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Kasparov Arrested

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As previewed yesterday, Garry Kasparov was arrested on the way to an anti-Putin "Other Russia" opposition rally in Moscow, along with between 250-300 others. Some have already been released but as of 20:15 Moscow time Kasparov and many others were still at the courthouse, where they were taken directly from the police station. [Kasparov was released from the courthouse close to midnight Moscow time.] It doesn't seem like any of the other main organizers were arrested. Kasparov has been in touch with the press to and from the police station and the courts and is in fine condition and spirits. It's not clear whether or not he'll be released soon as his lawyer expects or kept in custody long enough to keep him away from the similarly banned Other Russia rally scheduled for St. Petersburg tomorrow. Hundreds of reports in the news. I'm in touch with some of Garry's people in Moscow and I'll try to keep you posted as I get more info, but Reuters will likely beat me to it. Photos and report here.

With zero access to television and other major media, which is all under the strict control of the Kremlin and its allies after years of purges and purchases, this sort of public protest is the only way to get an opposition message out. Of course trying to provoke a police state into making paranoid mistakes to draw attention to the cause is like playing chicken with a freight train. There is little doubt that Kasparov would already be down a deep hole somewhere were he not so famous both inside and outside Russia.

Update: Kasparov was released at 23:40 Moscow time, 3:40pm EST. He was detained for around 10 hours.


He was still at the courthouse when that was written. He was just moved from the police station and from on courthouse to another to be fined, we assume. As of 20 minutes ago he was still there.

What does this have to do with chess?

Garry who?

Kasparov's bravery is considerable, but it pales beside all the others protesting against Putin who are not famous.

True enough, although not everyone else is rich and famous enough to leave Russia and live a nice pleasant life elsewhere either. It's notable how many people in the media simply assume Garry lives outside of Russia. They're always surprised to find out he still lives in Moscow and puts himself through this when he could just leave. The next question is always, "aren't you worried about your safety?" That's been the #1 interview question of the past year or so, when "why did you leave chess?" subsided a little.

I was looking for further news of Kasparov's arrest when I found this.


The Dutch news have an item at http://player.omroep.nl/?aflID=2939419&md5=486267e1edd7ec32e7a2a4d076f71593 - you can fast forward to 9 min. 44 where it starts.

Yeah, Garry is frequently speccing games on playchess and always from Moscow.In any case he has proved his point today perfectly,Russia is a repressive dictatorship at it's worst.

We need people like Kasparov. I hope he gets ok treatment.

Garry was just released a few minutes ago. Sounds okay.

I wonder if Kramnik still feels the way he did in a 2005 interview:

Question: Kasparov is picking a public fight with President Putin. Isn’t that very dangerous?

Answer: That is a Western view. I know the opinion that there is totalitarian rule in Russia. I don’t like it too much that Kasparov is now proclaiming that he wants more democracy in our country. Sure there are problems, without a doubt. But I live in this country and can see that things are handled in a more or less democratic fashion. There are lots of people who speak out against Putin, and nothing happens to them. A large part of the Russian press is oppositional, but they continue to exist and nobody does anything against them. It is clear that it is quite easy to find support for Kasparov’s position in the West. But I think he is not in any personal danger.

This is the only thing I don't like about Kramnik too, but I understand his position and it's much easier and beneficial to play the "naive" card than to do something.

It appears that Gary Kasparov is a GM in public relations as well. Look at the picture of his arrest, he is actually posing for the cameras. The more I look the more I get the feeling that he is actually smiling. Just like in his chess games I get the impression this plan was well thought in advance. First you write a book of how life immitates chess, than you promote it in the west and than you get arrested in a public demonstration in front of the cameras of the western media. Who does he think he is kidding?!!

According to the BBC Kasparov was fined the equivalent of around £20. Kasparov did a very interesting interview with the BBC radoi station Five Live. He said that he thinks his fame will keep him clear of really serious punishment.

It feels wrong to mention this, but I can't help but feel like he is on a suicide mission.

From: http://www.worldpress.org/Europe/2522.cfm
"a total of 23 journalists have reportedly been killed in Russia between 1996 and 2005, with at least 12 of them murdered in contract-style killings since Putin came to power in 2000"

My interest in reading about this Kasparov dude would be greater if he had displayed more of the spirit of democracy when HE was the big cheese, i.e. in the chess world. Given his past history, I can only speculate as to his current motives, but I'm sure they wouldn't inspire me.

Kasparov has been a consistent critic of Russian authoritarianism since the Soviet days. I'm amused that some view his current brave actions as opportunistic. He's twice as ballsy as any top chess player alive.

Ashish - Garry just turned 44 yesterday. Life is a long learning experience, and how many tip-top world-class athletes in their 20s also are gifted with the wisdom of Solomon?

I agree with macuga, and hope that he can both be effective and remain healthy and unharmed.

Maybe Mig can repost the URL to the Wall Steet Journal piece Garry wrote just after the lady journalist was murdered in Moscow a few months ago; the closing paragraph reminded of me of how South Africa's Archbishop, Desmond Tutu, spoke out against treating his country's apartheid regime as legitimate, back when Nelson Mandela was still imprisoned- a time when many did not yet foresee how the moral power of his position would eventually manifest itself.

Good on Kasparov for opposing Putin's brutal de-facto dictatorship.

The stake in this highly dangerous political game (remember how some of Putin's opponents ended). Proof than life can be much harder than chess.

Mig, please send my regards to Garry. I'm glad he's ok.

I don't understand why so many people criticize him for his political activities. He obviously cares about his country a great deal, and he has the right to put himself in danger if he so chooses.

I wish him the absolute best, and yes, I do think he's brave to campaign against Putin.

There were two ways to interpret this story:

One was a regular arrest of a lawbreaker, for a law which may be unjust, and one which probably should be disobeyed, but which is still a law.

The other is as beginning of a Khodorkovsky-style like criminal persecution.

