Thursday, September 16, 2010

The United States and Unimportant People

The US and unimportant people

Courtesy of the Zimbabwe Herald

THE United States’ sabre-rattling foreign policy is a matter of large scale human consequences, and as such it must be faced dispassionately.

It is not easy to be dispassionate over vivid images created by the mere mentioning of names like Ronald Reagan, Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney or George W. Bush — images of tortured and mutilated bodies by tens of thousands in El-Salvador, Chile, Guatemala, Iraq and Afghanistan.

One cannot be dispassionate about the ruinous effect of the Western reversal of the post independence achievements of Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe in the last decade, or those of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua in the 1980s — a reversal effected through an illegal unilateral imposition of deadly sanctions expressing themselves through dying infants and starving masses as well as the unmitigated devastation of HIV and Aids.

One cannot be dispassionate about the memory of a sanctions-ravaged Zimbabwe of 2008 that succumbed so hopelessly to a deadly cholera attack that left thousands dead while Western countries happily politicked over their dead bodies in a vainglorious scheme to vilify and demean the person and character of Robert Mugabe.

One can think of the images of a war-torn Mozambique of the 80s and early 90s, Gaza at the mercy of the ever-ruthless Israelis, Lebanon in 2006 and many other corners of the world from which we are expected to avert our eyes, as we relegate traditional US atrocities into the archives of world history.

Those who entertain and enjoy material support and benefits from Washington will preach hard and long the overwhelmingly powerful gospel of democracy and freedom, promising whoever cares to listen of the eternal happiness that comes with democratisation as sponsored and prescribed by the United States.

The agents of this over-promising crusade come by way of political activist in student politics, civic society, youth movements and even through labour movements.

It is that kind of political activism that is executed by obnoxious hoodlums who want to make Westerners believe ill-informed rebellion is warranted uprising, or even revolutionary.

Such thugs are often led by equally self-centred and narrow minded pompous political pissants masquerading as career politicians.

These are such political leaders as we have seen in those who wear straight faces when canvassing for sanctions against their own country and their own people.

We have had such politicians in Nicaragua, in Guatemala, in Cuba and in Zimbabwe — politicians who believe it is part of some revolutionary walk to ask for the isolation of their own countries in a bid to overthrow sitting governments. Precisely these people are saboteurs and treasonous.

The United States and the West call them "freedom fighters" to borrow Ronald Reagan’s favourite phrase, or "pro-democracy movements" to borrow from George W. Bush.

This writer thinks anyone who boasts of political power derived from a capacity to mobilise sanctions against their own people is no more than a bombastic bucolic boofhead, whose baseness is no less than that of a sadistic common criminal.

These are the people who think sanctions against Zimbabwe are a simple matter "between Zanu-PF and those who imposed" the sanctions — patently refraining from seeing the piles of bones and rivers of blood caused by the same sanctions. It is not easy to be dispassionate when one is faced by these agents of misery and despair.

Our tormentors have the temerity to claim high moral ground in philanthropically mitigating our plight — in reality the plight of their victims.

These are the liberal doves of hope and love as preached by the numerous Western charities and civic organisations stationed in Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa today.

Right wing historians make highlights of the October 1983 killing of 299 US Marines in Beirut, Lebanon. Henderik Hertzberg wrote in his capacity as editor of the New Republic that there were things about the Reagan era that were not "so attractive", and he passionately singled out the dead Marines, not the dead Lebanese and Palestinians.

He did not say anything about the Reagan atrocities in Central America, where the mass killings in Nicaragua and Guatemala did not even rise to the level of "unattractive".

Mary McGrory wrote and said that the real debate and argument for Nicaragua was "what is more important in Nicaragua: peace as the Democrats cry; or freedom, as the Republicans demand".

The revealing part of this is that the Democrats were committed to peace as the Republicans were to freedom.

The Republicans under George W. Bush demanded "freedom" for the MDC-T and its supporters in Zimbabwe, and the Democrats under Barrack Obama are demanding "power" for the MDC-T within an inclusive Government between Zanu-PF and the two factions of the MDC. Obama is even "heartbroken" over the whole matter.

It does not matter if it is peace, freedom or power that the US is talking about, the underlying principle is that all these are an imposition on the unimportant people — a people whose sovereignty must stretch no further than can be allowed by US foreign policy.

The Western public today looks at Iraq and Afghanistan and what they are made to see are the Western dead soldiers and those missing in action; they are made to see the awful threat of Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda, and to see the leaking boats full of unwanted refugees heading for countries like Australia.

These are the humanitarian and pertinent issues highlighted by Western media to their own public, and this is what the West sees when they cast their eyes on two countries littered with corpses, broken bodies, and hundreds of thousands of displaced hapless people — destruction on a colossal scale — all caused by some unknown hand, always unmentioned in the West.

