Monday, November 20, 2017

Hooray For the Bastard!

Let's be honest here, if it were anyone else but Robert Mugabe defiantly refusing to stand down as president in the face of a military coup, we'd all be cheering him on, wouldn't we?  After all, he is the elected (sort of, if you accept the results of a rigged election a fair ballot) head of state of Zimbabwe, being forced out of power by unelected generals.  Not that it is a coup, of course, even though there are armoured vehicles on the streets and the President under house arrest.  But, of course, Mugabe is a dictator as bad as any.  A classic case of an idealistic freedom fighter turned despot - having overturned a manifestly unjust and unpleasant regime (Ian Smith's illegal white minority regime), he's created a regime equally oppressive of individual citizens, (albeit in different ways).  So, we find ourselves in the bizarre position of cheering on a military coup, (which isn't a coup, the media keeps insisting in a vain attempt to salve our consciences), because it is somehow less worse than Mugabe continuing in power.

Because this, surely, from the perspective of Zimbabwe, is a case of being between a rock and a hard place. I know that there are a lot of commentators assuming that, once Mugabe has finally gone, the military will happily hand power back to the civil authorities.  Maybe they will, but historically, once they've seized power, generals tend to be reluctant to give it up.  Even if they do allow a new, civilian, president to be appointed, they could simply be a puppet of the military.  And if they aren't, there is still no guarantee that they'll be any better than Mugabe.  Which is why there's a little bit of me still cheering Mugabe on as he stands up to the military trying to depose him. Even if he is an evil bastard.  God, this post has been far too serious a way to kick off the week!  I'll see if I can come up with something lighter for tomorrow!

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