I am glad to see it was the former. However, I disagree that Garry is smiling in the picture, he looks pretty distraught. I am surprised though that OMON (Russian SWAT) allowed the picture to be taken, they are usually not very photogenic.

In the US and Western Europe, if you stage a large protest at an unapproved site you've got a good chance of being arrested too (and manhandled in the process).

"There is little doubt that Kasparov would already be down a deep hole somewhere were he not so famous both inside and outside Russia" - Rubbish. See Kramnik's words from Rob's post earlier in this thread. IMO Kramnik's view is much closer to reality, although to be fair I haven't lived in Russia since 2001. Don't believe everything you read about Russian politics in the Western media.

Oops, typo in my last comment. I meant to say Rod instead of Rob.

Also, in the online CNN article it quotes Kasparov as saying "We now stand somewhere between Belarus and Zimbabwe". Is he saying Russia is worse than Belarus and better than Zimbabwe or vice versa? I'm guessing he means worse than Belarus. I've lived in Belarus and have many friends there, and in general the political situation is definitely worse in Belarus than in Russia.

In Britain under Labour, a similar protest could quite easily lead to the same action by the government. And he'd be watched more because of the CCTV. That's the ironic thing about Kasparov talking about 'democracy'- it's debateable at the moment whether Britain is even a democracy.

I hope all ChessNinja readers who have the chance will vote Labour out in the May elections.

It's debateable at the moment whether Britain is even a democracy. That's the difference. In Britain it's debateable. In Russia, Belarus or Zimbabwe it's not debateable. Mark, count your blessings.

Erm, under Labour there are hardly any 'blessings' to count. I didn't mean that democratic ideas are 'debatable' in Britain. There are many instances of Labour officials rigging the votes so that nobody gets any other opinion at all.

Some people would still debate that Russia is a democracy. From the outside, it's pretty clear that it isn't. However, an outside observer could easily find more faults in the US and UK 'democratic process' then the mass media cares to dwell on.

I'm certainly not counting my blessings. I'm doing my best to get Labour out.

Hhmmm ... let's try finding a way between too much and too little relativism. How poor it may be, criteria exist in comparing democratic and political development between countries. Is Zimabwe worse than Russia? Is Russia worse than Poland? Is Poland worse than Belarus? Is Belarus worse than Britain? Is Britain worse than Zimbabwe?

Is there a more or less free and fair press, a possibility to demonstrate, free and fair elections? Is a total lack of it the same as a political party in power defending its own interests? While sometimes or even structurally crossing a line. As the Bush-regime does.

Kasparov may have his reasons. To me it seems brave opposing the Putin-regime. Opposing the Blair-regime is also brave. But one can not ignore the differences.

Yes, you do have to be brave to resist Blair. And it's probably not quite as bad as Russia yet- although outsiders from the UK would be surprised how bad it actually is. Blair has passed laws forbidding any demonstration anywhere near Downing Street for instance. The press seems 'free' but much of it is under subtle control.

If people don't act now, things could get as bad as they are in Russia.


like you know how bad or good things are in Russia right now :-)

I was in London 2 weeks ago and I saw a (although small) demonstration somewhere very near downing Street, I didn't saw 10.000 policemen around though.

That Downing Street isn't accesible right now might have something to do with the war/ occupation in iraq.

I do think that the situation in US/Europe isn't as good as it used to be, so thinking that way we shouldn't count our blessings and try to do something about that, but when compared to Russia and Zimbabwe, I do count my blessings.

...it's probably not quite as bad as Russia yet- although outsiders from the UK would be surprised how bad it actually is. Blair has passed laws forbidding any demonstration anywhere near Downing Street for instance...

Posted by: Mark Howitt at April 15, 2007 08:38

Actually, there's nothing wrong with demonstrating there, you just need to ask for approval first - http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1920095,00.html Ok, it's not a great law, but if you think going through a little police bureaucracy in the UK is the same as risking your life in Russia, I think you've got a shakey grip on reality.

According to the TIME article, Kasparov would like for the US to send the Putin government the "message" that if real elections and reform aren't allowed that there will be consequences.

He needs to step back and soberly re-evaluate his position. The US cannot even properly demonstrate significant consequences to Al-Qaeda or the Iran/Syrian sponsered insurgency in Iraq. What would Russian communists have to fear from the US? Democracy is a difficult variation that not even the US has mastered. As Jefferson noted, the price of freedom is the occasional spilling of the blood of Patriots. If Russians want democratic reforms, they'll have to fight for that themselves.

Russia has transitioned from communist to fascist, a wonderful example of how there are so many ways to go wrong when trying to create a government from chaos - a lesson Bush's handlers should have learned before their attempt to tear down and rebuild Iraq.
Kasparov's fame is immaterial in the face of such monsters, and I fear for his safety. While it may not be at the point where he's dragged away in the middle of the night, it's certainly at the point where an unfortunate car "accident" removes a buzzing gadfly.

For a bit of a different prspective on Garry Kasparov's political stance I refer readers to the following:


and http://www.ontoinfo.com/2007/04/06/its-official-garry-kasparov-has-dedicated-his-career-to-us-security/

One russian commentator makes the following point:

"I heard Kasparov speak a few months back at the National Endowment for Democracy in DC, and his book and American connections are not the only p
roblem - its the message. Even in Russia, politics matter more than revolutionary rhetoric. So, when he says that the current Russian state must be "destroyed" (along with those "value-corrupting" oil revenues) to start a new Western-style liberal democratic utopia, that's not exactly pleasing any constituency, be it upper middle class or the "workers and peasants". Typical - and utterly sad - as it is for all liberals in Russia, he rarely makes any sense whatsoever on how he plans on building, rather than destroying, anything...

If anyone wants to understand the situation in Zimbabwe, then we'd better go back and read about Cecil Rhodes and his pilfering of South Africa and Mashonaland (formerly the colony Rhodesia and currently independent Zimbabwe). Rhodes (already a billionaire in 19th century)and his minions forcibly took the land from the indigenous Matabeles (after pitting one group against another) and gave it practically free to foreign settlers from Britain. Renamed Southern Rhodesia, the Ian Smith regime reinforced the racist policies in colonial Africa and Zimbabwe (led by Mugabe) only got independence in 1980.

