The prime minister of Zimbabwe Morgan Tsvangirai was making the rounds a few weeks ago seeking aid and financial support for his beleaguered country. The problem was no one he wanted to help brought their pens to sign any checks. The specter of Mugabe hung over the entire affair and reduced the Prime Minster and former opposition leader to pleading. My heart broke for him, but how can the world respond when Mugabe had single-handedly turned the country into nightmare of biblical proportions.
Since his reign life expectancy has gone from 60 to 37 for males and 70 to 34 for females. Torture, political suppression and imprisonment have become status quo. Due to fiscal mismanagement the country’s inflation rate is hovering at 150,000%. Once the breadbasket of the region they now feed the majority of their population with UN and NGO supplies. Some things are going up though:
- HIV is rampant
- Cholera is rampant
- Starvation is rampant
- Orphans are the fastest growing segment of the population
- Unemployment is at 90%
Things are getting better? The BBC reported that the situation in the city and rural areas is out of hand. Girls as young as 12-years-old are selling themselves for food. One child of fourteen said:
"I don't want to do that but life is so difficult, so very difficult. Both my parents are dead and I rarely see my two sisters. Recently I stood by the river and I thought about throwing myself in but I didn't. I don't know why."
There is also evidence that many girls are being targeted by child traffickers. South Africa is holding the World Cup in 2010 and young girls are being solicited to work as prostitutes during next year's football World Cup finals. Many have simply disappeared from their villages. In school one day and gone the next.
Save The Children is trying to address the issue within both countries. But I don’t have much hope. Prostitution is already rampant in South Africa. It has been estimated that between 28,000 to 30,000 of South Africa’s prostitutes are under the age of 18. Also, about half the child prostitutes are between 10 and 14 years of age and the other half between 15 and 18. Read more at Doctors For Life.
The tidal wave of children from Zimbabwe is making the situation beyond desperate and the need of sex workers for the upcoming world cup has prompted some the traffickers to begin using young boys between the ages of 8 to 10 dressed as girls. Some villagers in Zimbabwe have said that regional officials have been going through the villages identifying the orphans and it is those children that seem to disappear.
To me, it doesn’t matter who is orchestrating this. I’m sure there is some involvement between the local people and the sex traffickers. I can barely bring my lips to form the name Mugabe and without fail the thought causes me to abandon my Buddhist principles and start humming the Bruce Cockburn tune if “I had a rocket launcher.” Good luck Mr Tsvangirai. Let's hope you and your supporters can change the country around. If you want more than minimal handouts and food aid you have got to get rid of that ass. I’ll continue to donate to the food relief effort but perhaps I can interest you in the slightly used rocket launcher?
Camile Ryerson is our new contributing writer. She'll post a weekly column on Wednesdays sharing her views on politics, world affairs, pop culture and of course, what she's reading. Her favorite genre is sci-fi.amile Ryerson is our new contributing writer. She'll post a weekly column on Wednesdays sharing her views on politics, world affairs, pop culture and of course, what she's reading. Her favorite genre is sci-fi.