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DIDGE - The View From Down Under

An Aussie’s ridgy-didge view of world affairs and popular culture.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Homes destroyed in Zimbabwe, China, India

In a deplorable trend several countries governments have demolished civilian homes and businesses, leaving thousands homeless.

In Zimbabwe psycho President Robert Mugabe has ordered homes and businesses in areas of Harare to be destroyed, and his forces have been doing so for the past three weeks. The UN estimates that 200,000 homes have been demolished, leaving thousands homeless. Many of the homes were destroyed in areas in which anti-Mugabe sentiment is rife, however homes where pro-Mugabe residents lived have been destroyed too. There have also been reports that a mosque had been ruined.

The government says the operation is aimed at cleaning up the streets from criminals and to “restore sanity.” Yes, only in the mind of a truly madman could these human rights violations be described as sane.

Over in China around a thousand people have had their land seized by the government for Olympics related projects. Many have also said they were forcibly evicted from their homes. The farmers have set up a blockade at the entrance of the site, protesting against their treatment. And good on them. I just hope nothing too bad happens to them for speaking up in China. And remember all the homes that have been lost or will be lost due to China’s massive dam projects, not to mention the effect it will have on the environment.

While over in India thousands of illegal slums in Mumbai have been demolished, leaving many homeless. The government says they will provide new housing for residents that can prove they lived in the shanty town only after 1995, however that still leaves many families, with children and babies, with no where to go, and a bleak future without any hope.

And if that’s not enough, hundreds of Palestinians might have their homes bulldozed for a national park.

What lies behind the Zimbabwe demolitions?
"In no time the cottage I had called home for three years was gone. Then it dawned on me that I was now homeless, you try and pinch yourself and wake up but this was no dream. My life had been shattered before my very own eyes."
India's 'biggest slum demolitions'
I ask demolition man Vijay Kalam Patil if he is thinking about the fate of the thousands of sleepless, hungry evictees who are squatting, fighting, and defecating in the cold, squalid ruins. "If they set up unauthorised constructions and squat on government land, why should I think about them?" he asks.


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