Tuesday, June 24, 2008

John Simpson's Strange View of Mugabe

What on earth is John Simpson on? Danny Finkelstein diagnoses a case of foot-in-mouth disease HERE. The BBC's World Affairs Editor seems to have taken leave of his senses in his analysis of what is going on in Zimbabwe.


Dick the Prick said...

Yeah I heard that last night and thought it strange but the lad's been hiding for the last 6 weeks with the threat of being shot and can only pop out at night. Something like cabin fever - one would assume that his contact with the outside world bears no relation with what he's seeing, hearing and feeling. The lad's a trooper and he must be doing his bit for house rebuilding with all the bricks he's making.

David Lindsay said...

It would not be possible to invade Zimbabwe except via at least one neighbouring country, and large numbers of Mugabe's very numerous tribesmen and clansmen would in any case fight to the death against any such invasion. For that is what it would be: an invasion. Who has invited us in?

So instead, the Movement for Democratic Change and all other concerned Zimbabweans should issue an appeal to all their fellow-subjects of "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Zimbabwe and of her other Realms and Territories", to aid them in overthrowing the usurpatious tyrant, Robert Mugabe. Is it conceivable that we would not then go to their aid?

Her Majesty would not have to do anything. That is the point: this would come from within Zimbabwe, and would place moral and political obligations on governments and people in 16 sovereign states (only four of them predominantly, and none entirely, white), and in numerous other territories besides, not only in these islands, but also in the Americas and in the Pacific.

So not only would this rescue the basket case of Africa and make it once more the bread basket, but it would also constitute a formal tie between Africa and her diaspora in the Caribbean. God Save The African Queen!

Blackacre said...

Sad to say, John Simpson's personal self regard gets in the way of his great skill as a reporter, such that he always now imposes his personality on a story. He now contrasts badly with the likes of Orla Guerin, in the same way that Evan Davis shows how old fashioned John Humphrys is on the Today Programme.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he has a cold as well and sniffed glue instead of albas oil?

You know how flu can affect people -look at you you're reading Cherie Blurt's book which caused you to hallucinate, go mad and sneeze stupid.

Send a copy to mugabe, oh then again I think he may have read it..

Richard Nabavi said...

It's not just John Simpson and the BBC. What about this, by David Blair in the Telegraph yesterday?

"By handing victory to President Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai has sealed his reputation for vacillation, weakness and disastrous judgment.

Even by the standards of Zimbabwe's opposition leader, this was an astounding u-turn. Only last week, Mr Tsvangirai said boycotting the election would be a "betrayal of the victims" of the wave of political violence.

Now, after his followers have endured eight years of torment at Mr Mugabe's hands, Mr Tsvangirai has chosen to capitulate a mere five days before the final round of a vital election in which he was the leading candidate.


So it's all Morgan Tsvangirai's fault, it seems.

Whilst I've little idea whether Mr. Tsvangirai would make a good leader, or could have played his limited cards better, let us be quite clear about where the blame and outrage should be directed: Mugabe and ZanuPF. Murder, rape, beatings, burnings; the whole world should be appalled.

It is so tragic - I visited Zimbabwe a number of times in the late eighties/early nineties, and it truly is a wonderful country, with huge resources. At the time, as far as I could tell as a visitor, both blacks and whites were making a genuine attempt to put the past behind them, and rebuild the country together. But Mugabe eventually put an end to that.

Anonymous said...

Is Simpson still in Zimbabwe? He was in Harare last night, may have something to do with that.

Anonymous said...

Simpson is spot-on. Instead of liberal "humanitarian interventionist" fantasy, he has given us cold, realistic analysis. Tsvangirai may well be weak, but he has not been helped by his increasing reliance on external do-gooders, which only strengthens Mugabe. Brown, the UN, even Mbeki, cannot save Zimbabwe. Only the people of Zimbabwe can do that.

Anonymous said...


While Mugabes thugs can terrorise women and children they would not be able to put up much of a fight against a western army how ever many boat loads of guns the Chinese send them.

Anonymous said...


While Mugabes thugs can terrorise women and children they would not be able to put up much of a fight against a western army how ever many boat loads of guns the Chinese send them.

