Yesterday we revisited our old pal Robert Mugabe, the brutal Zimbabwean dictator, and learned about a remarkable accolade, the Confucius Peace Prize, that was founded in China in 2010 as an affronted response to the selection of jailed dissident poet Liu Xiaobo for the Nobel Peace Prize, and that was awarded to Mugabe this October. Earlier, as we noted, it had been presented to that other great man of peace, Vladimir Putin.
And who won it last year? Why, none other than Fidel Castro, that’s who.
The jury’s statement explained that Fidel, as president of Cuba, “never used any violence or force when faced with problems and conflicts in international relations, especially in Cuba’s relationship with the United States.” True, Castro didn’t invade the U.S.; neither, for some unfathomable reason, did any of his equally formidable Caribbean neighbors, such as Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Dominica. It’s not that Fidel couldn’t have conquered the U.S., of course; he was just so busy oppressing his people, executing dissidents, and torturing gay people that he never quite got around to it.
So what about Mugabe? What did the Chinese have to say about their reasons for paying tribute to him? Their citation praised him for “working tirelessly to build the political and economic stability of his country, bringing peace to the people of Zimbabwe, strongly supporting pan-Africanism and African independence, and making unparalleled contributions for the renaissance of African civilisation.” Coincidentally, Mugabe’s victory was announced on the same day that he gave his instantly famous speech at the United Nations in which he ringingly affirmed that he and his Zimbabwean compatriots “are not gays.”
Qiao Wei, identified in the New York Times as “a poet and the president of the judging committee of the peace prize,” told that newspaper that “Mugabe is the founding leader of Zimbabwe and has been trying to stabilize the country’s political and economic order ever since the country was first founded. He brought benefit to the people of Zimbabwe.”
Not everybody in Zimbabwe agreed. In an irate article, Gorden Moyo, secretary general of the People’s Democratic Party of Zimbabwe, said that his party was “disgusted” by the accolade. “Mugabe as we know him…is a war-monger, a bellicosist [sic] and a sadist who delights in the misery of the people,” wrote Moyo, who added that the 1980s, which the committee had described as Mugabe’s best years,
were actually the worst years in the history of Zimbabwe. It was that “lost decade” which saw Mugabe presiding over ethnic cleansing which left over 20 000 innocent lives of Ndebele speaking people-women and children from Matabeleland and Midlands provinces losing their precious lives…..Homesteads were torched down, property destroyed, schools shut, and opposition leaders and supporters hunted down like wild animals by Mugabe’s private army….In fact the rule of Mugabe is paved with blood, violence, arson and cruelty….If the Organisers of the Prize have any iota of moral rectitude,then they should hang their heads in shame for rewarding murderers who masquerade as peace makers.
In short, “the Confucius Peace Prize…is an insult to the people of Zimbabwe.” We agree, of course – though we know Charles Barron doesn’t, and we’re not too sure about Bill de Blasio.