty years and most of these friendships keep strong through the time and all the things that have happened to us. We don’t meet often, actually some of them I never met again, and that has mainly to do with finance but as I said we always find ways to communicate and keep our friendship strong.

I have a very dear friend in Kisumu, Kenya, with three beautiful daughters all happily married with kids, when he found out that I was blessed with a daughter he said: "Now you are a rich man!" A friend in Nioro, Uganda, who one night shared with me and his family his last piece of bread and the next day we went out for hunting so his family would not be hungry, when he wants to write a letter to me he has to go in the city and find somebody who can read and write - there's also a lot of friends in South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon, Namibia, Senegal, Mozambique and I wrote them randomly as they come to mind. Friends who, except their bread and water, often shared with me their problems, let me see their life and actually live it with them.

Without wanting to say that life in the industrial west is easy and that people don’t have to deal with often lethal problems, poverty, illnesses, unemployment and hunger the problems these people deal with in Africa are often beyond belief, when lack of clean water for example is the reason for most of the deaths. And I would never dare say to a homeless in London that people in Africa are hungry and be sure there is no measure on who is poorer and who is worse. But at least however naïve I might sound in Europe and in general in the industrial west there is hope that the state does something, there will be shelters here and there, volunteers from organizations often funded from the state will do something, even the church does something. They definitely could much more but at least they try.

In Africa things are not the same; the state is most of the time the worst enemy of the people. Corrupt regimes that have reached with their branches even the lowest parts of the society use the people in a modern way of slavery and despite the fact that most of these countries have rich natural recourses that include oil, diamonds, uranium and of course gigantic valleys they enrich their personal bank accounts with drug money, trafficking money and smuggling goods. Most of the victims of this modern slavery called trafficking are victims of their own compatriots and most of the time part of the state mechanism, paramilitary groups sponsored from the states or private armies attached to politicians and army officers.

All of these regimes are covered from the rebellion past against colonization and most of these presidents emperors call them whatever you like have embraced the same role like Idi Amin had in the '80s, the role of the …liberator. Using this title they manage two things, first of all put their people constantly under the question are you with me the liberator or with the colonists? And secondly they are united since they are all equally guilty of the tragedy that Africa lives every day.

Robert Mugabe is the latest and best example. In the beginning he was the liberator from the British Empire but soon he shown his real face. The caricature Hitler became worse than his teacher, a racist and prejudice monster that doesn’t stop his genocide to any foreigner who lives in Zimbabwe but he goes to anybody who’s opposing his will. He has organized a private army of criminals, rapists and murderers and he rules Zimbabwe like it is his private house. Robert Mugabe has murdered, raped and butchered a whole nation and he endangers the nation into a civil war.

What is the world is doing? Watching numbly! That’s what they are doing, it doesn’t matter the desperate voices coming from the country, it doesn't matter the calls of South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu that if necessary the international community has to use even force to stop Zimbabwe’s Butcher, nothing matters because the leaders of the African nations are doing …nothing! Why? Because in one way or another they are just the bloody same corrupted ruthless rulers who cover in daily bases their crimes. That’s why.

I feel sorry because we all looked at South Africa and President Mbeki as the hope, he is no different and it is embarrassing when the leaders of the African Union ask Zimbabwe’s opposition to negotiate with Mugabe! Negotiate with Hitler? Would they ever think that any of us in Europe would ever negotiate with Hitler? What remains? I’m sorry to say but what remains is what Desmond Tutu said very kindly, war! War against the tyrant!

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Emanuel Paparella2008-07-08 13:18:11
Indeed, Mugabe as the brutal tyrant that he is, will not shy away from employing the tactic of the intellectually bankrupt bully: when your adversary puts a mirror in front of you and confronts you with the truth, attack him with argumenta ad hominem and personal insults. For daring to tell the truth about Mugabe Archbishop Tutu has been accused by him of being “an angry and evil embittered little bishop.” Considering the source, one could almost call such a lie an honor for it better reveals the nature of the beast. One can do worse than being attacked personally by a fool who thinks himself enlightened vis a vis the rest of the world. However, it comes as a surprise to me that a man who has won the Nobel Price for peace and headed the Committee on Truth and Reconciliation in his own country would now advice war as a solution to the intractable problem of Zimbabwe. I had the privilege of listening to a speeech of his once when I was teaching at the University of Central Florida and to shake hands with him. Somehow, that extreme suggestion sounds out of character. But perhaps I am wrong.

AP2008-07-08 18:06:57
I wouldn't say war in the martial sense, but to arrest him and his army of criminals for life, for sure - and that can be war against the tyrant too.
War in the martial sense means just that so many people would be relieved if he died.
Thank you again, Thanos, for your refreshing journalism.

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