Mugabe knows the history of his country and executed a forceful plan to reclaim the stolen land from the settler community. Many protest his taking the land from the settlers, yet few made the same outcry when Cecil Rhodes took the land from the Africans. Mugabe is under sanctions as a result of this land grab and the economic hardship is punishment for him reclaiming Zimbabwean soil. Don't be fooled by the mental midgets running the media.

I'd like Daaim's self-righteous BS a little better if it didn't end with Mugabe's troops massacring those same Matabeles.

"Mugabe knows the history of his country and executed a forceful plan to reclaim the stolen land from the settler community. Many protest his taking the land from the settlers, yet few made the same outcry when Cecil Rhodes took the land from the Africans"

Like in most of Africa, unfortunately, it turns out that in many cases *both* sides of a conflict behave unacceptably. Specifically, Mugabe is accused to have reclaimed the land only to distribute it to its friends. As a result, most of the reclaimed land stays now unused, and his country a former food exporter, is starving and depends on international food.
To cover up for his total incompetence and the fact that 70% of the Zimbabwe people are unemployed, he had to resort to massive elections frauds. He has to take full responsability for

Mugabe won two rigged elections, had his opponent beaten and arrested, oversaw the economy of his country dwindle prior to sanctions, had his thugs (not regular poor Zimbabweans) seize lands without any compensation, crippling the country's agriculture. I question the justice of what Hunzvi is doing--surely if you are going to deprive people of means of survival and all of their property on the basis of a hundred-year old ill, they should receive a small compensation or simply have their property split up with them keeping a small piece and the rest being divided among locals. That would make sense but Mugabe is not seizing these lands out of justice, it is to enrichen his paramilitaries who he needs to keep happy. The mental giants posting on this blog don't mention the fate of the land after it gets seized or the violence and torture that accompanied every action of Mugabe's regime.

@Giovanni Smith

Clearly you've read a bit too much of the western media and brainwashed by them. Russia is not communist nor fascist nor is it anywhere near any of those; and the fact that you claim this clearly shows your lack of credible information and lack of an education (which would have allowed you to understand that western media is nothing more but slander). Russia is very democratic contrary to popular belief. There are issues in the country, as in every other developed country (You think th US is problem-free?). The fact that protests are broken up is nothing new, not new in Russia and not new in the rest of the world (ever heard of the G-8 protests or WTO protests?). Before you go spreading your non sense get updated on the issue at hand!


Always seeking backing from the USA what a great leader this Kasparov is!He forgets the fact that Russia is not Georgia.Maybe you cant call Putin regime a democracy,but oligarkhs and speculator(!)s supporting opposition is really worse than that.Lets make it clear.People from the East dont want your puppet governments with economies ruled by Western companies.You just want to bring democracy huh?What an holy ideal i'm gonna start crying.With all my respect for Kasparov as the greatest chess player of all times,he is nothing but a pawn of the USA now.And thats why he is gonna lose this battle against Putin.

"Many protest his taking the land from the settlers, yet few made the same outcry when Cecil Rhodes took the land from the Africans."

I apologize for not making that outcry. My time machine only goes back to 1903 and Cecil Rhodes died in 1902. Some would say that the era in which events took place probably have more to do with lack of public outcry but I refuse to let things like that stand in the way of political grandstanding.

My two visits to Russia confirms that it has a long way to go before it can achieve fair and functional democracy. Putin may not be the best leader to achieve that. But going by Kasparov's conduct and attitude as the chess leader over the last twenty years or so, it seems that he fits in the same species of dictatorial leaders that Russia (and Soviet Union) has had in the last 70 years or so. Also, it seems ironical when Kasparov talks about democracy and fairness when his actions as a chess leader were anything but democratic and fair. Having said all that, he is entitled to voice his opposition and should be entitled to participate in the Russian politics without fear of arrest or violent retribution.

It seems Kasparov didn't make it to St Petersburg today, at least he's not mentioned being there:


And this site


goes into details:

"Kasparov was fined 1,000 rubles ($39) and released shortly after midnight Moscow time, his spokeswoman Natalya Morar said in a telephone interview today. Kasparov missed the train to St. Petersburg where a similar march took place today, she said."

But surely, if he has a spokeswoman he must have a car and a driver, so missing the train sounds rather dumb.

There is blatant hypocrisy all over this blog. The west demonizes Mugabe, but they have supported people far worse than Mugabe (and helped topple democratic governments) because they suited their interests at the time. The difference here is that Mugabe has dispossessed white settlers of the land, so therein lies the rationale for the sanctions. It IS a 100-year old issue.

Mugabe may have made some strategic errors in his implementation. He distributed the land to those who did not have the implements and technology to commercialize the farming industry whereas the settler farmers had the full support of the west and all of their capital support. When Mugabe's policy went into effect, capital flight occurred and capital investment stopped.

"Self-righteousness" should be labeled on those who say that Zimbabweans should give up their indigenous land because they don't know what to do with it. I've heard that argument too. If we took the time to read the history of Zimbabwe, then we can understand the issue in its context. On go back to Cecil Rhodes... he wanted to build an empire from Cape Coast to Cairo and named two countries after himself (now Zimbabwe and Zambia).

Basil Davidson's old video segment 'The Bible and the Gun' in the 8-part AFRICA series documents Rhodes' conquest of South Africa and the Zimbabwean region. It gives a good foundation of the land problem in Zimbabwe. Most of the media reports will not recount the historical context. I recently participated in a conference with a Zimbabwean banker. He was quite impressive and his presentation was subtitled in Chinese which tells should tell us a few things.

For Christ's sake, what does Rhodes have to do with anything? The Victorian Era is long gone, in case you haven't noticed. Displacing people is wrong, but at some point we cease being responsible for the wrongs committed by our great-great-grandparents.


