Sunday, April 24, 2005

Cathy's letter from Zimbabwe

Dear Family and Friends,
Things have deteriorating noticeably in Zimbabwe in the three weeks since the ruling party declared they had won the elections. Prices have shot up, basic foodstuffs are becoming harder and harder to find and the fuel supply is sporadic. Water from taps has become a luxury and the state owned television this week gave us a long story to explain that as winter approaches electricity cuts are going to be regular occurrences.This week the MDC finally gave up their prolonged diplomatic game and openly declared that the South Africans were not honest brokers in mediating in the Zimbabwean crisis. They said that it was now apparent that the South African stance of "Quiet Diplomacy" was in a reality just a"package of lies and pretence." The statement of this sad fact and an end to the nonsensical diplomatic pretence, comes as a relief to Zimbabweans.We had watched with shock and disgust the line taken by the SABC TV news presenter reporting from Zimbabwe during the election period and few people believed they had remained impartial.Zimbabweans feel so utterly betrayed by our African neighbours and at least now the talk has become straight forward and to the point. By all accounts there are probably less than 20 or 30 000 white people left inZimbabwe and it is matter of continental shame that our regional neighbours cannot and will not see the suffering of 11 million ordinary people but choose to keep on and on hiding behind the now 25 year old"colonialist" scapegoat.It is very hard to be optimistic about anything at the moment but there is a joke doing the rounds which is particularly appropriate as we hurtle backwards into the dark ages. Using a stick, an old shoe lace and a ben tpaper clip a hungry man crafts a crude fishing rod and goes down to try his luck at the river. Against all the odds he manages to catch a small fish and he hurries home to his wife with the first meat they've seen for weeks. He asks his wife to grill the fish immediately but she says she can't because they are having an extended power cut. Then he suggests that she uses the paraffin stove instead and poaches the fish but she can't do that either because there is no paraffin in the country for the stove. The man goes off to collect firewood and says now they can fry the fish but that is also impossible because there is neither margarine nor cooking oil in the country. In despair, the hungry man suggests they simply boil the fish but that too is impossible as there is no water in the taps. Resigned to just smoking the fish on an open fire, the hungry man bends to light the sticks but cannot even do that as the country even ran out of matches this week. In disgust he gets up, grabs the fish and takes it back to the river. The fish slides into the water and turns back to wave a fin at the hungry man and says: "Well, you voted for them."Until next week, with love, cathy.
Copyright cathy buckle 23 April 2005http://africantears.netfirms.com My books on the Zimbabwean crisis,"African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available from:orders@africabookcentre.com ; www.africabookcentre.com ; www.amazon.co.uk; in Australia and New Zealand: johnmreed@johnreedbooks.com.au ; Africa: www.kalahari.net www.exclusivebooks.com

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