Sunday, June 26, 2005

Academia Alert

"Honoris Causa" Doctorates may have been inappropriate.


Zimbabwe ruler Robert Mugabe may be vilified by the civilized world as a result of his campaign to demolish the homes of hundreds of thousands of his country's poorest residents, but he is beloved among certain segments of American academia.

The brutal dictator has received honorary degrees from the University of Massachusetts and from Michigan State University, where a campaign is underway to strip him of the doctorate of law degrees the institution awarded him in 1990. [Not UMass, yet...]

The campaigners say that at the time "Mugabe was known for killing his opposition on a small scale, but since then his terror has gone to the next level."

"Minority black tribes, white farmers, democracy activists, newspaper publishers – anybody who doesn't fit into Mugabe's plan for Zimbabwe – are being killed or persecuted," the campaign's website notes.

"And MSU gave him an honorary degree to recognize his great contribution to the legal field. Just what kind of laws is Mugabe known for?" Amnesty International says Zimbabwe "is still using repressive legislation to restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly of all Zimbabweans, in particular political opponents, independent media workers and human rights activists."

As WorldNetDaily reported, when Mugabe systematically burned out white farmers and murdered them for their valuable land in the name of "wealth redistribution," the international community paid little notice.

Now Mugabe has turned his deadly attention to the poor – driving hundreds of thousands from their homes in what he euphemistically calls an "urban renewal" program – or "Operation Drive Out Trash."

At news conferences in Africa and at the United Nations, more than 200 international human rights and civic groups said the campaign was "a grave violation of international human rights law and a disturbing affront to human dignity."

International rights groups said at least 300,000 people have lost their homes by conservative estimates. The United Nations puts the figure as high as 1.5 million, though Zimbabwe police only acknowledge about 120,000.

More than 42,000 people have also been arrested, fined or had their goods confiscated.

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