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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Scary Tampons

Hathor sent me an email that shows how frighteningly paranoid the leadership in Zimbabwe must be and how willing they are to punish people for petty political reasons.

Read this quote from a ZTCU press release, as reported by the Sowkanele blog.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has just received news that state security agencies last week seized a consignment of sanitary pads meant for distribution to farmworkers in Zimbabwe’s farming areas of Concession and Mvurwi.

The pads were allegedly seized by police and later the dreaded Central Intelligence Organization was drawn into the matter. The ZCTU had given the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) its allocation of the pads sourced with the help of international partners.

On seizure, the farmworkers were told that the pads had been poisoned by former white commercial farmers, which is a blatant lie as the ZCTU, with the help of international partners and friends sourced for the sanitary ware.

However, the ZCTU is disturbed by this development because the sanitary pads were meant for women who cannot afford them. We deplore the actions of government, done through its security arms.

Robert Mugabe has, in the past, been notoriously hostile to aid coming from Western nations, casting the offers of food aid, for instance, as unnecessary. I can’t help but wonder if his strangely quarrelsome displays of rebelliousness--there can be no reasonable dispute that his country has needed the food aid that he hated to accept--are a display of misplaced pride. Perhaps the idea of accepting aid from the West is a little too much like admitting that his policies have failed in the most extreme sense of the word.

Whatever the reason for his decisions, this seizure is purely wrong and cruel. Many of the women in Zimbabwe can’t afford to purchase their own sanitary pads and the ZCTU worked to alleviate the problem. In many ways, it seems such a small thing, but it is symbolic of a callous government that has failed its people to the point where even this small thing is truly meaningful.

Follow the link to Sokwanele to find out how you can help (that is, if the government of Zimbabwe allows the generosity of outsiders to filter through to her people).

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