Holy Shit: We’re Just Like Zimbabwe!
Even though Zimbabwe has one of the awesomest names for a country,* it’s not a place I would want to live. Setting aside the hyper-inflation, brewing civil war, and rapacious land policies, a prime reason I would not want to live there is because I suspect the judicial system is probably, as they say in Zimbabwean, “f-ed up.”
Well after reading an article on cnn.com today, I realize I've been too judgmental about our Mugabe-loving friends. It turns out their judicial system is just like ours!
HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- The lawyer for a top Zimbabwean human rights activist said Friday that law has "absolutely broken down" in the country after a court in Harare ruled against her client.
The judge ruled Friday that the government should not be forced to disclose which state agents kidnapped and allegedly tortured activist Jestina Mukoko last month…
"In effect, the High Court of Zimbabwe has said that if you are unlawfully kidnapped by state security agents, the court cannot look into the legality of that if some government minister invokes state security as a reason for not disclosing the abductions, where they took place and who did them," Mtetwa said.
If this sounds at all familiar, consider the following:
From the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights website:
Dec. 9 - A federal appeals court in New York will hear arguments today in the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who was detained on a layover at JFK International Airport in 2002. The U.S. government accused him of being an al-Qaida member and sent him to Syria for interrogation.
No charges were ever filed against Arar. The lawsuit he is now pursuing charges that the U.S. government violated his right to due process, as well as his right to choose a country of removal other than one in which he might be tortured. A version of his lawsuit has already been thrown out by a U.S. court.
Huh. So this kind of begs the “chicken or egg” question: are we basing our judicial system on Zimbabwe’s or is Zimbabwe basing their system on ours?
[There was also a Jake Gyllenhaal movie with spooky similarities to the Maher Arar case. Was the US acting in the interests of national security when it kidnapped Arar or, and this is a much more ominous possibility, acting in the interests of Jake Gyllenhaal?]
Personally, I hate it when our country’s courts and Zimbabwean courts overlap in any appreciable way, except in the case of witchcraft, the banning of which the Zimbabwean courts finally repealed in 2006. Americans have been free to practice witchcraft for years now, although just trying sacrificing a virgin on your lawn, as I did, and see where that gets you! (Of course, when I say “sacrifice” here I’m being euphemistic, and I’m pretty sure she was being euphemistic too when using the word “virgin.”)
Anyway, now that I am reassured that I will receive the same kind of judicial treatment in Zimbabwe that I can expect here in the US, I am hereby booking my long-dreamed-of Zimbabwean vacation. Yes, I am going to spend two pleasure-filled weeks in Harare with nothing but my loved ones and several wheelbarrows filled with worthless Zimbabwean currency.
(This is what I will tip my taxi driver.)
*Other cool country names include:
Oman (just because you can say it like, “Oh, man!”)