David said...

Let us not forget that Simpson is (a) the guy who liberated Kabul on his own and (b) once said that WE (the BBC) have to educate the masses. Keeps forgetting to be impartial that bloke! Doesn't he claim to be a paddy nowadays to pay less tax?

Simpson comes on. TV goes off. Easy.

David Lindsay said...

Anonymous 5:48, Mugabe's Zezuru clan alone (never mind the entire Shona people) is one million strong, and has had control of the armed forces ever since 2004, when the much more numerous Karanga were purged from their senior posts.

The Pashtun of Afghanistan and the Sunni Arabs of Iraq seem to be putting up a perfectly good fight. But the former, at least, certainly didn't and don't have resources like that at their disposal.

If the MDC invites us in as I suggested, then let's go in. But not otherwise. Have we learned nothing from the last six years?

Anonymous said...

David Lindsay said...
... Zimbabweans should issue an appeal to all their fellow-subjects of "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Zimbabwe and of her other Realms and Territories"

She is no longer Queen of Zimbabwe. It became a republic in 1980.

Anonymous said...

But Iain, if John Simpson was so wide of the mark, and Robert Mugabe was close to defeat, would you really be having to do so much work yourself to bring the attention of the masses to the 'big businesses' that are trading with Zimbabwe and making BIG BUCKS from it ?

The painful truth is that we are stuck with Mugabe, and if we are waiting for Gordon Brown to sort him out, we could be whistling in the wind for a long time yet...

Colin said...

Never forget, Mugabe, as well as being a ruthless despot, happens to be one of those "darlings of the left" so adored by the labour regime and its various henchmen and supporters.

Torture and murder of political opponents?
Torture and murder of homosexuals?
Election fraud?
Gross economic negligence?
Theft of property?

Ordinarily, all v. bad, but apparently all ok if perpetrated by a "darling of the left".

The moral ambiguity / bankruptcy of our government on this issue is a scandal. The spectacle of muppets like straw, harman, milliband and others tying themselves in knots over this tragedy is one of the most depressing episodes in modern politics.

Anonymous said...

Like most people here, I think that Mugabe is evil and should be removed from office.

However, I don't see what you object to in John Simpson's report.

Simpson is simply reporting the reality of the situation in Zimbabwe. Mugabe has a firm grip on power and has outmanoeuvred his opponents.

Rightous indignation and wishful thinking on your part will not change that.

Anonymous said...

Colin said...
"The moral ambiguity / bankruptcy of our government on this issue is a scandal."

Where is the 'moral ambiguity / bankruptcy'? Brown and Miliband have condemned Mugabe.

What do you want them to do? Invade Zimbabwe?

I am not aware of any comments at all from Flashman on the Zimbabwe issue.

Daniel said...

Simpson's view seems accurate to me: Mugabe is a disaster, and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

With previous attempts at "democratic regime change" still killing British servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, only a squinty half-wit would suggest that now is the time to launch a ground war in Zimbabwe (step forward Paddy Ashdown - why don't you lay down your life first, set an example for the plebs, eh?) Plus there's the fact that for the sake of moral consistency we would also need to start bombing democracy into a dozen other countries, including China, who massacred and tortured a load of students the last time anyone dared to ask for democracy.

Colin said...

The time for miliband, brown et al to condemn mugabe was 4 years ago.

Scipio said...

A strange article from a usually well respected journalist.

neil craig said...

"I've little idea whether Mr. Tsvangirai would make a good leader"

Me neither & perhaps before we go setting the world to rights, again, & expecting the locals to welcome us, again, we might consider listening to somebody who has been there.

The media & politicians always report everything foreign in terms of goodies & baddies. I doubt if Mugabe is as bad as now painted. He certainly isn't as good as he was painted when we gave him his knighthood.

I doubt if we are doing any good - certainly nothing is more likely to keep him hanging on than threats to put him before the ICC - the reason Caesar crossed his Rubicon was because he thought the senate would bring him to trial.

David Lindsay said...

What a dazzling intellect Anonymous 6:53 PM has.