Sunday, May 28, 2006

Cross Posted at Global Voices

Zimbabwe: The first anniversary of Zimbabwe's notorious "cleanup" operation, Operation Murambatsvina passed recently. There was a marked reticence among Zimbabwean bloggers towards organized commerations. Accoustic Motorbike explains her reasons;
Marking the “one year” anniversary of this destruction ignores the fact that Murambatsvina is on going. It’s become a verb, a noun, and a state of being for both the people and the government of Zimbabwe. In the past four weeks alone, Murambatsvina-style evictions have been carried out in cities like Masvingo and Ruwa. Operation Round Up has seen police in Harare “sweep up” over 10,000 homeless people and dump them on a farm outside Harare.

...The government isn’t pursuing any long-term development or assistance project here. But sadly, by not integrating an element of resistance and defiance into the “commemorations,” civil society also will not move towards the long term programme it needs to see genuine democratic change in Zimbabwe. It seems like Zimbabweans are more and more trapped in our own victimhood. We say that things will change when the old man dies. Or that God is watching, and won’t let our suffering continue forever. But there is not the spirit of defiance that is essential if things like collective non violent action are ever to succeed here. As a friend of mine said the other day, “we’re missing the belief that we deserve better. And that we have the right to demand it.”
Over at This is Zimbabwe, the commemoration events were cast acts of defiance in themselves. This post, replete with pictures, honors those who did take a moment to remember the Murambatsvina's hapless victims and explains that the few people that did turn out for the march did so in the face assured police action;
Church leaders in Zimbabwe’s second city, Bulawayo, achieved a remarkable victory today in keeping to their original plan to stage a peaceful protest march and hold public prayers, despite the most severe intimidation from Mugabe’s security forces. Many similar events planned by churches and civic groups in other parts of the country to commemorate the anniversary of the regime’s infamous Operation Murambatsvina were either called off or postponed in the face of massive police intimidation. But the steely resolve of the pastors leading an informal group called Churches in Bulawayo, and the courage of several hundred church members who turned out in support enabled the Bulawayo protest to go ahead notwithstanding.
Zimpundit, at Enough is Enough expresses reservations about commemorating Murambatsvina now,
We’re still reeling from the problem of Murambatsvina, you still hear reports of police inadvertently raiding markets, and we still have the same brute leadership. We’re trying to work on this here problem, we haven’t given up yet. We’re not quite ready to even think of giving up yet.

In sense, there’s still too much pain everywhere for us to take time to mourn right now.
The Bearded Man has several news roundups and a couple of podcasts to update you on the latest headlines out of Zimbabwe.

Burundi: Agathon Rwasa cites a report which details how Tutsi activist were arrested for arranging commeration of their brethren massacred by the Buranda government.

He also blogs about the arrest of Térence Nahimana, a former parliamentarian turned activist who was incarcerated after questioning why the government had not started peace negotions with the FNL.
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