HANANIA: Zimbabwe, another great Western Democracy failure, For Immediate Release, April 20, 2008

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Zimbabwe, another great Western Democracy failure
By Ray Hanania —
Well, at some point, the “West” might start to recognize the fact that it is not very good at bringing Democracy to any nation. Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, is just another reminder of that failure. So why are we wasting our time in Iraq? Well, Iraq has oil and Zimbabwe does not. Halliburton, the company formerly led by Vice President Dick Cheney, could not make the billions in profits in Zimbabwe that it can make in Iraq. So, we bring Democracy to Iraq, in exchange for oil and profits. And we turn our backs on Zimbabwe.

We helped bring Democracy to Zimbabwe, and when it fails, we don’t care because Zimbabwe is, well, a destitute African Third World nothing.

So President Bush sits back and does nothing as Zimbabwe’s “President” Robert Mugabe makes a mockery of Democracy there, although, in reality, we have watched silently and with apathy as Robert Mugabe has made a mockery of Democracy since the day he came to power in 1980, first as Prime Minister, and then in 1987 as “president-for-life.”

Racism is an issue that also keeps the Mugabe dictatorship and Zimbabwe’s failed Westernized Democracy from rising on the horizon of Western and American concerns.

They are Black. We don’t care about Black people. We don’t care about Africa. We don’t care about any of that. Why should we? On top of the fact that they are Black, they have no oil. Only poverty. Only need. Only one of the world’s fastest rising HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world.

The people of Iraq are not so Black. Olive-skinned. They’re not much more educated, or civilized in terms of Western standards – which are extremely high to match our level of racism.

But Iraq has oil. And that’s all that matters.

So, Zimbabwe has elections on March 29 and low and behold without even an injection of American foreign policy or money, the people of Zimbabwe decide they have had enough of their so-called Democratic leader.

The people of Zimbabwe overwhelmingly vote him out of office. But Mugabe is not a president. He is a tyrant and a dictator. He controls the nation, just as many of our so-called Democratic allies around the world, like in Pakistan, are really dictators and tyrants, too.

Tyrants love to pretend that they have Democracies, as long as those Democracies don’t get in the way of their raping and pillaging their countries under the guise of “Democracy.”

In reality, what we see is that Democracy is little more than that in many Third World countries that don’t have oil or other natural resources that can be exploited by big multi-national corporations with ties to America’s robber barons. A cover. A façade. A phony front.

Democracy finally finds a voice after nearly three decades since the former White Apartheid nation of Rhodesia and South Africa’s White racist government ally was toppled, only to be trampled to death by the dictator who waved Democracy’s flag to the applause of uncaring leaders at the United Nations, in the Western World and in the Bush administration.

Since the March 29 election, Mugabe’s election commission has refused to release the vote totals. Many believe that they are meticulously going through the ballots replacing them with new ones, stealing the election the way many of America’s “Democratic allies” remain in control.

As the opposition that won the election steps up its protests, Mugabe responds with violence, rounding up their party’s leaders, opening torture camps to deal with the “terrorists.”

Why shouldn’t Mugabe open torture camps? The United States, the icon of Democracy, opened its own torture camps to deal with the “terrorists” that threatened American hegemony.

The United States set aside civil rights to defend itself against the “terrorists,” an obscure term that pretty much describes any foreign national or domestic militant who opposes the Bush administration.

It was so much easier when we Americans could pretend we cared. When Zimbabwe was racist Rhodesia and the lines of right and wrong were clearer and didn’t involve our own hypocrisy.

Americans boycotted Rhodesia as they did South Africa. We were able to wave our principles and instead of buying Kruggerands (South African gold “dollars”) we purchased other things in other ways. The truth is that it took White America too long to really stand up against the Apartheid injustice of South Africa and Rhodesia and only did it when it became apparent that both nations were about to collapse.

But now that both sides of the battle ate Black, it’s so much harder to move ourselves to stand up for what is right. Especially when they have no oil or resources we can exploit.

And as we Americans sit back uncaring about the fate of “Democracy” in Zimbabwe, who do you think is knocking on the door of opportunity there, supporting Mugabe’s dictatorship?

You guessed it. As they triumphantly trot across the world carrying the Olympic Torch, the Chinese government continues to supply Mugabe with what he needs to remain in power and to flaunt the indignation of those of us who thought that Zimbabwe’s “Democracy” was on the up-and-up.

The only question for the Chinese must be whether or not Mugabe can put an end to all that Democracy stuff in time for the summer Olympics.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist, author and radio talk show host based in Chicago. He can be reached at www.hanania.com. Distributed by the Arab American Writers Group, www.ArabWritersGroup.com.)



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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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Ray Hanania