Zimbabwe bloggers shine a light on their troubled country
With most independent newspapers shut down by Mugabe's regime, activists -- and even a diplomat -- have turned to the Internet.
By Robyn Dixon
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 10, 2008
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA — The blogger calls himself a "fat white man" and jokes about the right way to approach a cordon of Zimbabwean riot police: Don't wear an opposition T-shirt, or ask for the results of the recent one-man presidential runoff. Instead, greet them with a breezy "Good morning! How are you, sirs?"
"I note that there are no officers in the line, which is good as it means there's nobody to order the cops to start hitting me," he writes. "But then again if they do start hitting me there's no one to tell them to stop."
The "fat white man" is not just some cheeky cyberdissident -- he's a British diplomat named Philip Barclay. His blog is found on the official British Foreign Office website.
Barclay's exhilaratingly undiplomatic https://blogs.fco.gov.uk/roller/harare, at https://blogs.fco.gov.uk/roller/harare/
, veers from humor reminiscent of P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves books to bleak horror. Zimbabwe, he says, is a country where "good manners and repression go hand-in-hand."( Collapse )