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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

10 Zeros

posted by on July 30 at 12:16 PM

Nothing can save this country. Nothing. The whole of it is dead.

HARARE, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe will drop 10 zeros from its hyper-inflated currency - turning 10 billion dollars into one - the country’s reserve bank said Wednesday. President Robert Mugabe threatened a state of emergency if businesses profiteer from the country’s economic and political unraveling.

Shop shelves are empty and there are chronic shortages of everything including medication, food, fuel, power and water. Eighty percent of the work force is unemployed and many who do have jobs don’t earn enough to pay for bus fare.

One third of Zimbabweans have become economic and political refugees. Another third is dependent on foreign food aid. But Mugabe barred non-governmental organizations from handing out food last month, claiming they were supporting the opposition.

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1

whatever could you mean by "dead," charles? everyone in the country is going to die of violence and starvation? mugabe will lose his power and the name of the country will change? the currency is dead? the whole place will be blown to smithereens? your famous inscrutability is not charming. it's just annoying.

Posted by ellarosa | July 30, 2008 12:29 PM
2

Don't we have some out of work revolutionaries here that we can send over there? How tough can this psycho Mugabe be?

The oppressed must revolt or be killed. There isn't much middle ground anymore. Either way, that country will be awash in blood for several years. Some of it needs to be Mugabe's.

Posted by Sir Vic | July 30, 2008 12:30 PM
3

How can he possibly be staying in power? Why is there no blood in the streets? Is he still somehow managing to keep the military fed?

Posted by tsm | July 30, 2008 12:36 PM
4

Nobody believes he was honestly elected -- the election process was a transparent sham. He has bankrupted the country and brought it international disgrace. He is ruling purely through fear and intimidation, and he refuses to leave. Wait, who are we talking about, again?

Posted by flamingbanjo | July 30, 2008 12:51 PM
5

Yes, he's keeping the military fed. He and his cronies OWN ALL THE FARMS (that they supposedly "liberated" from the evil white overlords), and they're running them with the equivalent of slave labor for the sole benefit of the regime. Even the rumor of opposition to the government is enough to get you torn apart by dogs or shot or at least beat up, women raped in front of husbands and children. The glorious African pastime of necklacing -- an auto tire filled with gasoline placed around your neck and lit -- is making a comeback. Everyone in the country is starved and terrified.

The warning of "profiteering" is bitterly hilarious, as shop owners are not profiting but merely slowing their own rate of starvation. What few goods they have to sell are being exchanged for worthless currency -- it literally loses 90% of its value by nightfall.

Zimbabwe is BAD. This used to be one of Africa's success stories. Now it's destabilizing a third of the continent as millions of refugees pour out. It could tip over South Africa. This is worse than Darfur in many ways, and could be worse than Rwanda in time. It's BAD, and the world, as always, does nothing.

Kill Mugabe. Kill him today.

Posted by Fnarf | July 30, 2008 1:23 PM
6

Other countries have suffered hyper-inflation. Zimbabwe can be turned around. Zimbabwe will be turned around. As @5 suggests, some key people need to be removed.

Posted by jebus h. xst | July 30, 2008 1:28 PM
7

Sadly, Charles is right.

And, sadly, Fnarf has the best advice.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 30, 2008 1:53 PM
8

so who kills him? US missile strike? British missile strike? South African invasion? UN invasion?

the devil is in the details.

Posted by max solomon | July 30, 2008 1:57 PM
9

All this talk of hyper-inflation and economic malaise sounds like just a bunch of whiners!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | July 30, 2008 2:04 PM
10

Ideally it would come from the UN, but the UN is geared more towards protecting tyrants, not removing them. The sad fact is that Zimbabwe, like much of Africa, is turning into a Chinese vassal. China's recolonizing the continent; there are a million Chinese living there now, and they're ferrying money, technology, and arms into countries like Zimbabwe and Sudan as fast as they can. So it's not going to be the UN. It's not going to be SA; they're in bed with Mugabe. It COULD be the USA, if the USA hadn't squandered all its power on certain aimless desert adventures that achieved nothing except spilled treasure and blood. I still think we should do it -- go in, pop the motherfucker, and get out before the sun is up, but that's not going to happen. Nothing's going to happen, I'm afraid. Five million people are going to die.

