Too much was made of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe's trip-and-fall. I have seen hundreds of articles, blogs and memes focused on Mugabe - an old man - taking a stumble down some stairs. Why not focus on something a bit more shocking and relevant...like what's happening for his 91st birthday celebration?
This year, as in years past, the tyrannical Mugabe will shower himself with praise and luxury. There will be an elaborate and lavish affair in his honor.
The price tag for his birthday party has been announced to be $1 million. And if that weren't offensive enough on its own, his cronies are demanding that ordinary Zimbabweans foot the bill. Yes, the people of Zimbabwe, with per capita income at $600 (making it the 2nd poorest in the world) are expected to donate the funds out of their own pockets to pay for his festivities. Everyone is expected to pitch in.
The head of the teachers union recently acknowledged that schoolteachers are being forced to contribute $10 to Mugabe's party fund. Imagine what $10 means to someone in a place where the majority of people are surviving on 35 cents a day.
Unemployment numbers in Zimbabwe are through the roof and poverty is rampant. And these dire conditions are of the birthday boy's own making.
Though initially seen as something of a hero for his declared plans for racial reconciliation and equality when he first came to power in 1980, Mugabe quickly demolished those hopes, becoming a sadistic and divisive dictator. Hopes for justice and democracy are a distant memory for Zimbabweans.
His actions and policies have isolated Zimbabwe from most of the international community and have run the country's economy straight into the ground. Mugabe's violent seizure of farms owned by whites has resulted in long-term food shortages and hyper-inflation. And his routine election stealing has caused Western powers to impose harsh sanctions.
His country is devastatingly impoverished. His people are hungry and living in squalor.
But, fear not, there won't be a hint of all that nonsense at his birthday bash.
The February 28th party will be held at a luxurious and exclusive resort. No expense or indulgence will be spared. Among other obscene extravagances, elephants, buffaloes, sables and lions are to be slaughtered and served to guests - despite outcries from wildlife conservationists.
I only hope that, in the face of a starving Zimbabwean population being expected to bankroll the party, the media will cover Mugabe's shameful birthday plans with as much zeal as they did his recent stair stumble. This sure does seem more newsworthy to me.