Have just been leafing through 'The Independent' in the last hour or so.
First of all it's a shame about Richard Whiteley, my brother (a bit fan of Countdown) rang me up last night to tell me, and the paper does the usual stuff. Much missed etc.. but he did seem to be one of the few genuinely, no chip on shoulder, nice guys in the world of fame. I am sure 'Countdown' will continue but it won't feel the same without him and he will be a hard act to follow.
(NB For Americans and other overseas friends and other readers from overseas. 'Countdown' is a popular word/math(s) gameshow on Channel 4 television during the daytime. It has been going on, presented by the same people, since Channel 4 started in 1982. For more info see www.bbc.co.uk/news)
The main headline however is about Zimbabwe, and the UN are investigating Mugabe's 'Operation Drive Out Trash' (Takes trash to know trash). It turns out thousands of people are dying in rural poverty at an epic last seen with Pol Pot in Cambodia. This is just the pits, seeing as we are 'Making Poverty History', maybe a strong sense of moral prodding by the UN towards Soutthern African countries in dealing with Mugabe is called for!
Below is an item I wrote on Saturday about the current Zimbabwe crisis, for the latest edition of IMPACT. (The CPF newsletter which I help edit, more on that later this week...):
The African Union, led by South Africa, have rejected calls by the US and UK to exert pressure on Zimbabwe to stop the demoliton of houses in urban areas. The reason Mugabe is doing this is to punish people in areas who did not vote for him in the recent presidential elections. Mugabe denies this, saying that the crackdown is on areas 'overrun with criminals'.
Well it takes one to know one! Let's not forget two children were killed during one crackdown this week.
One AU spokesman says that it is not their policy to interfere in other countries affairs and there is no way the AU will be seen appeasing western leaders at the forthcoming G 8 summit.
All I can say is that the current regime in South Africa is a disapointment compared to Mandela's inspiring leadership. If only some there were not small minded enough to realise that this is not about appeasment, colonialism, etc.. but rather calling for mutual respect, human dignity, and helping one's neighbour.
In twenty-five years Mugabe has succesfully turned one of the potentially wealthiest nations in Africa with a potential multi-party democracy, into one of the poorest, famine fuelled, dictatorships in Africa. He has turned his speech of reconcilliation on the day Zimbabwe gained independence from the UK in 1980 into a total joke!
And the future seemed so hopeful after the 1960s and 1970s when Rhodesia had a pseudo-apartheid regime and Ian Smith's confrontations with Britain and the rest of the international community.
The sooner Mugabe and Zanu PF are removed from power, the better.