Ahmadinejad's new friend: African dictator Robert Mugabe
May 3, 2010
By EMERSON VERMAAT
Guess who arrived in Zimbabwe on Thursday 22 April to be welcomed heartily by African dictator Robert Mugabe? It was the equally controversial Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Two notorious dictators who follow Hitler's example for the German Nazi leader said back in 1933: ‘We are in power and we plan to remain in power no matter what happens.'
Not only did Ahmadinejad invite neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers to a Holocaust deniers conference in Tehran in December 2005, also is he on very close terms with Latin American Marxists and Castro admirers such as Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega. And Mugabe, by the way, happens to be a Marxist, too. He led a Marxist-inspired guerrilla war in the 1970s and is still cooperating closely with North Korean communist hard-liners.
When Robert Mugabe was still a guerrilla leader in the 1970s he quickly became the darling of liberal theologians and clergymen from the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the National Council of Churches in the United States (NCC). The WCC's US $ 85,000 grant to the so-called ‘Patriotic Front' in 1978 caused a major row. The ‘Patriotic Front' was a temporary coalition of two Marxist-inspired parties: the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU), led by Joshua Nkomo and the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) led by Robert Mugabe. In fact, both Mugabe and Nkomo were rivals for power.
After he became prime minister of Zimbabwe in 1980, Mugabe managed to get rid of his former ally Nkomo by removing him from the Cabinet two years later. Assisted by the North Korean trained ‘Fifth Brigade' Mugabe began a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Nkomo's home province of Matabeleland where any opposition to Mugabe's rule was brutally crushed. Nkomo fled the country. The ruthless Fifth Brigade was created in October 1980, six months after independence when Mugabe signed an agreement with North Korea. Hundreds of North Korean military advisors arrived. The Fifth Brigade was responsible for 20,000 deaths. Mugabe did not hesitate to halt all food deliveries to the more than 400,000 strong Matabeleland population.
In his excellent study on ‘The State of Africa', Martin Meredith quotes an officer from Mugabe's ‘Fifth Brigade' who explained the ‘food policy' at a meeting of local Ndebele (a local tribe) in 1984: ‘First, you will eat your chickens, then your goats, then your cattle, then your donkeys. Then you will eat your children and finally you will eat the dissidents.' ‘Many villagers were reduced to eating insects and grass seeds trying to stay alive,' Martin Meredith writes. ‘Untold numbers died.' When local clerygymen protested, Mugabe simply said: ‘Priests should stay out of politics.'
Liberal theologians' support for Mugabe
How did the liberal theologians and clergymen from the WCC and the NCC respond to the crisis in Zimbabwe? They did not say a thing. They still seemed to regard Mugabe as their friend, a man whose ‘pragmatism' they even praised.
I know this from my own obervations during all WCC Central Committee and General Assembly meetings between 1982 and 1987. (See my 1989 Freedom House study on ‘The World Council of Churches and Politics.') Not even one statement was issued by the WCC criticizing Mugabe for blatant human rights violations. It had not yet dawned upon the enlightened WCC ‘liberation theologians' that African leaders themselves can also easily resort to outright hate, racism and violence, persecuting not only whites but also members of black minority tribes or even whole peoples.
Internalized racism among black Africans would lead to genocide in Rwanda – with the WCC and other liberal Christian bodies being silent once again. In the second half of the 1970s, the WCC never ever condemned the Cambodian genocide with WCC general Secretary Dr. Philip Potter, a politically naive Jamaican Methodist minister, refusing to blame the communist Khmer Rouge. With their ‘elitist radicalism' many so-called ‘liberation theologians' espoused Marxist totalitarianism, refusing to criticize blatant human rights violations in countries ruled by communists and focussing on Western ‘capitalism,' ‘neo-colonialism' and ‘imperialism' and other Western evils instead. It is what Oxford historian Dr. Edward Norman once correctly referred to as ‘the imperialism of political religion.' And they are the kind of people who allied with Mugabe and his ilk.
In December 1987, Nkomo and Mugabe signed a unity accord. It was Nkomo who basically capitulated to Mugabe's wishes, consenting to the absortion of his ZAPU-party into Mugabe's ZANU-party. From now on Zimbabwe was a one-party state with Mugabe as president and Nkomo (until his death in 1999) as a weak and powerless vice-president. One-party rule is what a Marxist like Mugabe favored from the very beginning.
Mugabe's totalitarian and racist ‘resettlement program'
By then, however, Mugabe had not yet ruined Zimbabwe. When the country became independent in 1980, the state of the economy did indeed matter to him. The country was a fairly prosperous one, Zimbabwe was even exporting food. Two decades later, however, Mugabe introduced a resettlement program listing thousands of farms for expropriation. Most of these farms were run by white farmers who were the best agricultural experts in the whole of Africa. In a speech laden with crude, racist rhetoric, Mugabe denounced white landowners as ‘white devils,' vowing to take all they owned. These ‘white devils' were then forced to abandon their farms which were subsequently occupied by so-called ‘veterans', party officials and other Mugabe cronies. These people weren't familiar at all with agriculture or cultivating land.
