Mohamed Elmasry‘s astonishing defence of Robert Mugabe, which appeared in yesterday’s Montreal Gazette, somehow escaped our notice until today. It’s difficult to summarize without spoiling its inherent, terrible beauty. But basically, while Elmasry concedes a certain “clumsiness” in the Zimbabwean president’s approach to redressing “100 years of social injustice in his country,” his position is that in reality Mugabe is “no worse than many leaders in the developing world,” and that his people are purely the victims of Western sanctions born of sour, racist grapes.
Mugabe was trying to implement a land reform [in the 1980s]; to redistribute the land of about 5,000 white farmers to his country’s poor black people. And that is a great sin. So he was and still is in the West called a dictator, an arrogant, aging autocrat who has run the economy into the ground, fanned racial hatred and abused his power to suppress political foes, the courts and media, etc. etc.
Western media seldom report that Mugabe was and still is popular especially in the rural areas; his land reform has won him support among his own people.
As for that horribly dodgy runoff election, which was so roundly condemned by colonialist oppressor nations like Canada, the United States and Britain… and, er, Tanzania, Botswana, Liberia and Rwanda? Well—and this is definitely our favourite part—at least Mugabe’s on the side of Zimbabweans.
Mugabe decided to hold a run-off election last month. But [Morgan] Tsvangirai pulled out and sought refuge in the Dutch embassy, which to some observers is a proof that he is a stooge of Western powers.