That's such an escapist attitude. FYI, Zimbabwe became independent only in 1980 from the British. That is 27 years. Probably less time that you have been living.

The reason Cecil J. Rhodes (considered a philanthropist in the west) came up is simple... this blog mentioned Zimbabwe and compared its condition with Russia and other troubled nation-states. You cannot separate Rhodes' murderous, land-grabbing legacy from the current situation of Zimbabwe.

While Rhodes self-enriching legacy was different than Soviet Union's Vladimir Lenin, history has an enduring quality and people do not forget so easily. You certainly would not forget if your great-great grandfather was robbed of his land or perhaps murdered trying to protect it.

Displacing and destroying people in Mashonaland and Matabeleland was more than wrong (as you put it). It was a crime and Mugabe is paying for clumsily trying to correct it. One can argue that two wrongs don't make a right, yet it is the first wrong that we need to examine critically... and one that the world has not examined.


Rhodes is viewed as a philanthropist because he was one. I don't think he is commonly viewed as a humanitarian. Alfred Nobel is another philanthropist who made his money in ways that also had undesirable effects.

The Shona and Ndebele were not exactly living in peace when 'white' 'settlers' came to the area between the Limpopo and Zambezi rivers. 'Displacing and destroying people in Mashonaland and Matabeleland' was not only a white activity. Remember that the Ndebele are just a settler faction of the Zulu who arrived in Zimbabwe in the 1830's and did a lot of harm to the Shona.

It's funny that 'blacks' who colonize other parts of Africa are never called 'settlers', but 'whites' never seem to gain legitimacy as Africans.

And just remember what you and your ancestors did in colonizing America, in terms of 'first wrongs'.

Now as for agriculture, 'settler farmers had the full support of the west and all of their capital support'? Commercial farmers, mostly 'white' and by then certainly not settlers, had virtually no capital support from the west, simply because the Zimbabwe $ has never been convertible. The domestic banking system was adequate to support seasonal credit required for farming, and farming was a nett earner of hard currency.

Mugabe is not trying to redress historical wrongs. If he wanted to do that, he would give way to more competent people. His efforts are just plain old-fashioned clinging to power at any cost.

What a load of historical garbage.

Actually, no, if my great-grandfather was killed or robbed of his land (as in fact nearly all of them were by the invading German forces by WWII) I would certainly not hold this sin against any descendants of the Nazis or average modern-day Germans.

If you want to talk about the original historical wrong, how about the colonization of Ndebele by the Shona throughout the nineteenth century? Is that the zero or minus-one wrong that we need to examine critically? For that matter, since there has been warfare in this world as long as there have been men should we not look through fossil record to see if the Shona have the original right to Zimbabwe or if perhaps somebody else does?

Daaim continues to make excuses for Mugabe, insisting that all of his bad actions are simply clumsy error in attempt to correct history. The possibility that there could be a corrupt immoral and incompetent leader is not acknowledged. The fact that majority of land has been turned over to politically connected friends of Mugabe or leaders of assorted militias is never admitted.

And I have no idea why anyone would argue that the world has not examined of what you call the original wrong. I dare you to find one person posting here who is unaware of colonial history of Africa and nobody here has posted in support of Cecil Rhodes.

"FYI, Zimbabwe became independent only in 1980 from the British."

FYI, Zimbabwe has become a self-governing colony in 1923. And Ian Smith's government, which you, (correctly, I might add) criticize, declared full independence in 1965. The racist white spot that was the government of Rhodesia was in hostilities with its African neighbors, its own population and Britain until eventually it was forced to reform. So, Britain briefly retook control of Zimbabwe in 1979 to hold new elections which were, among other effects designed to enfranchise the majority and led to Mugabe becoming the leader of the country.

Why post misleading info like Zimbabwe only became independent from UK in 1980? Might as well point out that Queen Elizabeth is still head of state in Canada and Australia as a sign of continuing British colonialism.

Oops, third paragraph should read Shona by the Ndebele, not the other way around.


My ancestors are African. What do you mean my ancestors colonized America?

On capital investment in Zimbabwe and convertibility... there are so many ways to invest in a country without the methods you described. Your comment is surprising.

I would agree that Mugabe has been in power much, much too long. His leadership has become ineffectual in my opinion. He has made strategic mistakes, but to shift the blame is still an escapist mentality and takes the issue off of the colonizers and squares the blame on those who lost an entire country at the hands of the Gatling gun.

As you may know, the settlers exploited this animosity between African ethnic groups with great effect. You're right about the Matabeles/Nbdeles and the Shona, but to compare African regional wars with foreign colonial expansion is quite absurd.


You state it is historic garbage, but where is the error?

I'm not going to argue about what you would do because that is really not the point. Your assertion that the issue of Rhodes has been examined because no one has argued in support of him is terribly flawed. That proves nothing. Why then did Zimbabwe only get independence in 1980? Have the indigenous Zimbabweans ever been paid reparations from the Rhodes estate?

Mugabe was never a problem to the west until his land policy. He has been in power since independence... in 1980, not 1923 or 1965. You're good at reading Wikipedia, but you are still in error attempting to argue Zimbabawe. You also report selectively and you leave out key points. You said "self-governing" colony in 1923 which still means colonialism... under British rule.

When Ian Smith was in power, it was Southern Rhodesia and not Zimbabwe. He did not declare independence for all of Rhodesia, but stated clearly that it was meant for the settlers. I have footage of him making these very statements... with unflattering comments about democracy for the majority Blacks. I am talking about independence for the indigenous people, not settlers.

When you state that most people on this blog know the history of Africa, I would demur. Most people here are unaware of the Zimbabwean history that we're speaking about and most are unaware of African history in general. For example, you believe Zimbabwe proclaimed independence in 1923 or 1965. I've checked your comments and they are paraphrased from Internet sources that you've misquoted. How can you seriously argue that Zimbabwe was independent in 1923 or 1965?

I won't argue about the Queen because she is the Head-of-State of many Commonwealth nations. While a ceremonial role, yes it is still a symbol of colonialism. I see you mentioned Canada and Australia, but didn't mention Jamaica in that bunch. Why not?

