Shame on Mbeki and southern Africa

Dear Mr Editor,

I was born in Zimbabwe, and now live in South Africa. Although I value the shelter and sustenance that South Africa has given me, my home country will always be Zimbabwe, and the Zimbabwean people my people.

I have watched the years of President Mbeki’s silent diplomacy’ pass, while the Zimbabwean situation has deteriorated to crisis point. I have tried to remain hopeful, but the continuing silence from the Southern African leaders leaves me (and, I’m sure, all Zimbabweans) both frustrated and close to despair.
Where is the freedom and democracy that the countries of Southern Africa fought for so hard, and with so much blood shed? We seem to have deteriorated to a continent of victims cowed by the few greedy and rapacious rulers that have clawed their way to the top and, in order to stay there, will trample any possible opposition into submission.
I do not blame the Zimbabwean people. They are peace-loving and patient, and have endured years of intimidation, deprivation and suffering. I don’t know if I would have the courage to defy injustice and brutality, with families at stake, in the way the Zimbabwean opposition has. I admire and respect them for what they have achieved.
However, I DO blame the rest of the southern African states. After all the struggles for freedom, all the bloodshed and suffering, they are now sitting back while the people of Zimbabwe are pleading for assistance. Why can’t the southern African nations come out in support of their brothers and sisters? We all seem to be waiting for the political leaders to speak wise words. Heaven help us if we wait on the silent diplomacy’ of the last years!
I pray every day for Zimbabwe and the people there. I feel shame for the leaders of Southern Africa, that they have not had the courage to stand for the human dignity and justice that is needed at this time of crisis in Zimbabwe.

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