WHY? I don't get it. Does any country have the courage to confront President Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Of course South Africa's Thabo Mbeki is not on that short list. WHO IS? Why does the world watch in slow motion as Zimbabweans are threatened, beaten and tortured back into submission. One silent unified scream of human despair; watched by a voyeuristic planet. What in the world is the planet waiting for?
On Mother's day, I heard of another 14 people killed in a squatters camps in Zimbabwe. These are the areas where people are huddled with little food, no shelter and sporadic items like plastic to shield them from the elements. Many of these people wait in fear for any signs of approaching "Youth Militia". You might have heard about these groups from articles in the Congo or from the movie "Blood Diamond" and they do exist. In Zimbabwe these are child soldiers who move across the country in packs to terrorize people. They are Mugabe's version of mobsters who terrorize for money and the laughs. The power is an added aphrodisiac. They are children, at one time innocent-turned desperate-turned despicable.
It seems Mugabe takes pleasure from torturing the most vulnerable: women and children. According to the "Urgent Appeal for Solidarity by Zimbabwean women" the situation has gotten so out of hand that 5 million Zimbabweans, mostly needed professionals and the young have left the country. There is an estimated 3 million in South Africa with half being illegal immigrants who face inhuman deportations daily. Cross border traders risk rape or death from the crocodile infested Limpopo River.
Access to the rural areas has always been a big challenge for humanitarian organizations but now women in these areas are being held hostage by the youth militia. Women NGO's are on government hit lists that seek to arrest, detain and destroy those operations. Most women in rural areas constitute women abandoned by husbands after being raped, and dumped there because of HIV from those rapes.
Where is the United Nations? Where is the International Red Cross? Why are these people left to struggle on their own? I struggle with the information that is being sent to me by email. Daily emails from people on the ground who have been tortured-or worse from families of those who did not survive torture.
According to Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human rights, ZADHR, the following has continued to happen:
• A dramatic increase in violence since the beginning of May
• Violence on such a large scale that is impossible to document the number of victims.
• The violence ranges from head injuries, severe soft tissue damage particularly sensitive areas of the body, and beating up pregnant women. One young breast-feeding Mother had bilateral fractures of both hands. She was unable to hold her baby to feed it.
• Many of the victims, especially in the rural areas, are not even being treated, as they have no access to health centers or they are being denied treatment as health centre staff has been intimidated with specific state instructions to not treat victims of violence.
• Health workers are close to exhausted, with dwindling supplies and their own emotional trauma from government threats.
• The current pattern of organized violence and torture being perpetrated by the state agents is similar to prior to the 2002 elections. "However, the current violence is dramatically more intensive and unprecedented and the vicious and cowardly attacks buy so called war veterans on women, children and the elderly shames the memory of all true heroes of the liberation struggle"
• Much of the violence has been aimed directly against the opposition party or anyone in districts that voted predominantly for the opposition.
The country of Zimbabwe needs our help. Here is what you can do:
Contact the High Commission for Human rights, the address is:
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
The High Commissioner is: Louise Arbour
Try this email address: InfoDesk@ohchr.org
Just send off a quick email to tell them YOU want the United Nations to intervene.
On the United States side: contact the United Nations in New York at 1-212- 963-8302. Ask for Secretary General Ban Ki Moon offices-tell them to intervene and help in Zimbabwe.
Also visit their web-site at: http://www.un.org/
CALL THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS.
Whom to Contact
Select the contact person for your country-email them. Call them. Tell them Zimbabwe needs international help-NOW!
There is a global phone campaign that gives you local Zimbabwe government phone numbers. All over the globe people are calling in and jamming the phone lines. When they do get through, the callers have been saying the following: "Pack your bags and leave." I am not going to give you these numbers here, as I am afraid that the action is increasing the desperation of the current regime, which translates into more violence.
• We are a planet of people that need each other. Zimbabwe NGO's and women's groups have exhausted all channels. They need the international community to help them get medication, safe shelter, counseling and support.
• Zimbabwean need the SADC and the UN to put in place a security and protection plan for women and girls to help demilitarize the youth militia and to have them stop torturing ordinary citizens.
• Bring cases on crimes against humanity to the UN Security Council. We need to start punishing the perpetrators.
Many natural disasters that occur around the globe are not preventable. What is happening in Zimbabwe...is preventable-with your help. Take a minute to do something, ONE thing to help another human being. Maybe if we all do one thing, it can change the outcome for this incredible country.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. "
Be that individual.
Special thanks to ZADHR and Women in Zimbabwe for their information and facts that I used liberally in this article. Keep them coming.