An embarrassingly large number of days ago I awoke to an email from one of my Melbourne writing pals, Snail, who writes the Snail’s Eye View. What is it about Melbourne? It seems to have more writers per capita than any other Australian city. Sorry, I digress… Snail was writing to advise me that I’d received a THINKING BL0GGER award. It’s a web meme called ‘5 BL0GS That Make Me Think‘ and I was one of the writers Snail tagged. Curses! I mean she’d be one I’d tag, and now I’d have to think for myself. It’s taken me a while – there are so many strong contenders (contenters?) and this particular award is about content. And then, there were a couple while I was cogitating who received their awards. Eeek! (Why am I concerned – there’s always room for another writer who provokes thought.)
Without further ado, and in no particular order, here’s the first of my list of thinking writers:
If you haven’t been keeping up with the Zimbabwe situation this blog is a great place to start. If you loved the movie ‘Brazil’ and wondered what it’d be like in reality, this site is a great place to start. If you want to read a blog where one day you fall off your chair laughing with disbelief, and the next swing back on your seat with tears running down your cheeks, this blog is a great place to start. Here’s a quick update. It doesn’t matter if I’m wrong, by the time I finish writing it will be happening.
Once upon a time there was a country that was rich by every measure – its people were employed, well educated, and well fed. The land itself is fertile, with mineral wealth, and ample water for all. Unfortunately the people suffered from not being free to determine their own destinies, and so a well educated young man lead his people to overthrow the ruling foreign regime. The man became a hero to his people and when the negotiations were over the people wanted the man to become their leader. He thought about and said, “Ok, sure.”
Time went by and the man who was well educated, and a good leader in time of war, turned out to be very corruptible. He became wealthy. His friends became wealthy. He took threw the farmers off their farms and let anybody who was a friend in, whether they knew how to farm or not. The man soon had more friends than farms so the farms were split into smaller and less economic units. The man held free elections every so often, and his army and youth army did a good job of explaining who the people should vote for. The man’s friends would buy stuff cheap and sell it back to the government at inflated prices and cream millions, if not billions of dollars on the side.
Gradually the economy became bad, then worse, then munted, then just a joke, then fucked, then seriously fucked, and then finally, reached a place on the other side of all that when you realise things are beyond your simple understanding. In fact, beyond your wildest nightmares. Imagine living in a place where the inflation rate runs at 2,000%. Per month. That’s right, 24,000% per annum. What does that mean? From an article published yesterday (June 25), a standard loaf of bread now costs $44,000 and super white bread now costs $59,000. A loaf of bread cost $8,000 in May but has been going up virtually every week this month. A bottle of beer costs $75,000 [US$0.18]. People have given up on wallets, money is carried in suitcases.
The Zimbabwe dollar, which officially trades at $15,000 to the greenback, is reported to have slumped to around $400,000 to the dollar for large transactions on the black market. There are some reports that inflation this year might go to a million percent. Perhaps beyond. This isn’t surreal, it’s the Zimbabwe Situation. Thanks to the editors, Karen and Barbara, it’s part of my daily read. And, if you want to drop a thank you note to the man who’s made it all possible: Robert Mugabe, Number 7 Chancellor Avenue, Harare, Zimbabwe. Thanks Bob, my card is on the way.