Thursday, March 09, 2006

Mencken's Democratic Ideal

Baltimore newspaperman H.L. Mencken once wrote that democracy was the political theory that the common man knew what he wanted, and deserved to get it....Good and hard.

Which is how it played out in Rhodesia:

Zimbabwe is down to its last few days of wheat supplies and many bakeries have little or no bread.

Even more alarmingly the crisis engulfing President Robert Mugabe's regime has seen maize meal, the country's staple food, all but disappearing from supermarkets and what is available sells on the black market at up to four times the controlled price.

Maize is now only available on the black market as crops fail
"I can't afford bread any longer," said Rejoice Makore, 54, a self-employed handyman in central Harare. "Only Jesus can help us now. I am hungry all the time."

His business is faltering as fuel, only available at black market prices, is now so expensive he cannot afford to travel to customers.

"Under (Ian) Smith, we had meat every day for just a few cents. I haven't eaten meat for so long I can't remember the last time," he said.

"Yes, I supported Mugabe then. But not now as we are starving."

The former Rhodesian prime minister, Ian Smith, was soundly defeated at the first non-racial elections in 1980 by Mr Mugabe's Zanu PF, a result that heralded a new beginning for the country.

.... Zimbabwe's latest wheat crop, harvested late last year, was less than a quarter its normal size following Mr Mugabe's seizure over the past six years of 90 per cent of white-owned commercial farms.

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