Starving Zimbabweans Eat Their Pets
CNN says "pets are being slaughtered for meat in shortage-stricken Zimbabwe and record numbers of animals have been surrendered to shelters or abandoned by owners no longer able to feed them, animal welfare activists say."
One animal rights activist, who asked not to be named out of fear of arrest, called the situation "too ghastly for words. "We are accused of giving the country a bad name," the activist said. ...
Mugabe's critics say corruption and his stewardship of the economy have led to the crisis. They point to the often-violent, government seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms that began in 2000 and disrupted the agriculture-based economy in what was once a regional breadbasket.
Meat, cornmeal, bread and other staples vanished from shops and stores. A government order to slash prices of all goods and services in June worsened acute food shortages and has left stores virtually empty of basic foodstuffs.
Food shortages have also emboldened rats to forage for scraps in homes and far beyond their usual hideaways, pest control specialists said.
CNN's account of the troubles in Zimbabwe sounds almost like a child's history of the world, where stuff just happens without any rhyme or reason. 'Once upon a time there was a poor African country where people were so hungry they ate their pets.' There is passing mention -- but only passing mention -- of how things got that way. And no mention at all of how many "progressives" in the West approved of Robert Mugabe's rise to power and tacitly approved of his "land reform".
The new British government led by Tony Blair unilaterally stopped funding the "willing buyer, willing seller" land reform program in 1997 on the basis that the initial £44 million allocated under the Thatcher administration was used to purchase land for members of the ruling elite rather than landless peasants. Furthermore, Britain's ruling Labour party felt no obligation to continue paying white farmers compensation, or in minister Clare Short's words, "I should make it clear that we do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe. We are a new Government from diverse backgrounds without links to former colonial interests. My own origins are Irish and as you know we were colonised not colonisers."
Well said, Clare.
In 1994 Mugabe was bestowed an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath by Queen Elizabeth II. This entitles him to use the postnominal letters KCB, but not to use the title "Sir." UK Foreign Affairs Select Committee called for the removal of this honour in 2003, but no action was taken. He also holds several honorary degrees and doctorates from various international universities, though in June 2007, he became the first international figure ever to be stripped of an honorary degree by a British university, when the University of Edinburgh withdrew the degree awarded to him in 1984.
Robert Mugabe should be allowed to keep his titles and honorary degrees so that posterity may record just who it was who cheered him on in his madcap program to socialize an agricultural industry that was once the envy of Africa. "And then they ate their pets." That should be inscribed above the entrances to the cemeteries in what was once called Zimbabwe.