While everyone is anxious to see the Zimbabwe negotiations succeed in bringing relief to the long-suffering people of that country, it is nonetheless galling that the process should be taking place at all. For it is sending a terrible message to tyrants everywhere. The sane world always faces a dilemma in such situations. To yield to the hostage-taker’s demands is to encourage its replication, and so there has been a growing reluctance to do so and the painful decision has been taken to leave hostages to their fate. But when whole communities are involved it is a quantitatively different matter.