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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Things You Should Know

The Zimbabwean elections were held two months ago today.

MDC won control of the parliament away from Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF for the first time since Mugabe took power in 1980. This is remarkable but potentially meaningless unless MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai can win the upcoming presidential runoff on June 27th because the Zimbabwean constitution gives the President has the power to dissolve the legislature.

Tsvangirai has returned to Zimbabwe after nearly two months traveling the world to rouse the United Nations and other international players to force Mugabe to honor the results of the original election (or at least the next one). He hasn't been in country due to the considerable danger he faces in returning.

During that time, dozens of MDC supporters have been killed and hundreds have been brutally beaten. The unrest in Zimbabwe has forced more refugees from the country and into South Africa; there are an estimated 3 million Zimbabweans in South Africa who have fled there over the last several years of economic collapse in their homeland. This influx has contributed to the massive xenophobic violence that has rocked South Africa in the last week and is revealing South African President Thabo Mbeki as the worthless "leader" that he is.

Recently, former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam was sentenced to death in absentia for genocide in that country. I mention this because he is living under Mugabe's protection in Zimbabwe without fear of extradition. MDC has said that he will be extradited if Tsvangirai wins the election.

Oh, and China is backing Mugabe with weapons.

I could go on, but why am I rehashing all of this?

Because this election in this small country has had ripples beyond its borders. It has affected Zimbabwe's next-door neighbors, more distant African countries, the UN, and even one of the world's rising powers.

This is why I started this blog.

This is one of those "Things You Should Know".

We, in America, are not alone in the world. What we do affects other countries and what they do affects us.

Pay attention. [SA Pictures]

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