The metaphor of “reaping the fruits” is both ironic and a mere figure of speech, of course. The literal truth is there are no fruits to reap. The metaphorical fruit that Zimbabwe is reaping is mass starvation.
Zimbabwe faces starvation mainly because the Mugabe regime is confiscating the land of the white farmers who once fed not only their own country but also most of Africa. Hundreds of white farmers have had their lands stolen by mobs of black thugs instigated by the government.
Often the stolen land winds up in the hands of Mr. Mugabe’s cronies; even more often, it ceases to produce any food at all as soon as the white owners who knew how to run the farms are kicked out (if they’re lucky; not a few have simply been slaughtered, as have many of their black workers).
State Department African Affairs official Mark Bellamy says that food shortages in Zimbabwe in the next six months could leave as many as five million people facing starvation. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization warns that more than 94 percent of Zimbabwean farmers lack the cereal seeds to plant crops for the next growing season. There’s virtually no domestically produced food now, and there’s little prospect of any in the near future either.
As for foreign food, private relief organizations say Mr. Mugabe directs food into the hands of his own supporters, while opposition leaders note that “Food has been politicized, [Tribal ] chiefs have been politicized. All the food distribution system is in the hands of [government party ] officials.”
But never fear. The U.S. government has a plan to save Zimbabwe from the consequences of its own folly. As the Washington Timesreported this week,
“The United States is considering delivering aid directly to millions of starving Zimbabweans in defiance of President Robert Mugabe”,
according to State Department officials. ["U.S. eyes end run around Mugabe", By David R. Sands, Washington Times, November 2, 2002]
That may sound swell to some people, but in fact it’s merely a covert aid program to bail the African dictator out of the famine his own policies have created.
The Bush administration cannot even pretend to like the Mugabe regime, since it has bludgeoned not only whites but also any black opponents who might pop up. Mr. Mugabe’s tame legislature has passed laws curtailing press freedom, political opposition and rights of assembly, even as the government also stole the land and engineered murderous mobs to enforce its will. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner in the State Department told the Times that the United States refuses to recognize Mr. Mugabe as the “democratically legitimate leader of his country” because of the obvious fakery of the last election.
And because the administration can’t pretend to approve of the Mugabe tyranny, it can’t give aid to it in the normal, open way. It therefore has to give the aid covertly and indirectly.
But the result will be the same, regardless of how the aid is given.
The result will be the preservation of the Mugabe regime from the natural consequences of the economic and human destruction its own policies have spawned .
“There is a remedy in human nature against tyranny,” Samuel Johnson said, “that will keep us safe under every form of government.”
The remedy Dr. Johnson had in mind was assassination, revolution, coup d’etat, etc.—but for the natural remedy to be applied, the disease of tyranny has to be present.
By contriving to sneak food to the people and circumvent the Mugabe government, the administration would be relieving the misery that alone can brew the “remedy” of which Dr. Johnson spoke.
Why would anyone wish to revolt in Zimbabwe when tyranny is no threat to the full dinner table?
Mr. Bellamy of the State Department even went so far as to say that Mr. Mugabe is “holding his people hostage the way Saddam Hussein is holding his people hostage.” Then why didn’t the government arrest Mr. Mugabe when he showed up at the United Nations in New York in September to defend his genocidal policies?
The Bush administration is not serious about getting rid of the Mugabe regime, no matter how criminal it is. It didn’t utter a peep when Mr. Mugabe showed up in New York, and it’s barely uttered a peep about his policies for the last few years.
And if it were serious, instead of thinking up ways to correct the results of his misrule and helping his escape its natural consequences, it would be doing everything possible to help the people of Zimbabwe, white and black, give their leader a strong dose of the natural remedy that all tyrants eventually have to swallow.