Mugabe International Travel plc

2012-11-07 16:39

I RECENTLY read with a sense of disbelief, no, outrage, that Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe has been appointed as “International Tourism Ambassador" for the United Nations. Mind you, I shouldn’t really be surprised at anything the UN does – it’s always had the ability to shock and place its foot firmly in its mouth regardless of what it stepped in. And stepping in excrement is one thing it does really well.

I cannot believe the hypocrisy involved here. Let’s face it if Zimbabwe was oil-rich or if Mugabe himself was an Arab, he would have been invaded by the Nato/USA complex under the dubious banner of the war on terror. The UN simpered and protested feebly in the 1980s when Mugabe’s North Korean Brigade slaughtered, yes that’s the right word, more than 20 000 innocent Matabele  people, declaring that they were dissidents intent on overthrowing the regime. Likewise it did little to protest the seizure of white (and some black) farms when so-called war vets were unleashed onto a terrified population. Many of those “vets” were not even born when the Bush War ended in ’80. The majority of those farms are now owned by Mugabe’s cronies, many of them multiple owners.

So, where’s the justice? The EU, for example, has placed travel bans and selective sanctions on Mugabe and his ZANUPF foot soldiers so any thought Mugabe might harbour about touring Europe on a year-long freebie "promoting" tourism is and will remain a pipe dream. If this were not so serious it would be hilarious.

Appointing Mugabe as a tourist ambassador is like appointing Adolf  Hitler a Middle East peace envoy.

The thing is, the UN will always remain a laughing stock as long as it makes appointments like this and more importantly, it will always be ineffective while the “superpower” veto remains in place, especially when a recalcitrant Russia and China refuse to approve any policy changes, probably in the name of antiquated Cold War revenge tactics.

But what is Mugabe expected to do? I would love to see his job description and can’t wait to sample his thoughts on tourism in countries which have always been friendly towards him – like the "homosexual" UK and the "decadent, Great Satan" USA.

Of course, to be fair, Zimbabwe’s tourism industry is booming, isn’t it? Comrade Bob can always draw on his experiences there. His game farms and reserves have become nothing less than meat and ivory warehouses. The poaching of rhino and elephant is under control and there are no almost daily gun battles between poachers and rangers. Everything is fully under control and so Comrade Bob can now go and promote tourism for the UN. Except only this week it was announced that white rhino in the Matobo (Matopos) reserve are “months away from extinction” and an appeal has made internationally for funding for a 2,5km fence around the reserve. World famous holiday resorts like Kariba and Victoria Falls are shadows of their former selves and most tourists today view these wonders from the Zambian side. So far, so good for Mugabe’s tourism aspirations.

So yes, Mad Bob has got his work cut out for him but undoubtedly he’ll soon be off to international five-star countries like Azerbaijan, Helmand Province in Afghanistan, and good old peaceful  Mali and the DRC, with stopovers in Somalia and Syria. Visit Nigeria to see the wonders of church bombings (at least they'll probably let him in there).

Try as I might, I cannot see the logic behind the UN’s thinking. But then again, I never have. During the latter decades of the 20th century the world organization led the call for sports’ boycotts against South Africa and Rhodesia. The Olympics take place in London and such bastions of freedom of speech, religion and thought like China, the DRC (again), Syria (again) and yes, Zimbabwe and other murderous regimes were welcomed with open arms. As it should be, by the way… I’m no fan of boycotts, sporting or otherwise and sportsmen and women should not be penalized for the unforgiveable policies of their governments. But where’s the continuity? I’ll tell you where, it’s disappeared to be replaced by hypocrisy. Politicians here in the UK still regularly bleat about how politics and sport should not be mixed. It always has been, always will be, but would those same politicians have shouted those odds about the bans on SA and Rhodesia all those years ago? Of course not. Now, if we had had oil...

How times have changed, how the mighty have fallen, how Robert Mugabe must be spluttering with laughter into his blood-soaked porridge. After all, the UN has sent a tacit message of approval of murder, theft, corruption and war crimes.

Three cheers for the UN!


AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

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