The point is that Zimbabwe has a history complicated by a variety of issues. The Rhodes legacy played a big role and this issue is not discussed in the mass media. Anyone who has studied the history of the region will understand the ramifications of the Rhodes-Smith legacy. The impact this history had on today's "land question" is undeniable.

Kasparov claims that Russia is descending (has descended) back to the old-Soviet era. Putin's Russia has a decidedly different history, but it a horse of another color. No pun intended.


Descendents of Africans have no more right to be in America than descendents of Europeans, on a settler-colonists- rights of the local population model. I don't know you and your genealogy in particular. Surely some of your ancestors are not African? Aren't most African-Americans descendents of both slaves and of slave-owners.

I'm sure I know more about the economics of agricultural production in Zimbabwe than you. Access to foreign capital has not been a necessary part of it in the past 50 years at least. There is a foreign currency quota for agricultural inputs (more than paid for by agricultural exports). Most farmers borrow locally to meet seasonal cash-flow needs.

The periods of not-quite independence after 1923 and after 1965 were not simply a matter of Britain choosing to leave a racist system in place, when they could have decided otherwise. For many reasons Britain had limited long-range power. First among these was the overriding cold war issue. Also the practical issue that labor-type prime ministers (Harold Wilson) were less than admired by the military establishment. The military leadership refused to countenance any idea of overthrowing Smith by force.

Certainly, from 1965 there was no British rule until the then 'Zimbabwe-Rhodesia' government capitulated and handed authority back to Britain to oversee transitional rule under Lord Soames, with several thousand British military peacekeepers and election advisors sent out.

When Ian Smith was in power it was Rhodesia (not Southern Rhodesia), after adoption of a republican constitution. His was definitely a sovereign (national) declaration of independence, not just for the 'settlers'. In fact there was a qualified franchise system to permit blacks to vote (unlike in South Africa), i.e. to function within the same system. Although Smith's intention was certainly not that black majority rule would come anytime soon.

"Mugabe was never a problem to the west until his land policy"... well he was a problem in his early days massacres of Ndebele. Then he was relatively OK at least on a human rights front. Then his land policy was legitimately a problem. Now he is criticized for much more than the land issue.

I do not know where Yuriy got his information from, but I think he got it right. Surely you are also using published information, and perhaps being selective with it.

"Eventually Mr. Kasparov was fined $38 and released. He said he would appeal the charges."
-- NY Times article

How much is that in local currency?? You don't even get Fritz for that.

A tiny detail - African colonization was aided by the Maxim gun, not the Gatling gun, for example in the "Matabele War".

"Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not"

There's a video of the incident at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzKhQWVb5-A in case you're interested.


You made exactly the point I intended. My point was that the method you suggest was not needed and there are many, many other ways to raise "capital" than through the international banking system or foreign exchange. The demands for a convertible currency are minimized when you have a wealth of natural resources. You can accomplish a lot through countertrading as well. I'm not sure of your knowledge of agriculture/agribusiness, but I am also not sure you have more knowledge on the matter. Why does that matter in the context of this discussion?

I'm not sure why you are even making this point about Blacks here. Sheesh. You are pretending not to know that Blacks did not come here with a colonizing intent. Then you say "no right to be here" which is a different issue.

Everything you explained on Zimbabwe ("Southern" Rhodesia to distinguish from Zambia) can readily be found in an abundance of literature, but it still spells one thing... that Blacks were not free people under settler rule. That is free and clear. All this mess about transitional rule and republican constitution were only methods to leave the economic power in the hands of the minority settlers on fertile land.

If we have to discuss why the foreign invaders/rulers were deciding on voting rights or independence for Zimbabwe when, where and why, then therein lies the problem. This is why Mugabe (rightly or wrongly) has decided to deal with the land question. What people on earth want to be ruled by invaders or settlers?

Your quote is correct, but they still had the Gatling gun.

"Mugabe is paying for clumsily trying to correct it."

CLUMSILY? HTF is killing thousands of people in massacres 'clumsy'? I guess you'd say Pol Pot was *really* clumsy? For goodness sake.

Does anyone know for what was Kasparov fired 38$? Does making an unsanctioned demosntration cost that little?

Here is an article that explains why Kasparov's behavior and intentions seem bizarre to most people in Russia and why he is in the small minority in terms of political sentiment. According to the article, Kasparov's rosie talk about bringing 'democracy' may simply mean a return to corruption and oligarchy.


> In the US and Western Europe, if you stage a large protest at an unapproved site you've got a good chance of being arrested too (and manhandled in the process).

In the US, Western Europe and other non-authoritarian states, if you apply to stage a large protest and are denied by the state authorities you have recourse to the courts and probably your application will get approved. Not so in Putin's Russia, which is demonstrating the same disregard of local and international public opinion shown by all tinpot tyrants around the world.

The question is, which is the bigger tragedy, that the US is essentially powerless to do anything about Russia's slide into authoritarianism, or that we as a people are more interested in who fathered Anna Nicole's baby girl or who'll get knocked off American Idol next? I submit, with GeneM in a post to a previous piece on this, that when a comedy TV channel hosts more hard international news than the networks we're cruising for a real bruising.

Here's another piece by Mr. Brockwell from the American Chronicle, whatever that is, just for your amusement: http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=23161

Of course it's not debatable whether Britain is a democracy. Howitt, you're an idiot. Thanks for making that clear beyond any debate.


Yes Mr Cox... if that really is you! I think you should maybe stop the comfort eating and look at the facts- that's what lawyers are supposed to do right? There are numerous examples of rigged British elections and surpression of freedom of speech.

These days I doubt whether I fully understand the meaning of word "democracy".
"Bomb them to democracy" ((C) Bush) or "To democracy-with skinheads and bolsheviks" ((C) Kasparov) both are a little bit odd(to me at least).

if you want to learn more about "democracy" you should read either Platon or the speeches of Dr. Josef Mueller (nicknamed "The Ochsensepp") - no - i'm not jokin'!