Posted by Fnarf | July 30, 2008 2:28 PM
11

@8 - my choice would be Polish mercenaries, paid for from Russian funds.

It's best not to know how it happened.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 30, 2008 2:48 PM
12

Russia has no interest in freeing Zimbabwe. And the chances of Poland doing Russia's dirty work for them are about the same as you winning the new Nobel Prize for blog commenting.

Posted by Fnarf | July 30, 2008 3:39 PM
13

Let China get sucked into overseas empire. It destroyed the French, German, Spanish, British, Italian, Dutch, and Portugese empires in their times. They'll find out soon enough that the raw materials extracted aren't worth the cost in life or treasure.

Posted by Sir Vic | July 30, 2008 3:50 PM
14

Don't forget the American empire in your list.

Posted by Greg | July 30, 2008 3:53 PM
15

I didn't say they want to do it.

I said use them as the cover.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 30, 2008 4:30 PM
16

Tell the truth, Will: are you a Secret Agent?

Posted by Fnarf | July 30, 2008 4:47 PM
17

No. I have never worked directly for CSIS or CIA or NSA. But I did work with Intel. Both kinds.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 30, 2008 5:27 PM
18

How to kill Mugabe? Gather up a SWAT team comprised of several pit bulls, Critical Mass, and the meanest of the regular SLOG commenters, airlift 'em from Sea-Tac Airport, fly 'em to Zimbabwe, drop 'em on Harare.

That'll kill the tyrannical li'l fucker dead, ya sure ya betcha!

Posted by Cookie W. Monster | July 30, 2008 5:37 PM
19

@17, did they give you a number and take away your name? I'll bet they did. Don't worry, your secrets are safe with us.

Posted by Fnarf | July 30, 2008 5:42 PM
20

Charles,
My understanding is you were born in the country when it was known as Rhodesia, its capitol, Salisbury, its head of state, the Queen of England and its Prime Minister, Ian Smith who passed away last year. Mr. Smith was unfortunately remarkable for two things: he was racist and he predicted accurately that natives couldn't govern and the country would descend into chaos.

However repellent this sounds, one does wonder would the country be better off if the British recolonized Zimbabwe at their behest? The same would apply for those former French, Portuguese and Spanish colonies whose present condition is intolerable. Of course, I don't endorse that nor do I believe all of the conditions of those countries are intolerable. But, after spending 3 years on the continent of Africa (I admit, I have not rendered southern Africa a visit yet) and reading extensively about its affairs, it appears to me nearly 50 years after colonial independence many countries (right now, Zimbabwe is arguably the worst off) are worse off than at independence. Lower life expectancy, increasing HIV infection and a stubborn retention of autocratic and/or dictatorial governments has made Africa, in the words of one African (Kenyan?) economist to remark that "Africa is the Third World's Third World." Clearly, that's tragic. But, Charles, I'm up for some suggestions.

Posted by lark | July 30, 2008 9:54 PM
21

Charles,
My understanding is you were born in the country when it was known as Rhodesia, its capitol, Salisbury, its head of state, the Queen of England and its Prime Minister, Ian Smith who passed away last year. Mr. Smith was unfortunately remarkable for two things: he was racist and he predicted accurately that natives couldn't govern and the country would descend into chaos.

However repellent this sounds, one does wonder would the country be better off if the British recolonized Zimbabwe at their behest? The same would apply for those former French, Portuguese and Spanish colonies whose present condition is intolerable. Of course, I don't endorse that nor do I believe all of the conditions of those countries are intolerable. But, after spending 3 years on the continent of Africa (I admit, I have not rendered southern Africa a visit yet) and reading extensively about its affairs, it appears to me nearly 50 years after colonial independence many countries (right now, Zimbabwe is arguably the worst off) are worse off than at independence. Lower life expectancy, increasing HIV infection and a stubborn retention of autocratic and/or dictatorial governments has made Africa, in the words of one African (Kenyan?) economist to remark that "Africa is the Third World's Third World." Clearly, that's tragic. But, Charles, I'm up for some suggestions.

Posted by lark | July 30, 2008 9:55 PM
22

I don't think it's repellant at all.

Why are so many African countries brutally corrupt, hellish places?

Posted by GK | July 31, 2008 1:27 PM

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