Zimbabwe: Years of Hope and Despair
Philip Barclay lived and worked as a diplomat and blogger in Zimbabwe during 2006-2009 - one of the few permitted Western observers of events on the ... Show synopsis Philip Barclay lived and worked as a diplomat and blogger in Zimbabwe during 2006-2009 - one of the few permitted Western observers of events on the ground. In this electrifying first-hand account we witness the key events that marked the decline of this once prosperous and stable nation. In early 2007, The Movement for Democratic Change (led by Morgan Tsvangiari) held large rallies, leaving Tsvangiari severely beaten and activists killed and arrested. Philip Barclay attended the trials of the MDC activists while campaigns for the next election were beginning to take shape, even though both parties were divided. Although it looked certain that President Robert Mugabe would win the next election in March 2008, given that he controlled all state media, as Philip travelled around the country there was a sense of hope and excitement at the prospect of change. On polling day it became immediately obvious that the MDC had won. The following months saw a widespread outbreak of violence; reports came in of rape, murder and mass evictions as the military and party militia's assaulted and intimidated the supporters of the MDC. Mugabe was not ready to stand down. Philip witnessed a bomb site where activists were burned alive and interviewed rape victims and members of illegal refugee camps. Philip himself was stopped and threatened by a ZANU-PF militia. By July 2008 the country had fallen apart. Hyperinflation ensued, utilities failed and the worst Cholera epidemic in recent world history hit a starving population. A unity agreement was eventually signed in early 2009, but is this really a new dawn for Zimbabwe? Concise, fluent, imaginative and authoritative, "Zimbabwe" gets to the terrifying core of a country systematically destroyed by its own government, and asks important questions about what the future may hold.