Tuesday, March 25, 2008

On The Zimbabwe Vote

What motivates a man to grasp a country by the throat and make its GDP their personal pocket change? This is a question that The Corsair has asked himself for years, with increasing melancholy. Our theory -- put forward in African Dictator Chic -- is that a broken, impoverished childhood, one that, alas, is all too common in Africa, rewards a certain type of rapaciousness that when left unchecked, blooms at twilight into the dark flower that is the Dictatorial Personality Disorder.

But what about the shame? Can a human being, after wrestling in the oils of political power for over 20 years by sheer brutality, ever sleep? Do not the crimes ever catch up with the man -- and they are always of that gender -- in the House of Sleep? We have always been of the belief that Paranoia, the chief characteristic of the Dictatorial Personality, is the metastasization of their own murdered shame. And, of course, since the dictator has made -- unnaturally -- their nation an outgrowth, an extention of their own persona, that country becomes as disordered and despotic as their leader.

Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus, one of the wisest political dramas ever, tied together the destruction of a city-state and how it is tied to the fate of their leader, Oedipus of the House of Laius. Can anyone presently watching the unfolding events in Zimbabwe not make that powerful and tragic connection?

In Oedipus Tyrannus, Thebes is rocked by plague; in Mugabe's drama, Zimbabwe is rocked by AIDS. And hyper-inflation. Sophocles brilliantly symbolized the unnaturalness of a dictatorship by commingling Oedipus' thumoeideutic passions with the crime of incest. Mugabe's unnatural and unlawful lusts and excesses are, once again, up for debate in an all but staged election. From The New York Times:

"Voters will go to the polls Saturday, with President Robert Mugabe, the iconic leader of a nation enduring catastrophic hardship, trying to retain the power he has held for 28 years. Here in Harare, there is the usual speculation about the political winds. In what provinces is the president’s party strong? Where is it weak? But the more frequent conjecture involves the mechanics of an outcome that is presumed to be rigged.

"'Even if Mugabe only gets one vote, the tabulated results are in the box and he has won,' said Andrew Moyse, who coordinates a project that monitors coverage in the Zimbabwe news media."

Would that someone had the wit or will to remove Mugabe's sickness from the Zimbabwean theater.

No comments: