Christopher Hitchens on the butcher. His reign of terror will soon be over, we all hope.
If you want a catalog of those sins, turn to Godwin’s books. But don’t read them just for outrage at the terrible offence to humanity. They also describe a new sort of Zimbabwean, emancipated from racial and tribal feeling by a long common struggle against a man who doesn’t scruple to employ racial and tribal demagoguery. In those old days of arguing with the white settlers, one became used to their endless jeering refrain: “Majority rule will mean one man, one vote — one time!” They couldn’t have been more wrong. Since gaining independence three decades ago, the Zimbabwean people have braved every kind of intimidation and repression to go on registering their votes. They have made dogged use of the courts and the press, which continue to function in a partial way, to uphold pluralism and dissent. Mugabe has lost important votes in Parliament and — last time — his electoral majority in the country at large. Only the undisguised use of force and the wholesale use of corruption have kept his party in office. One day, the civic resistance to this, which was often looked-down upon by people considering themselves revolutionary, will earn the esteem and recognition it deserves.