So the Iraq, Vietnam and Afghanistan wars are more important in what they did to the history of the United States and not for the difference these wars made in their respective countries.

The slaughter of millions of Iraqis, Vietnamese and Afghans and the destruction of their countries are all far too slight a matter to attract the attention of the muse of history while Western writers ponder on the domestic problems caused for the important people, the people who really count.

One waits for the day a well meaning German commentator will explain that the Holocaust is important in history for what it did internally to German and not for what difference it made for the Jews.

We wait for the day a wise British commentator will acknowledge that Zimbabwe’s land reclamation program is important for what it did for the landless indigenous people, and not for what difference it made for ousted white colonial settlers.

The documentary "Mugabe and the White African" will assume a totally different meaning and appeal in the West once it is made clear that the land redistribution programme in Zimbabwe was for the benefit of landless masses who were violently dispossessed of their land a century ago, and not about Mugabe’s alleged racial insensitivities.

A leading authority on Native Americans, Francis Jennings, once observed: "In history, the man in the ruffled shirt and gold-laced waistcoat somehow levitates above the blood he has ordered to be spilled by dirty-handed underlings."

One can imagine that straight looking face of Tony Blair trying to sanitise the Iraq misadventure as a just war of some kind.

This is why the blood of the unimportant people in Afghanistan and Iraq is quite inconsequential to political commentary from right wing intellectuals and analysts in the West.

We can never really be able to realistically face the problems that lie ahead as Africans unless we come to grips with these striking and pervasive features of Western moral and intellectual culture.

In the 80s Central America was a foreign policy obsession for the US and the effects were devastating and quite apparent. Before this grim and shameful decade, Central America had been one of the most miserable corners of the world.

The fate of Central America provides for us lesser and unimportant peoples very informative lessons about a great power that has long dominated the world and repeatedly interv`ened in its affairs — intervention by military force, brutal invasions and devastating economic sanctions meant to ‘‘democratise’’ our societies and make us more ‘‘civilised’’.

Our rivers of blood and mutilated bodies are often foreign to the minds of the important people, and it is understood that they are not to be troubled by such discordant notes.

This is why James LeMoyne of the New York Times Magazine once ruminated on the "deep-seated problem of Central America", recalling the role of Cuba, the Soviet Union, North Korea, the PLO, Vietnam and other disruptive foreign forces.

The US did not feature at all as having played a role in these deep-seated problems, except when LeMoyne wrote that the US "bolstered the Salvadorian Army, insisted on elections and called for some reforms."

This is what is important for the important people in the West, that the US and UK bolstered the MDC-T in Zimbabwe, insisted on reversing the land reform program and called for wide ranging reforms.

The deep-seated economic decline of the last decade is attributed to Sadc and South Africa’s alleged pampering of President Mugabe, to "unsound policies" from the same Robert Mugabe, to China and Russia’s backing of Zimbabwe at the UN Security Council.

The Western unilateral and illegally imposed economic sanctions do not feature at all in the deadly economic decline that started at the formation of the MDC and with the introduction of the US sanctions law, ZDERA.

The US and the UK are only charged with "not doing enough" against the "Mugabe regime" and supposedly they owe the victims of their sanctions a great salvation.

It is quite cynical but we are supposed to understand that it is Zimbabwe that must reform by returning to the old order of handing its land and resources to the important people of this world; otherwise the West will not allow the country to prosper in any way.

The West is only charged with "indifference" during the 1994 Hutu-Tutsi genocidal conflict in Rwanda, and the colonial role of France does not feature at all in that equation.

Tribalism and primitiveness are blamed for the DRC perpetual civil wars, and nothing much is said about the Belgium-US joint assassination of that country’s first democratically elected Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba in 1961.

It took the country a solid 46 years to see another democratic election after the barbaric murder of the DRC’s founding father.

Zimbabweans were squeezed by Western countries to vote the right way through a ruthless campaign of isolation and economic sabotage and 2008 was the year the final onslaught was executed. The plan was to prop the MDC-T and to annihilate Zanu-PF before stamping on the revolutionary liberation movement a seal of eternal condemnation as is stuck on the German Nazis.

Now there are glimmerings of hope for constructive change as Zimbabweans are working together in an environment of peace and stability.

That has not been welcomed by the West and the declared reason is the unwanted presence of President Mugabe, never mind that Zimbabweans have resolved to have him as their leader.

Zimbabweans are only lesser and unimportant people. It is the important people in the West who matter the most, and what must matter now is that the West want to see the back of President Mugabe.

Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!

Reason Wafawarova is a political writer and can be contacted on or reason@rwafa or visit

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