Everyone knows I’m an armchair radical but I can also be an armchair activist. Besides being involved with Getup, which focuses on lobbying the government on policy issues, I’ve also been tinkering with Avaaz. Now don’t panic, I’m not going to preach - just raise a little awareness. It's painless and costs nothing but a 'click'. My friend Absolute Vanilla in South Africa has a Zimbabwean housekeeper, her child and her parents are at the coal face. She doesn't know what's happening there because she's in SA trying to eek a living. Australia is embracing white Zimabwean farmers deposed by this vicious regime and the world stands by:
Avaaz.org is a new global web movement with a simple democratic mission: to close the gap between the world we have, and the world most people everywhere want. I like the idea that global citizens can support and effect change via the internet. How successful this type of action might be, I can only guess.
Last week, a Chinese ship, the An Yue Jiang, carrying 77 tonnes of Zimbabwe-bound weapons and ammunition docked in Durban, South Africa--but, refusing to aid Mugabe's crackdown, the dockworkers would not unload it. Unions, churches, and legal groups throughout Southern Africa quickly mobilized; the ship was forced to leave the harbour, and other ports in the region are vowing to block the weapons as well.
Even as the Zimbabwe crisis worsens, an extraordinary solidarity movement has taken hold across Southern Africa. As ports refuse to unload it’s deadly cargo. Now, as pressure builds, China is publicly wavering--and might decide to bring the arms home.
Three weeks has passed since general elections in Zimbabwe. Official results have still not been released. Fear of reprisals by the opposing parties have led to reports of a "human wave" of refugees fleeing to South Africa and other neighbouring countries. Mogabe continues to tell the world that this is a racial conflict and that this is at the root of the problem, my friend tells me otherwise: "The irony of the Zimbabwean genocide is that although he's (Mogabe) tried to make it racially motivated - trying to pit the Shona against the Ndebele - there is in fact no tribal division between the two peoples."
As the grassroots outcry has grown, political officials have begun to press their case. Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa urged other African leaders not to allow the weapons to reach Zimbabwe. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and former UNSG Kofi Annan have called for democracy. And more and more other leaders in Africa and worldwide are joining in. The Chinese arms ship is now sailing up the Western coast of Africa looking for somewhere to unload. It’s a good time for a strong global outcry with China in the news in relation to the Olympics and keen to promote it’s friendly image.
The crisis in Zimbabwe has many layers, and raises issues that range from the legacy of colonialism to the uncontrolled international arms trade. I won’t even attempt to understand them all, just suffice to say the country has gone down the toilet and the human cost is enormous. The people of Zimbabwe took their stand in the voting booth. The dockworkers of South Africa took their stand at the harbour. Now, even if we can only offer a click, it is time to do our part as well.
There is more sobering information here but it is not for the feinthearted!
but it is not for the feinthearted!
Oh and a more local cause for the week: Getup are asking everyone to purchase this for $1.69 . . In the spirit of our recent apology, proceeds will go to the Getup Reconciliation Fund which will assist the following charity organisations:
- Link Up - assisting Indigenous people who have been fostered, adopted or raised in institutions to find their way home.
- Mums and Bubs Program in Townsville (Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Service QLD)
- Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME).
Here’s the song:
Get up are hoping to history, and take their message of hope to an audience of millions by encouraging Australians to buy the song for a mere $1.67 and push it up the charts, thereby fostering awareness. Ok granted it's a pretty woeful song song but it's heart's in the right place!