A properly respectful article
by my fellow Aularian Bidisha:
It wasn’t a trip or a tumble. It wasn’t funny; it was terrifying and so brutal that the audience fell silent. It was the kind of accident that breaks necks, damages brains and haunts Cirque du Soleil performers’ nightmares...
But it’s not just about individualistic survival ability, brotherliness or externals like attitude. Mugabe is not worthy of respect simply for surviving, having sass or cannily working out how to play every capitalist angle. He has a brilliant and indeed record-breaking talent in his discipline, which is stealing elections. He’s been stealing great elections including 1979, 2000 and 2005 throughout his career, and the latest, 2010, is up there with them; he is “in the game again”, as The Telegraph says.
But he was brutally mocked in the reviews. And that laughter is growing louder and crueller and uglier, as the Twitter response to his fall illustrated. Mugabe’s longevity was first admired and is now actively sabotaged by editorials which never fail to mention his age, as though it is something to be ashamed of. I am shocked by the uninflected scorn, the derision and foul-mouthed trashing he is dealt, and how much of it is grossly visceral.
In order to withstand this, one would have to be superhuman. Luckily, Mugabe is. But why should anyone have to swallow the world’s unstinting hatred when he wants to be remembered for his brilliant dictatorship?
Lest we forget