Time Not to Be Stupid: The Peculiar Case of Cecil the Lion

Zimbabwe has a recent history of ecomomic malaise, with an 80% unemployment rate after 2000 and hyperinflation in Zimbabwe was a major problem from about 2003 to April 2009, when the country suspended its own currency. Zimbabwe faced 231 million percent peak hyperinflation in 2008: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/zimbabwe/3167379/Zimbabwe-inflation-hits-231-million-per-cent.html .

The economic meltdown and repressive political measures in Zimbabwe have led to a flood of refugees into neighboring countries. An estimated 3.4 million Zimbabweans, a quarter of the population, had fled abroad by mid-2007. Some 3 million of these have gone to South Africa and Botswana.

Zimbabwe's total population is 12.97 million. According to the United Nations World Health Organisation, the life expectancy for men was 56 years and the life expectancy for women was 60 years of age (2012). While the alleged poaching of Cecil the Lion is now a fanboy favorite topic, to no great surprise it is is of minor importance in Zimbabwe, for tourist attractions are considered to be a senseless contrivance of the foreign elite while the country itself has gone through great, multiple hardships.

Reporters Without Borders claims the media environment in Zimbabwe involves "surveillance, threats, imprisonment, censorship, blackmail, abuse of power and denial of justice are all brought to bear to keep firm control over the news." In its 2008 report, Reporters Without Borders ranked the Zimbabwean media as 151st out of 173.The government also bans many foreign broadcasting stations from Zimbabwe, including the CBC, Sky News, Channel 4, American Broadcasting Company, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and Fox News. News agencies and newspapers from other Western countries and South Africa have also been banned from the country.

There are more pressing issues in Zimbabwe than any tourist attraction: http://country-facts.findthedata.com/compare/1-77/United-States-vs-Zimbabwe . The GDP of Zimbabwe is $953 per person, the homicide death rate is over double per capita of that in the U.S., and 68% of the population is below the poverty line. There is the history of Robert Mugabe that apparently few have knowledge of, or interest in: http://www.biography.com/people/robert-mugabe-9417391 . With the vast majority of residents of Zimbabwe living in poverty, low life expectancy, 18.5 % with internet access, and infant mortality of 88.5 / 1000 births vs. 6.9 / 1000 births in the U.S., small wonder few in Zimbabwe care about any self-righteous internet frenzy . . . about any animal. Who does not comprehend this?

The professional hunter, Mr. Bronkhorst, started his hunting business after being violently evicted from his 1,269-hectare game farm, Southcum, near Kwekwe, in central Zimbabwe, as part of the Mugabe government’s land grab. Poaching is of course not hunting and is a criminal act, no one should need to consult a clever third-grader to discover this. The bigger question is what sick, twisted form of humanity finds a tourist attraction that no one has heard of, much less seen in person, to be of far more value and of far more interest than the lives of the general human population of Zimbabwe itself? Self-anointed pundits enjoy death threats against a dentist, media loves the money they make from selling the story, yet when another human resident of Zimbabwe dies, the silence remains deafening.

In the United States, assertion and accusation is not conviction and justice is not retribution. Justice is, of course, the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals, by being impartial, emotionless, and fair. Death threats and knee-jerk bile spewing is antithetical to the rule of law and the notion of justice. It is a pity that so many have so easily, conveniently, sadly forgotten what brave men and women have long fought died for. Justice serves the accused, not the accusers. The ignorance of this is on every “Justice for Cecil” post ever made. Regardless of the personally distasteful nature of the accusation, to side-step Due Process is nothing any American could ever tolerate. Vigilantism is not remotely justice.

Though the conditions in Zimbabwe were such that about one quarter of the population was forced to flee the country by 2007. When was the last time anyone bothered to make a crude cardboard sign or bumper sticker about that?

--Randy Wakeman


Copyright 2015 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.



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