I'm more worried about our Bulgarian friends. We haven't heard from Dimi, Ovidiu, and the rest of the crew for two or three days, now. Has the FSB silenced them?!!

I think the article at the link below is an interesting take on the situation.


Honnestly, when he was world champ I admired Kasparov as a chess player but had not much respect for the man.

Today things are totally different, there is no chess champ to admire, but a real man is standing. I don't know if Kasparov is taking such risks for his personal goals or for his country. If it's for personal goals he has big balls. If it's for his country he has big balls AND a big heart.

In any case I wish him the best. He had a fantastic career, big notoriety, and choosed to sacrifice everything in a noble fight.

Macuga, when you say about Kasparov that "he's twice as ballsy as any top chess player alive", well ok I totally agree with your idea, but please don't forget Korchnoi :o)

Macuga, when you say about Kasparov that "he's twice as ballsy as any top chess player alive", well ok I totally agree with your idea, but please don't forget Korchnoi :o)

From the piece SonofPearl cites above:

``The ‘organised democracy’ that emerged is authoritarian in its control of the political process.''

So we are all agreed, nyet? Let's have no more debate on that point then.

I'll give you a topic. Any alternative to an authoritarian regime, even a less than perfect one, is good. Discuss among yourselves.

So if I get it correctly...

Organized democracy is totalitarism.
Unorganized democracy is anarchy.

Does it means that semim-organized democracy is democracy?

Bingo, Ruslan. As Winston Churchill noted, it's the worst form of organized government ever tried, except for every other form of organized government that's ever been tried. Having lived under semi-organized democracy for most of my life, I recommend it wholeheartedly.

A little help: who was the chessplayer who said the Queen was his favorite piece when young, when older it was the Knight, but having attained mastery, "democracy reigns in my army?"

Maybe Shirov had a word in Putins ear?

My apologies to everybody who is completely uninterested in Zimbabwe or African history--I have time and time again chosen to withdraw from political debate on chess forum, but I didn't want to do it again this time.

What's your error?

One, you state that Zimbabwe became independent from the British in 1980. To any logical person that would mean that UK controlled Zimbabwe's internal and external policy throughout the twentieth century. Of course, that is not the case. Britain ceded large portion of control over Zimbabwe to the "settlers" in 1923 with internal policy pretty much fully in control of the country's government. In 1965, Zimbabwe declared independence from the UK and over the next 13-14 years conducted external and internal policy completely independent and often hostile to the British interests. ggg correctly points out that what you call independence from the British was in fact the end of a brief period of British monitoring, when they retook control of Zimbabwe in order to conduct new elections. There is nothing I am omitting here which is contradictory to what I said so far.

Two, you insist that the first wrong in Zimbabwe was committed by Rhodes. It hasn't. As ggg and I remind you, the Ndebele tribe that was dominant in the area at the time of Rhodes arrival itself has recently dispossessed and enslaved the Shona population. Yet you seem to show no interest in remedying that historical wrong--you are not insisting that the land be only given to Shona descendants or that Ndebele pay compensation to them. Nor are you willing to acknowledge Mugabe's persecution of his opposition or that his policies led to the plight of poor black Zimbabweans. Your idea of justice here seems to be limited to the idea of racial retribution.

If what I or others would do is not the point, don't ask what we would do if our great-grandfathers were dispossessed or killed. Many people in the West, in the East and in Africa treat history as such, don't treat people based on what their ancestors have done and would rather fix the problems of today. "Examine" in the English language usually means to inspect and evaluate, to judge as good or not. The fact that there are no defenders of Rhodes in the Western world, except for some fringe racists, suggests that history has examined his deeds and found them to be immoral.

You say that Mugabe was never a problem to the west till his land policy. If Mugabe has done nothing wrong prior to that (or even including it) then why should he have been a problem? But your assertion is incorrect. Mugabe actually was first sanctioned in response to his involvement in the Congo war on the side of Laurent Kabila. This was several years prior to "land reform". In fact, most of the recent Western sanctions were placed on Zimbabwe two-plus years after the "land reform", and were not just in response to that--the treatment by Mugabe of the opposition forces and corrupt elections were a major factor. In fact, Mugabe's policies have been getting progressively worse since his election so the placement of sanctions now rather than earlier is perfeclty logical.

"When Ian Smith was in power, it was Southern Rhodesia and not Zimbabwe."

As ggg correctly points out, it was Rhodesia and not Southern Rhodesia, but the issue has no relevance. I refer to it as Zimbabwe so that no reader is confused by what we are talking about.

"You're good at reading Wikipedia, but you are still in error attempting to argue Zimbabawe."

You're good at erroneous rhetoric but not good at guessing that nobody here has any knowledge aside from what they get through reading Wikipedia. For that matter, if this debate goes into more detail, I am sure me and you will both have to look stuff up and there is NOTHING wrong with that.

"you leave out key points. You said "self-governing" colony in 1923 which still means colonialism... under British rule."

If I was leaving out key points, I would have said independence. Self-governing colony does not mean colonialism under British rule--it means, go figure, "self-governing colony," meaning a situation where British control over the country's government was very very limited.

"I am talking about independence for the indigenous people, not settlers."

Independence, especially in the context of colonialism, refers to countries, not people. Nobody says that America declared independence in 1865.

"When you state that most people on this blog know the history of Africa, I would demur."

Nobody is talking about detailed knowledge of history of Africa. I am talking about a very simple fact that everybody knows that all of Africa was colonized at one point or another and everybody knows where the majority of white settlers in Africa comes from and why they have most of the land. That it may not be stated at the beginning of every column on the current situation in Zimbabwe (and it is in fact stated in many) no more shows ignorance of the situation than not mentioning the history of communism in Russia at the beginning of every article about that country shows ignorance of its past.

"For example, you believe Zimbabwe proclaimed independence in 1923 or 1965. I've checked your comments and they are paraphrased from Internet sources that you've misquoted. How can you seriously argue that Zimbabwe was independent in 1923 or 1965?"

