By Stephen Gowans
According to today’s Washington Post “nearly three weeks after (Pakistan’s President Pervez) Musharraf declared emergency rule, sacked members of the Supreme Court and began a roundup of journalists, lawyers and human rights activists” George Bush said that Musharraf “truly is somebody who believes in democracy.”
Also today, The New York Times ran an obituary of Ian Smith, the former prime minister of apartheid Rhodesia, suggesting that compared to Mugabe, Smith wasn’t such a bad fellow after all.
You’d get the impression from the Times obituary that Smith and Mugabe are cut from the same repressive cloth, only Smith (a white man) knew how to run the economy while Mugabe (a black man) doesn’t.
“Political opposition to Mr. Mugabe’s regime has been suppressed with the same zeal as Mr. Smith himself once displayed in the fight against African nationalist strivings for majority rule,” the obituary says, with a breathtaking blindness to the true nature of the Smith regime.
Smith, as prime minister of an apartheid government, jailed Mugabe, but Mugabe, as president of an independent Zimbabwe, allowed Smith to go about his business, a free man, who continued to farm freely on two estates. If Mugabe was running a black supremacist apartheid state that oppressed whites and killed those who resisted, he would have long ago been hauled before a Western war crimes tribunal and shown the hangman’s noose.
Mugabe drew attention to this when he addressed the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly in September.
“Ian Smith is responsible for the death of well over 50,000 of my people. I bear scars of his tyranny which Britain and America condoned. I meet his victims everyday. Yet he walks free. He farms free. He talks freely, associates freely under a black government. We taught him democracy. We gave him back his humanity.
“He would have faced a different fate here (in the US) and in Europe if the 50,000 he killed were Europeans. Africa has not called for a Nuremberg trial against the white world which committed heinous crimes against its own humanity.
“It has not hunted perpetrators of this genocide, many of whom live to this day, nor has it got reparations from those who offended against it. Instead, it is Africa which is in the dock, facing trial from the same world that persecuted it for centuries.”
Smith was a racist to the end and the Times obituary gave him a platform to promote the ideology of white (Western) rule over Africa from the grave.
“I’m pleasantly surprised at the number of people who come to me and say, when you were in the chair, we thought you were too inflexible and unbending; we now see that you were right,” (about blacks being unable to manage their own affairs) he’s quoted as saying.
The obituary ends with Smith telling us that “There are millions of black people who say things were better when I was in control. I have challenged Mugabe to walk down the street with me and see who has most support. I have much better relations with black people than he does.”
When the New African magazine carried out a public opinion poll asking who the greatest Africans were, Smith’s name, not surprisingly, didn’t come up. Mugabe was ranked third, behind Nelson Mandela and Kwame Nkrumah.
So, what are we to make of this?
The West’s newspaper of record intimates that Smith and Mugabe share an equal brutality, but that the country was better off under Smith.
Musharraf truly does what Mugabe is only accused of doing, but, all the same, is rewarded with over $10 billion in US aid and is called someone who truly believes in democracy.
Musharraf (who Pakistanis call Busharraf for a reason) is acting as Washington’s strongman in Pakistan, promoting the project of Western domination. Mugabe, who would never be called Bush’s or Brown’s strongman, (except by certain leftist groups suffering from collective detachment from reality) is doing the opposite. For this crime against privileged interests in the West, he’s called the leader of a brutal regime.
It would be truly surprising if the local collaborators with Western imperialism weren’t rewarded with aid and honors, and equally surprising if fighters against Western imperialism weren’t vilified by West’s state officials and mimetic media.
Musharraf is a brutal dictator. Smith was a vile racist. Mugabe is neither of these things.