Michael Ross: Robert Mugabe named ‘international tourism ambassador’ in latest UN absurdity (NATIONAL POST COMMENT) 05/29/12)
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For cognitive dissonance, see under: The United Nations. It’s no
longer just a platform for countries with less-than-negligible human
rights records to bash Israel and other democratic nations, or the
dispatcher of envoys like Kofi Annan to Syria (under whose watch some
800,000 Rwandans were slaughtered) or the patronizing professional
busy-body Olivier De Schutter, a Belgian “UN special rapporteur on
the right to food,” to lecture Canada. The UN is now an expert on
tourism to Africa and deciding who is best suited to promote it.
The UN just announced that its favourite African megalomaniac, Robert
Mugabe, and his Zambian sidekick, Michael Sata, have been appointed
United Nations international tourism ambassadors in recognition of
the promotion and development of tourism. The UN through the United
Nations World Tourism Organisation will officially confer the status
to the two presidents at a function to be held in Victoria Falls this
week and officiated by the UNWTO secretary general Mr Talib Rifai.
The honour comes even though the European Union and U.S. have imposed
travel bans on Mugabe and many of his senior government officials due
to widespread human rights abuses.
Much attention has been paid to the plight of Zimbabwe’s terrorized
mostly Anglo farmers whose fields were seized under President
Mugabe’s ill-conceived and disastrous land appropriation program. But
the abject ruination the Mugabe regime has wrought on the small
landlocked country has affected all of its citizens regardless of
race or tribal affiliation. Mugabe’s fight to convert white-minority-
ruled Rhodesia into the modern African state of Zimbabwe was once
considered a noble cause but under his despotic rule, Zimbabwe’s
decline has been absolute and has effectively turned this relatively
wealthy functioning model of black-white co-existence into an
impoverished country that now has one of the lowest life expectancy
rates and one of the worst HIV/AIDS infection rates in the world.
Some 3,500 people die per week in Zimbabwe due to HIV/AIDS alone. Tag
on the random muggings, violence, and property crime in a country
with an unemployment rate hovering at around 80 per cent, and what
remains of Zimbabwe’s populace is very beleaguered. One of the best
measurements for determining that a country has in fact hit rock
bottom is the appearance of cholera. When a state can no longer
separate its potable water from raw sewage, then any sense of concern
for the general welfare of the citizenry by the government is non-
existent. Over several visits I made to Zimbabwe some years ago, I
watched the economy and quality of life deteriorate before my very
eyes. The country once touted as the bread-basket of Africa and a
showcase of interracial harmony and prosperity has become a living
hell on earth.
So the question that needs to be asked of the bureaucrats enjoying
the tax-free scenery from the UN’s headquarters on Turtle Bay, is how
does a destroyer of nations like Mugabe become a tourism ambassador?
I just hope the tourists read the fine print when they book their
next trip to Zimbabwe. I also wonder if they know that the country
has now been listed as “very high” with respect to major infectious
diseases like HIV/AIDS, bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis
A, typhoid fever, malaria, schistosomiasis, and rabies just to name
but a few?
Suddenly, Mexico isn’t looking so bad after all. (© 2012 National
Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc. 05/29/12)
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