Last week's blog created a little bit of tension with some Zimbabweans, who felt that I exaggerated the situation in Zimbabwe. I stand by what I wrote, and believe that the current crisis in Zimbabwe is worse than the outside world knows.
It is no accident that a Human Rights envoy was refused entry last week. It's no surprise either. It is frightening to see the numbers of those contracting cholera, and the mounting deaths as this disease takes hold.
What makes writing about Zimbabwe deceiving is that many who comment have an agenda to publicize. It might be an insider from the reigning party who pretends to be a "citizen" and discusses how the outside world is a MUGABE hater. It could be someone who gets paid to create confusion over what is truly happening. I saw this first hand as I bribed my way out of a Harare prison last year. Most everyone is desperate and money changes everything, including your opinion.
I hear constantly that the WEST has played a part in the decay of Zimbabwe. I am sure that this is so. However, with the state of the country, I could care less if it is Mugabe or Mbeki or the Pope in power in Zimbabwe. The political situation is a backdrop, but truth is that none of that matters right now. The cholera situation has a very good chance of becoming an epidemic. God help Zimbabwe if it does. This epidemic can also spread outside of Zimbabwe to it's neighboring countries.
Over the weekend, I was fielding comments from some readers who felt I was exaggerating the situation to further my writing career, made me furious. As I was talking to one of my friends, she reminded me that those suffering the most would never even come close to having access to a computer to make comments. So true!
I received a note through a colleague that I share in this post. It is powerful and telling. This person still resides in a major city in Zimbabwe and is a doctor:
I reckon that these are the last days of TKM and ZPF (= the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union [ZANU] Progressive-federal Party [PF]). The darkest hour is always before dawn.
We are all terrified at what they are going to destroy next-I mean they are actually plowing down brick and mortar houses. One family with twin boys of 10 had no chance of salvaging anything when 100 riot police came in with AK47's and bulldozers and demolished their beautiful house. The 5 bedrooms and pine ceiling house was destroyed- because it was "too close to the airport", so we are feeling extremely insecure right now.
You know - I am aware that this does not help you sleep at night, but if you do not know - how can you help? Even if you put us in your own mental ring of light and send your guardian angels to be with us - that is a help -but I feel so cut off from you all knowing I cannot tell you what's going on here simply because you will feel uncomfortable. There is no way we can leave here so that is not an option.
I ask that you all pray for us in the way that you know how, and let me know that you are thinking of us and sending out positive vibes... that's all. You can't just be in denial and pretend/believe it's not going on.
To be frank with you, it's genocide in the making and if you do not believe me, read the Genocide Report by Amnesty International which says we are in level 7 - (level 8 is after it's happened and everyone is in denial).
If you don't want me to tell you these things-how bad it is-then it means you have not dealt with your own fears, but it does not help me to think you are turning your back on our situation. We need you, please, to get the news OUT that we are all in a fearfully dangerous situation here. Too many people turn their backs and say - oh well, that's what happens in Africa
This Government has GONE MAD and you need to help us publicize our plight---or how can we be rescued? It's a reality! The petrol queues are a reality, the pall of smoke all around our city is a reality (everything is burnt - rubber & plastic - making that foul smoke, as electricity is now unaffordable for most), the thousands of homeless people sleeping outside in 0 Celsius with no food, water, shelter and bedding are a reality. Today a family approached me, brother of the gardener's wife with two small children. Their home was trashed and they will have to sleep outside. We already support 8 adult people and a child on this property, and electricity is going up next month by 250% as is water.
How can I take on another family of 4 -----and yet how can I turn them away to sleep out in the open?
I am not asking you for money or a ticket out of here - I am asking you to FACE the fact that we are in deep and terrible danger and want you please to pass on our news and pictures - to all and sundry. So PLEASE don't just press the delete button! Help best in the way that you know how.
Do face the reality of what is going on here and help us SEND OUT THE WORD. The more people who know about it, the more chance we have of the United Nations finally coming to our aid. Please don't ignore or deny what's happening. Some would like to be protected from the truth BUT then, if we are eliminated, how would you feel? 'If only we knew how bad it really was we could have helped in some way'.
[I know we chose to stay here and that some feel we deserve what's coming to us]
For now,--- we ourselves have food, shelter, a little fuel and a bit of money for the next meal - but what is going to happen next? Will they start on our houses? All property is going to belong to the State now. I want to send out my Title Deeds to one of you because if they get a hold of those, I can't fight for my rights.
Censorship! ----We no longer have SW radio [which told us everything that was happening] because the Government jammed it out of existence - we don't have any reporters, and no one is allowed to photograph anything. If we had reporters here, they would have an absolute field day. Even the pro-Government 'Herald' has written that people are shocked, stunned, bewildered and blown mindless by the wanton destruction of many folks' homes, which are supposed to be 'illegal' but for which a huge percentage actually do have licenses/leases/title deeds.
Please! - do have some compassion and HELP by sending out the articles and personal reports (like this e-mail) so that something can/may be done.
'I am one. I cannot do everything, ---but I can do something... And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do."
This person came to me through a dear friend in South Africa who is working to stop the sexual trafficking in Africa. It is written by a doctor who risks his life everyday to stay. The question I have for readers is a difficult one. How do we begin to change human behavior around the globe to convince our leaders to STOP and help in Zimbabwe? How do we motivate people to get out on the streets and shout out that NOWHERE in the world is this okay.
I don't know. I am out of answers.