How can you seriously argue that Zimbabwe did not proclaim independence in 1965 is beyond me...or that internal policy of the country was controlled by the UK prior to that...

BTW, please stop this garbage about Internet sources. I have not used Wikipedia or any other online source. I did use an encyclopedia to look up three things: the spelling of Shona and Ndebele, the date of Rhodesian independence and the date that Zimbabwe became self-governed. Is it really that hard for you to acknowledge that other people might know a thing or two? I can't misquote something when I am not quoting anything and it's pretty hard to know what I am paraphrasing by "checking my comments" since the very term paraphrase implies that the wording is different--I am guessing this is a baseless assumption on your part, since nothing I stated would not be repeated in different phrasing in every historical account of Zimbabwe you can find online or elsewhere.

"I see you mentioned Canada and Australia, but didn't mention Jamaica in that bunch. Why not?"

It's not a bunch--a complete list would be pointless so I chose two big members of the Commonwealth, with fairly independent foreign policy, ones which, if still under British control would be a sign of Britain remaining a colonial power.

The original Kasparov comment was pretty clearly not a statement about Mugabe's land reform, but about his treatment of the opposition. Belarus does not have a ethnic minority or majority that's being persecuted but it is renown for crushing opposition parties and marches.


You're right about the Wikipedia comments. That was in poor taste. I apologize.

OK... on forward.

You can list all the technicalities you want, but Zimbabwe became independent in 1980... end of story. You couldn't even make sense of "self-governing colony" in 1923. "Go figure," you say. White settlers proclaimed Rhodesia to be independent from Britain in 1965. I say southern Rhodesia to distinguish between Zambia (northern Rhodesia) since we are discussing Zimbabwe.

I understand your point about the names, but the names "Rhodesia" and "Zimbabwe" are very important distinctions. You do more to confuse people by not making the distinctions. The land called "Zimbabwe" did not exist in 1965. THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT!! If you heard Ian Smith's statement, you'd know he was not talking about independence for the indigenous people.

Ask anyone when Zimbabwe became independent (simple question) and what will they say? They would simply say 1980 and not go into a long explanation about 1923 and 1965. They certainly would not say 1965. Why do Zimbabweans (ones I know in and out of the country) state that they become independent in 1980? Why does all the scholarly literature state the same fact?

"The fact that there are no defenders of Rhodes in the Western world, except for some fringe racists, suggests that history has examined his deeds and found them to be immoral."

No sir. You are so naive and misinformed when you say that no one (but fringe racists!) in the Western world defends Cecil Rhodes. He has a very prestigious university scholarship named for him here in the U.S. and the story is that he made it good as a successful businessman in African gold prospecting, created a financial empire and willed his fortune, thus a philanthropist. The scholarship recipients (I know a few) are awarded a nice package which includes residence at the prestigious Oxford University. I'm sure you know this. He is lauded as a hero. As I said, people DO NOT know this history and Rhodes impact on the current situation in Zimbabwe.

In all of this, what I am really saying is that Rhodes' action of ultimately robbing both the Shona and Matabele (and renaming the region) precipitated Mugabe's actions some 100 years later. That is my point.

You state:

"If what I or others would do is not the point, don't ask what we would do if our great-grandfathers were dispossessed or killed. Many people in the West, in the East and in Africa treat history as such, don't treat people based on what their ancestors have done and would rather fix the problems of today."


You posit a peaceful world where most people do not judge anyone based on what ancestors did. I know that is the you would LIKE to see it, but is not the reality.

My point about mentioning Jamaica (and your answer) shows you make omission to suit your points. You certainly chose the largest members of the Commonwealth because you know they are powerful nations capable of withstanding any colonial influence. You cannot say that about Jamaica and the other countries because the colonial influence is still very much present in these smaller countries. Do you know that "A" level exams in some Commonwealth nation are still sent to England to be graded?

Zimbabwe was such another country who could not withstand colonial influence until the situation was no longer tenable. As I said (I believe to ggg), methods of political transition used by the Rhodesian settlers were only to delay complete independence so they could consolidate their financial control. Nothing was done for the benefit of Blacks in Zimbabwe, but only to maintain economic control over the country.

Of course independent Zimbabwe still had colonial influence. A modern economy, use of English language, hospitals, schools, university, productive agricultural sector, efficient police and judiciary, all were inherited from the 'colonist' 'settlers'. Also a financial, legal and property ownership system.

By the way, 'settlers' are humans and more complex than you may think. 'Nothing was done for the benefit of Blacks in Zimbabwe'? Maybe this shows something about your own relentless prejudice, Daaim. Zimbabwe (the area of land) came a long way from 1893 to 1980. It did not start off as a politically just utopia.

Taking white-owned farms and giving them to political cronies precipitating food shortages was a great way to show independent political thought.

Many politicians in many countries are evil, ignorant and corrupt. Mugabe is one of the worst. He destroyed Zimbabwe, after 1980, out of his own disregard for "the benefit of Blacks in Zimbabwe, but only to maintain economic control over the country". Don't patronize Mugabe by looking for a big bad white guy to blame (Rhodes). Rhodes was a classical robber-baron of the times, but his aim was to build. Mugabe is his own independent tin-pot despot.

"I'll give you a topic. Any alternative to an authoritarian regime, even a less than perfect one, is good. Discuss among yourselves."

When given a choice, many people would pick an authoritarian regime that provides a better economy, lower crime and relative social security to a liberal government that is too weak to provide these. In times of war and crisis almost all governments become more autoritarian out of necessity.

Yes zhorik. I am sure that to an average russian a Putin authoritaizm is much better than Yeltzin democracy.
It would be very nice if our russian friends in the forum gave us their detailed view on the picture, because they indeed know the matters better than anyone else.

Garry Kasparov, the greatest chessplayer of our time and an even better advocate for human rights. Thank you, Garry. You have earned all my respect and I congratulate you on your courage. In part because of you, the world is finally waking up to the of Putin's autocratic movements.

