The killing by police of 34 miners at Marikana in North West, South Africa, never ceases to amaze me. But what is more baffling is the way the mainline media has handled the whole case.
From the word go, the police blamed the striking miners for provoking the shooting. Though it initially condemned the shooting, the mainline media has quietly shifted positions and seems to have bought the police excuse.
As if this was not enough the miners have now been charged with murder.
This has got me asking: What if the 34 miners had been killed in Zimbabwe?
What if the miners had been killed at Zimplats, owned by South Africa’s Impala Platinum; or at Unki, owned by Anglo American; or at Mimosa, owned jointly by Implats and Aquarius?
I bet there would have been a media frenzy from the same South African media as well as from the international media.
The headline would not have been: Police kill 34 miners.
It would probably have been: Mugabe murders 34 miners in cold blood.
Unlike in South Africa where everyone accepted that President Jacob Zuma had set up a commission of inquiry to look into the incident; had this been Zimbabwe- the United States, Britain, the European Union and South African organisations would have called for an international commission of inquiry.
They would have called for UN intervention to stop the bloodbath.
They would have called for the International Criminal Court to bring Mugabe before the court for human rights abuses.
Mugabe would not have been allowed to investigate himself.
Throughout the whole case the underlying tone has been, don’t scare foreign investors.
No one cared, or seems to care, about the 34 or 44 lives that were lost, except perhaps those of the two police officers.
What would have happened if this had happened in Zimbabwe?
Food for thought!