Archive for June, 2009
Blood Diamonds in Zimbabwe says new Human Rights Watch report. I wrote about the field months ago. http://www.douglasrogers.org/blog/?p=52
Human Rights Watch have released a report about atrocities at the Marange diamond field in eastern Zimbabwe. I wrote about was happening there in the Saturday Telegraph Magazine three months ago.
Zimbabwe’s great diamond rush brutally suppressed by Robert Mugabe’s regime
When diamonds were found in a field near his parents’ farm in Zimbabwe, Douglas Rogers watched as everyone from goat-herders to government officials piled in to line their pockets. As the boom turned to tragedy, he followed the fortunes of a dealer called Fatso.
On a bright morning in September 2007, a seven-ton truck pulled up at my parents’ game farm and backpacker lodge in a remote valley in the eastern mountains of Zimbabwe. Piled high on the back of the truck were crates upon crates of a precious substance that had run out in the country in mid-2007 and that a desperate, depressed population needed more than ever: beer.
Real money used for campaign for The Zimbabwean newspaper. J’burg agency wins a Cannes prize. http://www.douglasrogers.org/blog/?p=33
The agency came up with the only good use beyond toilet paper for Zimbabwe’s worthless currency: it turned the money itself into advertising.
Huge billboards comprised entirely of Zimbabwe dollar notes, including the Z$100, 000,000,000, 000 (yes that’s 100 Trillion) sprung up across South Africa stamped with the words: THANKS TO MUGABE THIS MONEY IS WALLPAPER.
Bricks of notes with the words “Fight the Regime” printed on them were given out to motorists at traffic stops, and mailed to industrialists, celebrities, and media personalities. Soon the newspaper, barley known outside Zimbabwe’s exile community, was getting two million hits a day on its site. With a minimal budget to work with, the Trillion Dollar Campaign turned out to be one of the cheapest and most powerful political and media ad campaigns in history.
As for the newspaper, it’s published weekly in Britain and Johannesburg and staffed by journalists who have been hounded out of Zimbabwe the past ten years. Its editor, veteran journalist Wilf Mbanga, was publisher of the independent Daily News in Harare, which was petrol-bombed by state security agents in 2000, and later forced to close.
On a personal note, I appeared with Wilf on the National Public Radio show The Connection on the day of the 2005 parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe. Of the many prophetic things I recall him saying that day, one comment really stood: “It’s not the elections in Zimbabwe that are violent,” he warned, “it’s the aftermath. When no-one is watching this regime will mete out punishment.”
Of course he was right. It happened in 2005, and even more ferociously in 2008.
Do check out his fine newspaper.
Sorry light posts recenlty. Up and running on full steam now.
Southern Africa to be precise. Lured by the promise of easy living and a deep porch, we’ve decided to look below the Mason-Dixon for a new home.
I’m keen to go deep – Georgia or Louisiana. She rolls her Yankee eyes and says somewhere in-between. So we’re in now North Carolina for a week, seeing “the other country” . Right now we’re at the Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill. My wife won’t exactly say it, but she expected Deliverance. It’s more Gone with the Wind. Fancy south. Smells good too. Lilies, pine, tobacco earth. We’re heading down for tea and blue-grass music now. I might have a Julep. I’m all for the cliches. There’s a big wedding party arriving. I reckon a Confederate general might walk in.