Blindness on Zimbabwe

2008-05-16 00:00

It was reported this week that retired South African generals investigating post-election violence in Zimbabwe had uncovered “shocking levels of state-sponsored terror” there. This, they said, makes any chance of a peaceful run-off election “almost impossible”.

This line of thinking was adopted by some influential and misguidedly myopic Africanist South Africans, including President Thabo Mbeki. Inevitably, that meant that when it came to Zimbabwe, sections of the South African media developed a kind of squeamishness, a deliberate myopia of their own, and a reluctance to criticise even the most blatant human right abuses and the destruction of Zimbabwe’s economy. If the media kept their collective mouth shut and looked the other way, they apparently reasoned, no one could accuse them of racism and all the other -isms associated with it.

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