A Picture of Hell (Zimbabwe)
Via the LAT: Grim tales from Zimbabwe
Life here is full of Catch-22 dilemmas that would strain credulity if they were fiction: It costs more to go to work than you can possibly earn, for example. There is no economy to speak of, either, just the black market, where even the government gets its dollars. And hospitals, like the one where Junica Dube was giving birth, with no medicines and little staff, are places of death, not life.
The stores are so empty that the government statistician says it’s impossible to work out the inflation rate. (Independent economists estimate that it is between 40,000% and 90,000%.) Given the depth of the economic crisis, it’s difficult to see how anything works.
A journalist more than doubles his salary by making candles on weekends. A Reserve Bank employee buys and slaughters cows on the side. A sign writer sells sandwiches cobbled out of difficult-to-come-by bread. Teachers, who can go to South Africa with no visa, bring back cooking oil, the staple called maize meal, flour and sugar to sell.
The caption under the photo that accompanies the piece reads:
Basic necessities like salt are in short supply, even in the capital Harare. Inflation is estimated to run between 40,000% and 90,000%. Everyone from laborers to professionals must hustle to try and make ends meet and about the only thing that seems to function properly is the government’s secret police.
The whole piece is quite depressing.
It is tragic to see what one man and his enablers can do to a country, an economy and its people.