Sunday, June 20, 2004

Not All Ethnic Cleansings are Equal

Glenn Reynolds links to a post on Cronaca about a supposed plan by Mugabe to rid his country of its white population. In response to this Reynolds asks

Will the world care? The track record of the "international community" with regard to such things has been poor.
The answer to this is obvious: of course they'll care, just as they've cared a hell of a lot more about the sufferings of this small minority than they have about the depradations visited upon a far larger proportion of Zimbabwe's populace, and for an exceedingly simple reason: those under threat of expulsion happen to be white.

Mugabe is a thoroughly nasty piece of work, and I wouldn't put the rumored expulsion plan beyond him, but I have to admit that there's a certain perverted logic to his thinking. To see what I mean, take a look at this snippet of the article quoted by Cronaca:
A source privy to discussions within the CIO said Mugabe believed the removal of the whites would draw the international spotlight away from Zimbabwe. “This comes right from the top,” the source said. . .

“In Mozambique, where there are no whites, the government can get away with whatever it likes and the world doesn’t bother. Mugabe would like Zimbabwe to be like that.”
As nice as it would be to imagine that Mugabe was wrong on this score, it really can't be denied, can it? There are far worse rulers on the continent, above and below the Sahara, but nobody ever gives them the coverage the Western press has devoted to Mugabe over the last few years. Where are the sanctions against the rulers of Tunisia or Equatorial Guinea?

Mugabe's gamble is logical enough - there'll be a big hue and cry about the expulsion if it goes through, but once it's over and done with, Zimbabwe will fall back into the obscurity reserved for all the brutal tinpot dictatorships who don't have white minorities for folks at home to identify with. He could literally eat his enemies for lunch and no one would care then: after all, that's just the sort of thing "those people" do to each other, isn't it? The attitude in the aftermath will be "Let Africa Sink", just as one white South-African emigré/self-proclaimed "Old Africa Hand" infamously put it.