Friday, 4 April 2008


The futue of Zimbabwe hangs in the balance. It’s increasingly clear that, despite, tampering, Robert Mugabe has failed to win a decisive victory in the elections. A feeling of ‘end game’ is in the air.
Reports today are many and varied. Some say he’s started strong arm tactics against the opposition, others that he will demand a run-off election, whilst others say he’s refusing to go if he faces prosecution.

This is the dangerous one.

Indeed, I’ve heard the odd ‘liberal’ politician already demanding his appearance at The Hague for crimes against humanity. And whilst I’d love to see him face justice, this is stupid.
Dictators, when they go, should always be immune to prosecution, and allowed to live out their lives in exile. I say this because the fear of prosecution is a guarantee that they’ll hang on longer than necessary when staring defeat in the face.
The liberal idea of prosecution is a principle I so wish could happen. But it is a principle that could well cost tens of thousands of needless deaths. Is this a price worth paying for a comfy, liberal peace of mind?

© Anthony North, April 2008


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the teach said...

You very well may have a point there, Anthony! But could you explain how the idea of prosecuting dictators for crimes against humanity is a liberal idea. I'm an American, probably liberal means something else in Britain...:)

anthonynorth said...

Hi The Teach,
Yes, I think this may be a cultural difference. Over here, we have conservative, liberal and, though they don't like to admit it any more, socialist, all in mainstream politics.
Liberals, here, are centrist rather than one end of the political spectrum. And being centrist, and usually divorced from real power, they tend to deal in concept rather than hard pragmatism.