Thoughts on Mugabe
Sir, – Since 1980, when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, Robert
Mugabe has succeeded in transforming a country then known as the breadbasket of
Africa into a land where 49 percent of the population is malnourished (seven
million citizens are to receive assistance from the World Food Program), at
least 85% is unemployed, and 83% lives on less than $2 a day.
expectancy is 40.
In 2008, because of a lack of access to clean water,
cholera swept the country. In 2009, a 100-trillion banknote of the local
currency (since abandoned) was insufficient to buy a local bus ticket.
my book, this qualifies Mugabe as the world’s stupidest man.
what we learn in “‘Zimbabwe agreed to export raw uranium to Iran’” (August 11),
we can add to Mugabe’s curriculum vitae a very high ranking among the world’s
most sinister individuals.GERRY MYERS
Sir, – It is
interesting to note that human rights abuses, atrocities and racism instigated
by Robert Mugabe generally have been ignored by the rest of the world. With the
new information that Zimbabwe might in the future supply Iran with uranium,
suddenly everyone is taking note. And for good reason: This could be a threat to
world peace, and to Israel and America, in particular.
One also wonders
about the conditions under which the uranium will be mined. Readers should
Google a BBC Panorama program on diamond mining in Marange.
“victory” in the country’s recent flawed election is further evidence of his
Just a thought.SALLY SHAW
Sir, – I was saddened to read of the death in her beloved France
of Dr. Elisabeth Maxwell (“Holocaust scholar Elisabeth Maxwell dies at 92,”
Although inevitably overshadowed by the fame, for good or ill,
of her late husband, Robert Maxwell, she was very much a personality in her own
During the preparation of a major academic conference on the
Holocaust called “Remembering for the Future 2000,” held in Oxford in the
millennium year, I was fortunate enough to be a “backroom girl” on
Maxwell’s varied team. She was admired and held in great affection by
everyone who came in contact with her.
Although then approaching 80,
Elisabeth Maxwell was a dynamo of energy, both mental and physical, and an
inspiration to everyone. I recall her arriving straight from Heathrow airport,
her flight from the US having been delayed. She had no time to pause before
attending a business meeting, and there was just a quick change into one of her
elegant outfits before she rushed off to a formal evening reception. Jet lag
didn’t get a look. Her dedication and determination were awesome! Unlike what
was stated in your article, her autobiography was actually called A Mind of My
Own: My Life with Robert Maxwell. In the dedication she wrote: “The ‘novel’ of
my life, not the ‘tale of two cities’ but of two different worlds: the one I
left behind and the one I entered, so vibrant, so sad also, so rich, so
compassionate, and to which I now belong.”
Israel and the Jewish people
have lost a great friend. May Betty Maxwell’s memory be for a
blessing.RONA L. HART
Haifa Simple thesis
Sir, – In Martin Sherman’s
“Resign (continued): Responding to readers” (Into the Fray, August 9), I am one
of the readers he responds to.
Much as I admire the way Sherman puts his
arguments, I am afraid they fail to convince. I tried to differentiate between
basic political principles and day-to-day political tactics. The former define
the philosophical boundaries of a politician’s sphere of action, the latter are
the tools he or she uses in the business of political activity.
elevates into principles some political positions that Israeli politicians have
adopted from time to time. I understand why he does so – they accord with his
own deeply held beliefs.
But it is unjustified.
If Netanyahu now
believes that embracing the two-state solution within the framework of a
comprehensive peace and security accord is tactically the best way forward for
Israel, there is absolutely no reason to call for his resignation on the grounds
that he is totally unprincipled.
That is the beginning and end of my
Beit Shemesh Improper insinuation
Sir, – In his
Savir’s Corner columns, Uri Savir consistently makes the blithe and unfounded
assertion that the Palestinians are a partner for peace. Except for Israel’s
intransigence, he implies, the Middle East would be an oasis of
But with “Left, Right and Center” (August 9) he reaches a
perverse low when he says that Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett, with recent
statements, insinuated that “a good Arab is a dead Arab.” This is an outrageous
distortion and should be unacceptable in public discourse.
bio at the end of his columns describes him as having been “Israel’s chief
negotiator for the Oslo Accords.” Such a blurb would be similar to highlighting
on a résumé that so-and-so had served as chief navigator on the Titanic or as
chief advance scout for Custer at Little Big Horn.SHMUEL PRUZANSKY
Modi’in On its head
Sir, – I share Moshe Dann’s rage that scores of Palestinian
prisoners, heinous murderers, will be freed (“Releasing terrorists: In whose
interest?” Comment & Features, August 8).
There are two wonderful
mitzvot in the Torah, that a freed Hebrew servant must be generously provided
with gifts (Deuteronomy 15:13-14) because he is one of your brethren. This is
aside from the fact that you must treat him with dignity.
savage enemies, the Israeli government is giving them even more – the two most
important gifts a human being can have (other than good health): freedom and
life (life, because in other democracies, such terrorists and murderers would be
To offer these gifts, gratuitously, without a gun to its head,
as in the swap for abducted soldier Gilad Schalit, is
It is to turn Jewish morality on its head.JACOB
Toronto In the wording
Sir, – If only reader Smoky Simon were right in
his view regarding the Balfour Declaration” (“Face the facts,” Letters, August
As a religious Zionist I wait for the day when our beloved country
will reach as far as the Jordan River.
However, anyone who has read the
Balfour Declaration will see that there was no promise to the Jews of the “whole
of biblical and ancestral Palestine, from the Mediterranean to the borders of
Iraq,” as Simon writes. The wording, in fact, was: “His Majesty’s Government
view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish
The straightforward wording says in Palestine and a national
home – that is, only part of the land, and a home, not a
Unfortunately, this very interpretation is accepted as the
reality, causing many to claim an untrue promised situation so that they don’t
“face the facts,” resulting in an incorrect basis of our claim of
The name of the surgeon who
examined and helped operate on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was improperly
spelled in “Netanyahu set to undergo hernia surgery” (August 11). The correct
spelling is Arie Durst.