The Rubber Hits the Road

The Rubber Hits the Road, by Mark Steyn.

Half a decade or so back, I wrote: “It’s a good basic axiom that if you take a quart of ice-cream and a quart of dog feces and mix ’em together the result will taste more like the latter than the former. That’s the problem with the U.N.”

Absolutely right, if I do say so myself. When you make the free nations and the thug states members of the same club, the danger isn’t that they’ll meet each other half-way but that the free world winds up going three-quarters, seven-eighths of the way. …

That’s how it went last Friday when the World Health Organization, ostensibly one of the least nutty operating units of the UN (compared with, say, the Human Rights Council), announced that Robert Mugabe was being appointed a WHO “Goodwill Ambassador“. Mr Mugabe’s idea of “goodwill” is to send his goons round to your farmhouse to announce he’s stealing your land – and, if you’re minded to object, kill your farm workers or wife or kid. …

Robert Mugabe

Yesterday the WHO was forced to back down. But how did it ever get as far as an official announcement? Mugabe’s greatest contribution to “world health” has been to raise the comparative life expectancy of every other country by dramatically reducing his own over his first quarter-century:

Life expectancy in Zimbabwe, 1980: 59.39 years

Life expectancy in Zimbabwe, 2005: 41.76 years

In fairness, this wasn’t accomplished merely through killing people. He also starves his hospitals of basic drugs and materials, while jetting off to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur for the world-class medical treatment that keeps him remarkably spry at the age of 93. This thug has outlived all those who delivered into his hands “the jewel of Africa”, as he told Ian Smith, the defiant Prime Minister of white Rhodesia, on independence back in 1980. …

Many have speculated on the reasons for this. In Zimbabwe, it is widely believed he’s been driven insane by tertiary syphilis. From my 2002 column:

“Reliable sources claim Mr. Mugabe’s manhood has crumbled away to nothing. Last year, George Potgieter, the manager of a Harare engineering company, wound up in court after telling his workers that (according to court records) “they had no brains because they were being led by a President who had a rubber penis made in China”. The workers immediately seized Mr. Potgieter and took him to the nearest police station for breaking the Law and Order Maintenance Act, which forbids exposing the President to “hatred, contempt or ridicule”.”

I’m not sure what extradition arrangements we have with Harare, so let me hasten to add that neither I nor the editors of The National Post were for one minute suggesting Mr Mugabe has a rubber penis — or, if he has, we’re sure it’s very impressive and top of the range, certainly not some factory-made Chinese thing.

hat-tip Stephen Neil