Monday, June 23, 2008

Mugabe Government in Zimbabwe Illegitimate

Word today that Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition in Zimbabwe, has taken refuge in the Dutch Embassy in the capital of Harare introduces a new stage in the struggle to restore democratic government in the African nation next to South Africa.

The Dutch and other Western nations, including the U.S. and Britain, are now obliged to safeguard Tsvangirai and grant refuge to other members of the opposition who are being victimized by the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe.

After calling a runoff election for the 27th of this month on the very possibly spurious grounds that Tsvangirai did not win a majority of the first votes cast, Mugabe has now vowed that, regardless of the results of the runoff election, he will not allow himself to be deposed. Instead, he has sent military, police and simple thugs associated with the government to arrest, beat and even sometimes murder members of the opposition. At least 85 deaths have been reported, as well as thousands of injuries and the arrest of the chief strategist of Tsvangirai's party, the Movement for Democratic Change, on bogus treason charges.

Just the day before going to the Dutch Embassy, Tsvangirai had withdrawn from the runoff election, declaring that attacks against his followers made it unsafe for them to go to the polls.

Members of the British and American embassy staffs seeking to check on the government actions have been forcibly detained as well for brief periods.

Mugabe, 84, has emerged as the head of a criminal cabal that has wrecked the Zimbabwean economy and sent thousands of refugees fleeing into South Africa, where some have been subject to attack there by xenophobic mobs.

It is clear now that Mugabe and his minions should be removed and new elections called under international supervision to install a government desired by the people of Zimbabwe. It would be most proper for South Africa to undertake to do this, subject to a possible call by the UN Security Council. Western nations should give all necessary aid, if called upon. So far, the South African government has given far too much comfort and support to Mugabe, although in April South African courts ordered a Chinese shipment of arms to Magabe halted at the South African port of Durban.

The world should not stand by when such thuggery as taking place in Zimbabwe occurs. It is now obvious that the government should be taken down and a new one elected.

As is becoming depressingly common, the L.A. Times Web site was not reporting on its main page this afternoon the important developments in Zimbabwe. The Web site is following the yokels in Chicago and the L.A. Times editor, the Tulare twerp, in downplaying foreign news.

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Kevin Roderick continues his excellent job of reporting what can only be termed a crisis at the L.A. Times and other Tribune newspapers. Today, he reports that the Times' great local columnist, Steve Lopez, was highly critical of Sam Zell, the Tribune Co., owner, at a Press Club dinner in Los Angeles last week.

Also, Roderick runs a long, stupid memo on the Orlando Sentinel "redesign" from Lee Abrams, a Tribune executive who has the title of Innovation Editor. It is clear from this that Abrams has little idea of what pleases most readers of newspapers. The one piece of good news, however, is that other Tribune papers will not necessarily be forced to follow the Orlando design.

Meanwhile, the New York Times' media writer, Richard Perez-Pena, has a report in the NYT Business section today that 2008 is shaping up as the worst year ever for ad revenues at newspapers. He says declines of 12% or more compared to last year threaten the survival of some newspapers and the solvency of their companies. Declines in ad revenue ran to 15% in the month of May. No figures are given for Tribune, which has in the past reported among the worst record of declines in business, a situation which has only intensified under Zell.

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