Thursday, 3 April 2008

Zimbabwe opposition offices raided

MugabeSo reads the headline on the Yahoo news report. It then continues:
President Robert Mugabe's government raided the offices of the main opposition movement and rounded up foreign journalists Thursday in an ominous indication that he may use intimidation and violence to keep his grip on power.

Hands up, everyone who is surprised. It may be an ominous indication, but I personally am surprised that Mugabe has shown this much restraint. It's totally out of character. Power will slip out of his hands when they are cold and dead, and not a minute earlier. His use of intimidation and violence is well-documented and goes way back.

It's rather uncomfortable for journalists to document that though. Mugabe was a former media darling. It is difficult to admit mistakes, especially ones that never should have been made. To this day journalists seem incapable of summoning the moral outrage they applied (rightly, in that case) to apartheid and turning it against Mugabe. This despite the fact that he has turned his formerly prosperous country into a hellhole that most of his people would cheerfully leave for South Africa - present or past - or for old-time Rhodesia.

It is the African tragedy writ large all over again: a "liberator" who is really only interested in his own power. And a politically correct world that should be howling in outrage but doesn't. And journalists who express polite amazement at the inevitable.

I think I shall go be ill.

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Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Free Books!

Where to buy the armchair so the owner of this image won't mind me borrowing itI have recently, belatedly, discovered that people all over the Internet give away free, brand-new books. Most of the time, all you have to do is indicate your willingness to accept them and wait for the luck of the draw.

Book bloggers are in the midst of a give-away frenzy, so if you're interested, start with Eva's blog, In a Striped Armchair. She'll point you to a few other bloggers doing the same thing.

There are also blogs that specialize in reviewing specific kinds of books. They often have complimentary copies from the publishers to give away so are usually running book draws a couple of times a week. Fantasy Book Critic is a good example.

And last but not least, check out your favourite author's blog or website. They sometimes have freebies too, especially if they're debut authors trying to get attention.

Then there's that nasty Edward Willett at Hassenpfeffer who managed to not draw my name SIX WEEKS RUNNING! And Marseguro looks like a good read too. I suppose this means I shall have to spend money to do so.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have free books to read...

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