Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Through A Glass But Darkly

Definition of fascism: political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation, and often race, above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. Prime Minister Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, supported by the likes of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, has described President George W. Bush of the United States and Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain as such. It is sad to see that proper history education is an international issue, not just a national one. The liberal media of the United States had earlier voiced the same opinion of President Bush, beating out both Mugabe and Chavez by a length in their ignorance. Unfortunately, the current cry of fascism comes from the leaders of these two countries. One only has to look at history to imagine what the average citizen of Zimbabwe, not to mention Venezuela, have come to believe, brainwashed by their leaders through propaganda and deception – two tactics found extremely useful by Adolph Hitler, the most infamous of fascists, in duping the German citizenry.

Of course, Zimbabwe should be praised as the great pillar of democracy and humanitarianism in the international community. Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia, gained independence from Great Britain in 1980 after years of oppression and conflict. However, Mugabe has dominated Zimbabwean politics for decades, serving as the country's only leader since independence. Even more revealing, he manipulated the most recent elections – despite international condemnation – to ensure his continued reign of power, as his security forces brutally repressed any opposition. If that does not sound like fascism à la Hitler, someone needs to read a Webster's dictionary.

As far as economic matters, Zimbabwe's failure to meet budgetary goals has increased inflation tenfold while poor choices have siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy. The government's land reform program alone – characterized by chaos and violence – badly damaged the commercial farming sector, the traditional source of exports and foreign exchange. The fiscal mismanagement of the Zimbabwean government, not foreign economic oppression from the likes of the "fascist" United States and Great Britain, has hampered the country's economy. Incidentally, the European Union and the United States provide substantial economic aid packages designed to stimulate the country's economy so that Zimbabwe can be less dependent on foreign assistance.

In matters of humanitarianism, Zimbabwe is among the worst. Under his leadership, the Mugabe government has destroyed homes, destroyed the means of earning a living, and destroyed valuable food staples in a country already threatened with famine. Reported by several independent investigations, millions of people have faced starvation as a direct result of Mugabe's policy of denying food to those that oppose him while enriching his own supporters. Naturally, the state-owned media consistently accuses aid groups of being tools of the "imperialist, colonialist West," as the government confiscates and diverts for its own use the aid packages the groups bring into the country. All while Zimbabweans starve to death. Not surprising, since Mugabe is the same man who massacred thousands à la Pol Pot of Cambodia to insure his legitimacy when he first came to power.

In their criticisms and accusations, leaders like Mugabe and Chavez, as well as all others who share their views, have shown their true colors. It would be advisable, however, that they look in the mirror before making such statements. Just like the many other tyrannical dictators who saw themselves as the "voice of the people," they just might find themselves on the wrong side of history.

©2005 Steve Sagarra