It is quite the fashion to mock the Stalinist dictator of North Korea, Mr. Kim Jong-il. We all got a chuckle out of that fun little movie TEAM AMERICA, where 'ole wooden head Kim, gets his. But Mr. Kim got the last laugh didn't he? He took the covers off his Nukes, and word around the campfire is that another underground nuclear test is in the offing. No, I'll let you have Mr. North Korea. My favorite dictatorship is that itchy little pesthole now called Zimbabwe. I prefer to get my kicks laughing at Robert Mugabe, President for Life, and his kleptocracy. This is a guy who was given the keys to the car, and who promptly drove it off the nearest cliff. He took a prosperous Rhodesia, a former colony of Britain, and dismembered it record time. You've heard of Stalinism and Maoism. How come you haven't heard of Mugabeism? It's another bastardized form of socialism, with uniquely African characteristics. Maybe the silence is because Orwell is dead.
As soon as Mugabe took power he drove most of the white Africans out. They are all now enjoying new lives in a dozen countries, including Canada. There were a number of diehards, third and fourth generation whites rooted in the land they loved. Two decades of terror pretty well finished them off. And now Robert and his people are alone with their misery. If ever there was a "nation" which deserved its fate, it�s the Zimbabweans. They got their revenge and now that revenge is eating them to the bone. Of course the world places all the blame on Robert and his Imelda-clone wife. That's too simplistic. There are thousands of hard core bad-asses keeping Mugabe in power. When he dies of old age, they will not disappear. Not a chance.
Last year the Amnesty International chapter in Malaysia published a fun set of stamps - a sort of "Let's Lick the Dictators" campaign. The four dictatorships they chose to skewer were Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Iran, and the United States of America. (No comment) Of course Amnesty International is not in the business of promoting regime change. Its members don't like war. A.I. just wants to help the political prisoners in Zimbabwe who have been unjustly detained and tortured by the secret police; thugs trained to efficiency by Chinese and North Korean cadres. That aside, the deadliest problem facing Zimbabweans is hyper-inflation. It is now so bad that the money is worthless. Teachers, doctors, nurses, garbage collectors and even policemen don't want to report for work. Recently the government put military units into farms, so that they could grow food to feed their families. Still Zimbabweans fail to revolt. Their only recourse is to try to slip into South Africa, and beg a job.
In keeping with our theme of stamping out Mugabe, consider this. One year ago, on January 17, 2006, Zimbabwe issued a set of six postage stamps celebrating favorite African dishes. To keep up with hyperinflation, the denominations were (in Z$): $25,000; $35,000; $50,000; $150,000; $250,000 and $300,000. The delicious irony is that Mugabe's people can't afford to buy those stamps, any more than they can the "favorite dishes" depicted.
What should you get for Z$52,000 ... the stamp or the elephant?
One year later and things are much, much worse. We cannot see the latest higher denomination postage stamps because the Zimbabwe mail system has broken down. The Central Statistical Office (CSO) reported last week that inflation in the country has risen to well over 30% PER MONTH !! You have all seen photos of 1920s Weimar Germany, when people used stacks of worthless banknotes just to buy a loaf of bread. In Zimbabwe it is now worse, but Mugabe doesn't let journalists document the lineups. It's hilarious, isn't it? And did you hear the joke about the new Chinese fighter planes Mugabe has purchased? How about the big contract he just signed with the Pakistan government for PAK mercenaries, to keep his warplanes in the air? Too, too, funny. Mugabe cracks me up.
UPDATE- February 13. This is just too hilarious! ZIMPOST, the Zimbabwe postal authority, is running contest rules for the design of a stamp. There are six categories, each of which will make you a millionaire. First prize is:
"$20 million Cash plus Trophy & Certificate & World Vision T-shirt (Plus a full year's subscription of 1 complete set mint/cancelled and one first day cover.)" A total of 67.5 million Zimbabwe dollars will be shared by six prize winners! Their money is worth less than the wheelbarrows needed to lug it away. At least you can wear the T-shirt donated to Zimbabwe by World Vision. Among the new "services" offered by Zimpost are the stuffing of envelopes with bills, selling insurance, funeral arrangements and taking in dry cleaning.