Monday, February 02, 2009

Political hypocrisy watch - Zimbabwe edition

Misleading, disingenuous, hypocritical, and outright dishonest formulations--often drawing on a standardized grab-bag of mystifying rhetorical clich├ęs and polite fictions--are a normal part of political and diplomatic discourse, like it or not. It makes sense to get angry or exasperated about them, but it's usually foolish to get too astonished. But every once in a while an example comes along that so thoroughly turns reality upside-down (or inside-out) that it's worth taking notice.

Norman Geras calls our attention to one recent example that really does take one's breath away ... though if one doesn't actually think about it, it sounds like nothing more than the sort of normal diplo-blather to which we're supposed to nod our heads approvingly.

(And the interesting thing is that the person who uttered this howler, South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, may not have fully realized that he was--how shall we put this delicately?--lying. I suspect that there was an element of self-deception here, of the sort that is facilitated by unthinkingly repeating those standard phrases.)

Yours for reality-based discourse,
Jeff Weintraub
normblog: The weblog of Norman Geras
February 1, 2009

Commenting on the power-sharing agreement just concluded in Zimbabwe, the South African president Kgalema Motlanthe has said:
We are more keen to take our cue from the people of Zimbabwe themselves ... rather than try to impose on them our own solutions.
That is more or less the opposite of the truth. It is, as one might say, the wrong way round. The agreement backs Robert Mugabe in ignoring the result of last year's elections in Zimbabwe and colludes in the 'solution' he then imposed on the country by violence.