It was not surprising that Mugabe's silly ‘Africanization' policies resulted in mass starvation, hyper inflation and economic ruin. By mid-2007 inflation was over 15,000 percent, the Reserve Bank needed to double the amount of money in circulation every month, unemployment was 80 percent and average life expectancy for women was 34 and for men it was 37. One in five adults was HIV positive.
Meanwhile, Mugabe and his cronies are indulging in luxury. (The money spent on the president's extravagant birth day parties alone would be sufficient to feed fifty thousand poor people.) Living conditions for the bulk of the population have steadily deteriorated since July 2007.
Life for Zimbabweans nowadays is so bad, that most people were better off during Ian Smith's white minority rule. Indeed, many of the unpopular practices of the Smith regime, including ‘emergency powers' and the detention of political opponents continued after independence.
Mugabe: an ally of communist North Korea and the Islamo-Fascist Iranian regime
Ties between Zimbabwe and the equally repressive North Korean regime have strengthened in recent years. In May 2009, North Korea's No. 2 leader, Kim Yong-nam, visited Zimbabwe's capital of Harare. This visit followed the discovery of uranium in northern Zimbabwe.
Other African leaders never raised their voice in protest of Mugabe's policies, many of them also being corrrupt and incapable of properly running a state. African tribalism, cronyism, witchcraft and crime abound instead.
In 2008, the battered oppositional ‘Movement for Democratic Change' (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai agreed to share power with Mugabe. Early 2009, Tsvangirai became a powerless prime minister, Mugabe continues to be Zimbabwe's president.
Tsvangirai and his party severely criticized Mugabe for welcoming Ahmadinejad to Harare. Tsvangirai's MDC condemned the visit as ‘a colossal political scandal' and ‘an insult to the peace-loving people of Zimbabwe and Iran.' Inviting Ahmadinejad to an investment forum is ‘like inviting a mosquito to cure malaria.'
During a state dinner, Mugabe addressed the Iranian Islamo-Fascist dictator Ahmadinejad as ‘comrade president.' (The term ‘comrade' is a Marxist term used by communists to refer to a fellow-communist, Stalin, for example, often used it.) Mugabe then told his Iranian ‘comrade': ‘Be also assured of Zimbabwe's continuous support of Iran's just cause on the nuclear issue.' (Mugabe wants Iranian oil in exchange for recently discovered uranium deposits in northern Zimbabwe.)
Ahmadinejad in turn condemned ‘all satanic pressures on the government and people of Zimbabwe.' He did not realize it, of course, but in doing so he simply echoed Nazi Party ideologist Alfred Rosenberg who once rebuked the Jews for their ‘satanic' influence.
‘We believe victory is ours,' Ahmadinejad assured his new Marxist friend Mugabe. ‘Our enemies will be humiliated and defeated.' After Ahmadinejad's visit Mugabe hosted North Korea's soccer team in the run-up to the World Cup.
After a visit to North Korea in the early 1980s Mugabe decided to copy the North Korean model as much possible. He was also a strong admirer of the Cambodian ‘Khmer Rouge' communist mass murderer Pol Pot and the Romanian communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. He deeply deplored Ceausescu's execution by firing squad in December 1989.
History teaches us many things. One of the lessons of history is that all too often evil minds do find common cause.
Emerson Vermaat is an investigative reporter in the Netherlands. He is the author of ‘The World Council of Churches and Politics' (New York: Freedom House 1989). Website: emersonvermaat.com.
Adolf Hitler, TDM/IMG Media Company Eraf Documentary, 2008 (DVD). (‘We will remain in power...')
Martin Meredith, The State of Africa. A History of Fifty Years of Independence (New York/London: Free Press, 2006), p. 620-625 (‘Fifth Brigade'), p. 641 (‘white devils').
Edward Norman, Christianity and the World Order (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979), p. 16 (‘The élitist radicalism of the World Council of Churches'), p. 43-56 (‘The imperialism of political religion').
The Sunday Times, July 1, 2007, p. 24, 25 (‘Teachers sell sex to buy food as Mugabe cronies get richer').
The Europa World Year Book 1990, Vol. II (London: Europa Publications Limited, 1990), p. 3017 (‘Many of the unpopular practices of the Smith regime, including "emergency powers" and the detention of political prisoners, continued after independence.')
Yahoo!news, April 25, 2010 (‘After Ahmadinejad visit, Zimbabwe now set to host North Korea World Cup team').
The Guardian (London), April 22, 2010 (‘Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives in Zimbabwe to meet new friend Robert Mugabe').
The Guardian/The Observer (London), April 25, 2010 (‘Zimbabwe: Splits over Ahmadinejad visit show difficulties of power sharing').
Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), April 23, 2010 (‘Ahmadinejad condemns "satanic pressures" on Iran and Zimbabwe').
Claus-Ekkehard Bärsch, Die politische Religion des Nationalsozialismus (Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1998), p. 267 (Alfred Rosenberg: ‘Die jüdische Einstellung zur Welt ist satanisch.')