By John Kennedy
Free Nelson Mandela, yes those words rung out at Hyde Park on Friday night where a concert was held to raise money for Aids, yet the silence from those upon the stage was deafening. While 45,000 people partied in Hyde Park a farcical election was taking place in Zimbabwe.
What a missed opportunity by all those celebrities to weigh in and support the global criticism of Robert Mugabe and his political party Zanu-PF. For Mugabe has stolen a victory from Morgan Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Londoners and celebs sang "free Nelson Mandela" Mugabe and his henchmen beat another human into submission.
The Prime Minister Gordon Brown, William Hague the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Her Majesty the Queen, President George Bush, the European Union, the African Union and the United Nations have all spoken out, yet Mandela and Mbeki have failed to inform Mugabe the game is up, these statesmen need to speak allowed and in public, the African Union must eject Mugabe from its fold.
How can we as a people hold our heads aloft, why can't we stand shoulder to shoulder and denounce a tyrant, or do albums or movies matter more than freedom ? Surely it's better to hold a guitar than a kalashnikov and fire off notes that inspire the people who in turn campaign for change. Live aid did just that, Jerry Dammer's and the Specials with "free Nelson Mandela" took the bars from Mandela's cell and turned them into a cry of freedom. A couple of years later Mandela walked free !
We can effect change, we can demand freedom and Zimbabwe will become a better place one day. But just like the candles on a cake they get blown out and with that a opportunity to influence the globe has gone.
Remember Mandela is free but Zimbabwe is ill !
Photo by PCW on Flickr.com