Cathy Buckle's Letter From Zimbabwe.
Dear Family and Friends,
Zimbabwe acquired 69 new buses this week. The arrival of the buses made headline news on Zimbabwe's radio and television stations on Thursday 7th July 2005. For the first twenty six minutes of the main hour long news bulletin on Thursday evening, the only story was the 69 buses. Video footage showed a line of parked shiny blue and yellow buses stretching as far as the eye could see. This was followed by a string of interviews with prospective passengers either standing next to or seated in a stationary bus. At one point the glories of the shiny, blue and yellow buses were contrasted with a parking lot full of stranded, dusty country buses -stranded because of the now dire shortage of fuel across the country. The absurdity of reporting on new buses arriving when almost the entire country has come to a standstill this week, was striking. Thirty seven minutes into the same evening news bulletin, Zimbabwe television reported on the 4 bombs that had devastated London on Thursday morning. In less than two minutes ZBC TV told the entire story of the London horror. They then moved on to explain, yet again, why our government was still breaking down peoples homes in mid winter in their drive to restore order. Millions of Zimbabweans, literally, have experienced terror at first hand in our country in the last five years, and we offer our love, support and prayers to the victims and families of the horrific bombs in London.Watching some of the film footage of thousands of people walking out of London on Thursday was strikingly similar to scenes in Zimbabwe this week. An eerie silence has descended across Zimbabwe as we are now a country completely crippled without fuel. We wake up to silence as people walk to work, rush hours are non existent and literally hundreds of people line the roads desperate for lifts. Stocks in shops are dwindling andbusinesses are barely ticking over as there are fewer and fewer customersable to travel. One friend told me this week that sales in their normallybusy business had dropped by 40 percent in the last five days. The reality of a country coming to a dry and grinding halt does make the story of the 69 buses rather ludicrous doesn't it?I will end this week on the latest absurdity to come out of Zimbabwe and I quote from the government owned press:
"Harare City Council has rescinded all land sale agreements made between1998 and this year and is now reselling the land at market rates to thesame buyers, where necessary," the official Herald newspaper reported,citing Harare Town Clerk Nomutsa Chideya.
When things can't get much worse, the silliest things cause great hilarity. How about this gem doing the rounds: "The new Barbie on the market comes with: no shoes, no clothes, no make up, no car, no food, nohouse and no farm. Its called... Zimbarbie!" Until next week, with love,cathy.Copyright cathy buckle 9th July 2005. http://africantears.netfirms.comMy books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" areavailable from: email@example.com ; www.africabookcentre.com ;www.amazon.co.uk ; in Australia and New Zealand: firstname.lastname@example.org; Africa: www.exclusivebooks.com