The latest from the Zimbabwean nightmare:
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) President Lovemore Matombo and First Vice President Lucia Matibenga were among trade unionists badly injured during the government’s Sept. 13 attack on a peaceful demonstration by the nation’s unionists. AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer William Lucy, who travelled to Zimbabwe says “the police just went crazy” in their attack in the capital Harare.
Lucy described his experience today during a meeting with union members at the AFL-CIO building in Washington, D.C., where he showed a 12-minute video of the Sept. 13 assault given to him on their trip. (Note: The date of the attack is incorrect on the video. The attack occurred Sept. 13.)
When Lucy, along with a delegation of members from the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) and a representative from the Solidarity Center, went to Zimbabwe to meet with the unionists, they were denied entry.
On Sept. 13, some 1,500 ZCTU activists were peacefully protesting the nation’s abysmal economic conditions. Witnesses say police attacked the crowd and brutally beat many of the union members and arrested 265. Matombo and Matibenga were among those arrested, as was ZCTU General Secretary Wellington Chibebe, winner of the AFL-CIO’s 2003 George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award. (Last night, Ela Bhatt of India received the 2005 Human Rights Award for her efforts in improving the lives of impoverished women in India.)
But many are not giving up hope that change is only a matter of time and courage.