Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"Today's patriot is tomorrow's terrorist"

The Globe reports that UMass and Beacon Hill are tripping over each other in a rush to revoke the honorary degree given to Robert Mugabe in 1986. UMass President Jack Wilson yesterday recommended that the degree be rescinded.

Said State Rep Kevin J. Murphy:

"I'm thrilled that president Wilson has lent his support to calls for revoking President Mugabe's degree," he said. "The University of Massachusetts has always prided itself on being a forward-thinking member of the global community, and it is an honor to support Zimbabwe's people in any way we can."

All the corpses Mugabe has made since 1986 would thank you for your courageous support, Kevie-boy.

Trustee James J. Karam said that he supports stripping the degree and that universities should be cautious in awarding honorary degrees to international politicians. "Many times, today's patriot is tomorrow's terrorist," he said.

Or perhaps today’s facts are yesterday’s smears from conservative attack machines.

And as happens so often, the Globe story’s last paragraph is reserved for the mention of contrarian allegations:

But some observers say that Mugabe was guilty of human rights abuses throughout his time in power and that in 1986 he had a history of violence against his people.

Indeed! I'm truly shocked! How dare some observers say such a thing? To find out, let’s pull something out of the vast memory hole, shall we?

Below is a story from July 1985 (BPL card required) that was published in a then-reputable Boston newspaper, 10 months before Robert Mugabe was honored by UMass.

The Boston Globe
Jul 7, 1985

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Prime Minister Robert Mugabe, more powerful than ever after a landslide election victory, vowed yesterday to create a one-party state in the next five years, and threatened tough action against minority whites and black opposition leaders who stood in his way.

He said that whites "who have not accepted the reality of a political order in which the Africans set the pace have to leave the country."

Mugabe told a news conference hours after election results were announced that he would not feel bound by the British-drafted constitution, which protects the rights of minority political parties in this former colony until 1990.

He accused black opposition parties of "organizing counterrevolutionary activities" and warned they would "have no one to blame but themselves when the hand of law and order exercises itself over them."

Mugabe said his winning 63 of 79 National Assembly seats contested during last week's elections, the first general elections since independence in 1980, was a mandate to "unite our people under one political umbrella."

"This is a mandate for us to unite our people." he said. "We believe in the inexorable law of unity. You must be united or else you stand divided and perish."

He said he would not be swayed from his goal of a single-party state by unfavorable reaction from the international community, which has given millions of dollars of aid to his government.

"The Western world . . . can go hang. The Western world can say what it wants," he said. "As long as we believe we are right, we will do what we have to do in the interests of our people."

Mugabe, whose major rival, Joshua Nkomo, made a sweep of 15 seats in troubled Matabeleland province, dividing the nation on tribal lines, was angered by whites who voted for conservative Ian Smith in separate elections on June 27 .

Smith won 15 of 20 seats that are reserved for whites until 1987 under the constitution drawn up at a peace conference in London in 1979. He was the last white prime minister of the country when it was called Rhodesia, a breakaway British colony.

Who could have imagined from reading this cheery report in 1985 that Mugabe would turn out to be an unworthy dictator rather than an African Messiah? Give him an honorary UMass degree! He hates Apartheid, doesn't he? That means that he’s on the right side of the most important issue. How bad could he be? Besides, he’s a member of a minority group!


Chris said...

This probably means that we ought to check a little more carefully what Obama means by 'Hope' and 'Change.' What does he hope for and what does he want to change? And will I be gunned down in my home if those two things don't go his way?

flymorgue2 said...

Great effort to push the way-back machine handle all the way! Handing out degrees to African proto-dictators was a common 1980s political act by academics to slap Republicans who were not properly pressuring for South African divestment. Funnily, the big, bad white Afrikaners handed over the keys peacefully. Can we have a truth and reconciliation committee to look into the whys and wherefores fo Mugabe's honorific?

Ibrahimblogs said...

Our perspectives towards hope and change can so often be different. It is thought-provoking.

Keep blogging!!

This is Ibrahim from Israeli Uncensored News