election poster via Copyranter
People in Zimbabwe and Burma are really suffering and there’s not much we can do about it. In the past there was suffering the same I guess, but you didn’t see it as much. Zim and Burma are both cases where we can watch governments killing and impoverishing their own people and simply not do much about it. Whatever force there was for international intervention has been spent by Bush’s Iraq misadventure and now people are reluctant to interfere with anything. Simply being a nation state comes with its own set of rules and, unfortunately, treating your own people decently isn’t one of them. Namely because such a measure is difficult to agree upon, and intervention can easily turn more catastrophic than before.
What I do find odd is that all of these horrid regimes are propped up by those who know better. China supports the Burmese Junta, and South Africa’s Mbeki is the main roadblock to getting rid of Robert Mugabe in Zim. On the latter, it’s unclear as to why South Africa is standing by while Mugabe ignores the election he lost and simply killed, tortured and arrested the opposition into submission on the run-off. For the sheer scope of the violence, Sokwanele has a fascinating (nauseating?) Google Maps mash-up of Election Violence along with a definitely nauseating Image Gallery.
The Zim thing is sad cause there was a moment of hope when Mugabe actually lost the election. Then, however, like the uplifting Burmese monk protests, the whole thing was crushed underfoot. And so easily. However, there is leverage on these matter. I think Mbeki is out and Zuma may be marginally better on this matter, but there is an angle. South Africa has the FIFA World Cup coming up. It’s a long-shot, but people can protest and pressure FIFA to lean on the South African government to stop supporting Mugabe against the will of his own people. A bit tangential yes, it’s not like the Cup is in FIFA, but right now South Africa is the only leverage the world has into that country. The way it’s going, the people of Zimbabwe really can’t afford to wait until Mugabe dies – by which point there lands will be fallow, children stunted and hungry and currency worth less than nothing. It’s a long-shot, but it seems like soccer may be the last hope for the people of Zimbabwe.