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Photo mosaic for union rights in Zimbabwe

June 20th, 2008

Among the many groups being persecuted by the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe are trade unionists. Here, via Eric Lee at Labourstart is one small way to help them in their struggle. From the UK TUC

Take action now to support Zimbabwean trade unionists on trial – We need your photo now!

On Monday 23 June, just days before the Presidential run-off election, Lovemore Matombo and Wellington Chibebe, President and General Secretary of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) will be in court to face charges of ‘spreading falsehoods prejudicial to the state’ – or rather, telling the truth about violence in Zimbabwe. As part of their bail conditions they have been banned from addressing political or public gatherings for almost the whole election campaign. These charges and bail conditions are clear breaches of free speech and freedom to associate.

We are urging people everywhere to protest at attempts to silence these men, and at the state-sponsored violence and intimidation which has intensified since the first round of elections in March.

If Lovemore and Wellington aren’t able to address a public gathering themselves, you can help them to with this campaign action, but you’ll need to hurry.

We are making a giant photo mosaic of Lovemore and Wellington, using pictures of hundreds of their supporters from around the world – and we want to use your photo as one tiny part of it. We’ll get this printed on a large banner as a focus for the London demonstration on 23 June, and will make the image available to other international demonstrations and to the media.

This is a last minute campaign, so we need to get your photos in immediately.

Update The last minute has passed, unfortunately. I got an email in reply saying “Thanks for your email, however we’ve had now to stop accepting new photos in order for us to prepare the mosaic. There are still things you can do to help…

Contact the Minister of Justice in Zimbabwe, asking for the charges to be dropped. Visit http://www.actsa.org/page-1370-Action_for_democracy_in_Zimbabwe.html for more information on how to do this.”

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  1. Jill Rush
    June 21st, 2008 at 02:22 | #1

    The lack of any kind of political will in the region or from the United Nations is a tragedy.

    The people who continue to work to win an election in this atmosphere are to be admired.

    The Trade Union movement seems to be the only organisation which is doing something.

    The United Nations has declared that rape is a weapon of war and yet women are being killed in Zimbabwe for being married to opposition members.

  2. June 21st, 2008 at 14:23 | #2

    Isn’t it rather condescending to refer to Matombo and Chibebe by their first names, unless you know them that well personally?

  3. jquiggin
    June 21st, 2008 at 19:06 | #3

    As ought to be clear, this is a direct paste of what was posted by the campaign. If your snark was directed at the campaigners, of whom you know nothing, it was extremely presumptuous. If it was directed at me, it displayed a lack of comprehension. Either way, an apology is in order.

  4. Jill Rush
    June 21st, 2008 at 20:07 | #4

    PM Lawrence – when people are losing their life to try and have a democratic election I doubt that Trade Unionists who have been imprisoned are going to care whether people working for them address them by their title or their first name. No doubt they are being called vile names by their jailers.

    The main point is that freedom to elect a leader is being comprehensively destroyed and trade unionists are being persecuted.

  5. Lord Sir Alexander “Dolly” Downer
    June 22nd, 2008 at 17:26 | #5

    John, don’t be hard on PML. It is almost 7 months since November 24, and while generally he is coping well, and recovering, taking one day at a time, I have it on good authority that on some days he relapses and the “black dog” returns.

    This explains his behaviour. Please excuse him.

  6. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    June 23rd, 2008 at 07:02 | #6

    Symbolically a mosaic such as this is a very neat idea.

    On a separate note you might want to consider something that the libertarian crowd has debated for a while. Would and/or should Australia prosecute Australian citizens that go to Zimbabwe for the purposes of over throwing the Mugabe government through violent means. And how should our government make clear which governments around the world we may in our private capacity work to over throw with immunity. Or are all such actions destined to be a David Hicks moment. In short should some governments be declared outlaws.

  7. rog
    June 23rd, 2008 at 19:30 | #7

    Lets stay with the petty details, JG says “As ought to be clear, this is a direct paste of what was posted by the campaign.”

    But it was not clear, there were no ” marks” or html quote things.

    On the bigger picture, Mugabe would not exist without the support of the african nations bloc in particular South Africa.

  8. Ian Gould
    June 23rd, 2008 at 21:55 | #8

    “On the bigger picture, Mugabe would not exist without the support of the african nations bloc in particular South Africa.”

    Yes, the Tanzanian ouster of Idi Amin from Uganda (and the ECOMOG intervention in Sierra Leone and the AU peacekeeping mission to Darfur) worked out so well for all concerned you have to wonder why the Africans aren’t keen to repeat the process.

    Obviously it’s because they hate freedom. (Thabo Mbeki hates freedom so much he spent 28 years in exile.)

  9. Ian Gould
    June 23rd, 2008 at 21:59 | #9

    “But it was not clear, there were no â€? marksâ€? or html quote things.”

    What part of: “From the UK TUC” with TUC highlighted as a hyperlink did you not understand?

  10. June 24th, 2008 at 14:42 | #10

    JQ and JR, an apology is not in order, unless by that you mean a full and complete explanation, which I willingly give.

    When people are suffering, it is all the more important to respect their dignity. I have myself experienced this particular form of offensiveness at the hands of public servants, who said they had an SOP of referring to clients by their first names as it was “friendly” – completely missing the point that it is friendly for friends and that not doing so is a way of maintaining distance from those who have not been invited into that circle. For people outside that circle to do this is, very precisely, pushy and offensive. I was raising the question of whether the authors were indeed in the circle of friendship or whether they were pushy and offensive. I was not accusing these spokesmen of pushiness as such, precisely because I do not know which applies – but if they are not and are acting like public servants, it is very serious. It is important to leave people with little else their dignity.

    LSA”D”D, you are impertinent in your own right in quite a different way. As it happens, I am indeed affected by reactive depression, but from quite other causes and with no connection to this issue. Do not belittle such a condition.

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