Every time I read some story about Zimbabwe’s “president for life” Robert Mugabe, I can’t help but think of that crazy and angry old man that shoots Nino Brown at the end of that classic neo-Blaxploitation flick New Jack City: “Idolater! Your Soul is Required in Hell!!!” (4:43 mark). In this case the guy isn’t inherently crazy – he’s just been driven crazy by the circumstances around him …. and eventually he just snaps.
Mugabe is a brutal dictator who also has “crazy old man” beliefs. Take for example earlier this week when he said U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement that U.K. foreign aid should be denied to nations that prohibit homosexuality was “Satanic”. You see what I’m talking about?
Like most crazy old men, Mugabe is trapped in a past where his type of inflexible beliefs, actions and behavior were a necessary part of survival. Mugabe fought and killed like crazy for most of his life to free Zimbabwe from White minority rule similar to South Africa’s apartheid. He’s been an outspoken critic of the continued neo-colonialist economic policies of the United States and England in Africa and has butted heads with world leaders for his beliefs. While his actions are questionable, it’s those old beliefs that make sense, and he should be – at the very least – credited for expressing them. At the same time his party’s systematic rape and abuse of women in political opposition to his one-time belief that AIDS was created by the CIA to destroy all Africans, fused with his recent attack on gay human rights as “stupid” and “satanic” are the negative aspects of his 87-year old crazy old man beliefs.
Like the old man in the movie, he’s been driven crazy by fighting his old battles mixed in with the changing beliefs that those battles were fought for. Which is sad, but still not a justification for his actions.
It’s not like the U.K.’s human rights history is stellar, anyway, so Cameron is only going to say so much in respect to Mugabe. However, one has to hope that eventually, by bullet or ballot box the people of Zimbabwe can move on from this kind of backwards leadership and join the 21st century. Only time will tell.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.