I sincerely wish more people were writing about this. Our voices can sometimes be the loudest and if we only got more behind stories like this, maybe we could actually affect some change.
From the AP:
HARARE, Zimbabwe – Riot police turned an urban township into a ghost town Wednesday, rounding up the last residents in defiance of a U.N. call to halt a demolition campaign that has left 700,000 without homes or jobs.
After emptying the Porta Farm township ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬? where some 30,000 people lived just days ago ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬? earth-movers were seen lumbering into the area to finish clearing debris from destroyed homes, cabins and shacks as part of what the government calls Operation Drive Out Trash. Police armed with batons and riot shields barred aid workers and residents from entering.
In one fell swoop, 700,00 people are homeless. Why? Mugabe wanted to build a sewage treatment plant.
Zimbabwe’s government argues the campaign is aimed at reducing crime and restoring order in overcrowded slums and illegal markets, and has pledged to build new homes for those uprooted. But independent economists argue the government cannot afford the $325 million it has promised for reconstruction.
The U.N. report says the demolitions “unleashed chaos and untold human suffering” in a country already gripped by economic crisis. In addition to those who lost homes and jobs, a further 2.4 million people have been affected by the countrywide campaign that began May 19 with little warning, the report said.
What Mugabe is doing is monstrous and it doesn’t help that China is rewarding it with their diplomatic protection. And South Africa? Well, their silence is ridiculous.
The United States and Britain on Tuesday demanded a Security Council briefing on the U.N. report on Zimbabwe’s demolitions, but China has voiced objections to the possible meeting.
Mugabe, meeting with the country’s No. 2 leader, Wu Bangguo, paid tribute to China as a “great friend, historical friend, brotherly friend.”
South Africa also has stood by Zimbabwe, insisting quiet diplomacy is the best way to help the Zimbabwean people.
South Africa has indicated it may take over some of the country’s huge foreign debt. The ruling African National Congress urged other countries Wednesday to act on U.N. recommendations to increase international assistance to the most vulnerable in Zimbabwe.
Request that more people blog about this topic. We can help get this issue out there, but we need to be many, not few.