Zimbabwe: a state the West loves to hateIt has become highly fashionable in the Western media to draw far fetched parallels between the architect of the Holocaust, Adolf Hitler, and Zimbabwe's current incumbent, Robert Mugabe. Of course, such comparisons are complete fantasise which says far more about those who use such terminology to describe Mugabe, than it does about the current situation on the ground in Zimbabwe.
In the rush to demonise Mugabe, many have forgotten that it was in fact the white supremacist and former Rhodesian leader Ian Smith who first coined the phrase 'Black Hitler' to describe Mugabe and his national liberation movement - and many in the West have also ignored how the Great Western powers, their governments and fiscal institutions have played the most important role in bringing the Zimbabwean economy to its knees. Indeed, it has been the outside interference in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe that have twisted and distorted the countries economy.
It is difficult to imagine how back in 2001, The New York Times gave Zimbabwe the title of the 'worst government on earth' - yeah, right, as if - what, worse than China? Such statements actually betray the narrow and highly selective nature of criticism directed against Zimbabwe by its opponents in the West. Some Western observers (former colonials) seem to lose all sense of proportion when talking about Zimbabwe, for one writer of the The Times (London), what appears to be unfolding in Zimbabwe is nothing less than a 'silent genocide'. Even the organisation Genocide Watch rightfully argue that such claims can appear 'ridiculous' given the fact that there have been relatively few deaths due to conflict in Zimbabwe.
Much of what I see and read about Zimbabwe is no more than unsubstantiated junk propaganda. As the astute political journalist Brendan O'Neill kindly reminds us, there are a few honourable exceptions, like the US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who had the temerity to question received Western wisdom on Zimbabwe. McKinney rightfully argued that Zimbabwe is 'Africa's second-longest stable democracy', it is a country that has 'multi-party' elections, the opposition has 'over 50 seats in the parliament. It has an opposition press which vigorously criticises the government and governing party. It has an independent judiciary which issues decisions contrary to the wishes of the governing party'. That's more than can be said about Egypt, Rwanda, or the Congo. Yet all three of these countries are allies of the West who receive serious amounts of funding from the United States.
Zimbabwe, viewed from the perspective of Western colonial, 'Eton-educated' bi-focals appears more like a horrific symbol of African arrogance and cockiness. It is a point of view that cannot comprehend how 'our last white man in Rhodesia' Ian Smith was humiliated and forcefully jettisoned out of office, by a ‘Black Hitler’ to boot.