As I understand it, the point of the fine is so they can imprison Kasparov if he is arrested again for the same offence. Perhaps someone who is familiar with the Russian legal system could confirm this?


I know settlers are humans... who took the land of others.

You're missing the point. A lot was done in Zimbabwe, but none of it was done for the betterment of the indigenes. The building of the infrastructure was done to create a viable mechanism for feeding the colonial power the resources it needed... and for creating a comfortable living environment for the settlers.

Yes... the food shortages were a disaster and again Mugabe created the conditions for this instability. You still say white-owned farms, but it was stolen land. This is a point you've missed and again one that has precipitated Mugabe's "land policy." Mugabe made some ill-advised decisions in his land policy and with his clash with the Matabeles. He has admitted this folly.

There is no need to look for a bad, WHITE guy. It wouldn't make a different if he were purple or green and from outer space. Rhodes plundering of Africa is a matter of history and the colonization of Africa is a fact. It created tremendous hardship, suffering and death. South Africa suffered immeasurably as a result of these interlopers and still suffers from the residual effects of a system created by Rhodesian minions.

Why do YOU patronize Rhodes and Ian Smith by saying they were only trying to build? Rhodes aim was to build, but so was Hitler's... at the expense of other civilizations. Rhodes was trying to build; Africans were trying to survive. Rhodes' Cape to Cairo plan was evidence of his 'Manifest Destiny' and certainly he would have bulldozed his way, killing millions if he had to. Only to you is building at the expense of a civilization acceptable.

Daaim and others complaining about Smith's regime, any comments on what has happened to native Americans, since the Europeans arrived?

Detailed human history, meaning we know the names, covers at least 3 millenia, and the one constant is that humans, as individuals and groups, have always been driven by a mix of complex emotions: fear, courage, greed, compassion, anger, hate, love, etc. The noble victims of one era, were or become the vicious oppressors in another. In fact, the universal ability of all peoples to act across the spectrum of behavior proves that delineations by nationality, ethnicity, race (whatever that means), color, language, cultural heritage, religious beliefs, etc. are poor vehicles for predicting the progression of civilization.

Rather than wasting all of your intellect on debating this thread, you would do better to spend your time playing some chess! Trust me, its a fun game.

I can't believe DS keeps describing Mugabe's behavior in such mundane terms as "Mugabe made some ill-advised decisions in his land policy and with his clash with the Matabeles. He has admitted this folly."

"Ill-advised decisions?" I wonder who advised him to commit the slaughter of thousands? Why not just admit this guy is a butcher who does a few things that you like? Maybe he'll put up autobahns next.


First of all, thank you for your apology.

I don’t understand why you try to claim that Zimbabwe first became independent in 1980. Ian Smith proclaimed independence for this land, whatever you want to call it, in 1965. For the next 14 years the country was in no way governed or controlled by the British. You can make a lot of qualifying statements such as that Zimbabwe was called Rhodesia back then or that the new government was not majority-run or that it was an apartheid regime which ignored the interests of the blacks—none of this changes the fact that the country was independent from the United Kingdom’s governance.

You misinterpret my statement about “self-governing colony…go figure”. I said “go figure” because think the terms are self-explanatory. Self-governing means that the colony’s internal affairs were managed by the colony’s government, not by the UK and colony means that it was still a part of the United Kingdom.

I understand that Rhodesia is the name of the racist regime of Smith and other “descendants” of Rhodes and that Zimbabweans do not like their country referred to as such. But it’s not particularly relevant to the issues we were discussing. It’s the same land and it becomes independent at a given point regardless of what it’s called.

I am not surprised that Zimbabweans or at least black Zimbabweans consider their country to have become independent in 1980. There is probably an official holiday commemorating the event and that is also when the black Zimbabweans first became involved in the country’s government after over 100 years of white rule. I would guess that while scholarly literature may state that Zimbabwe became independent in 1980, it also states that it also became independent in 1965 and that the British hold on the territory was very loose for over 40 years before that.

“No sir. You are so naive and misinformed when you say that no one (but fringe racists!) in the Western world defends Cecil Rhodes.”

Allow me to rephrase what I said. Nobody is defending Cecil Rhodes’s (and European governments generally speaking) treatment of Africans and colonialization of Africa. Again, I ask, if an average Westerner is told that there are rich white settlers in Zimbabwe, in possession of large tracts of land, do they not know how they got there and whose descendants they are? Does the Western world defend what Rhodes did in Africa?

“You posit a peaceful world where most people do not judge anyone based on what ancestors did. I know that is the you would LIKE to see it, but is not the reality.”

No. I did not say “most”. I said many. I know many many more hold on to tribe mentality, wherein you hold hundred-year old ills against people who had nothing to do with them, who judge others by what unrelated individuals of the same background did, etc. But the way to take a step against them and towards the peaceful world you describe above, is to adopt that attitude yourself.

“My point about mentioning Jamaica (and your answer) shows you make omission to suit your points. You certainly chose the largest members of the Commonwealth because you know they are powerful nations capable of withstanding any colonial influence. You cannot say that about Jamaica and the other countries because the colonial influence is still very much present in these smaller countries. Do you know that "A" level exams in some Commonwealth nation are still sent to England to be graded?”

Not the A-levels…the horror.

Look, you completely miss the content in which I “omitted” Jamaica. It wasn’t even that Britain is no longer a colonial power, it was to qualify the following statement as misleading: “Queen Elizabeth still being head of state in Canada and Australia is a sign of continuing British colonialism.” I could have mentioned Jamaica, New Zealand, Gibraltar… (in fact, I originally did list Canada and New Zealand) but more than 2 countries is just repetitive. I chose two territories which, if they were still under British control, would greatly increase Britain’s power.

“methods of political transition used by the Rhodesian settlers were only to delay complete independence so they could consolidate their financial control. Nothing was done for the benefit of Blacks in Zimbabwe, but only to maintain economic control over the country.”

Well, I doubt that economic control by “settlers” changed much during Smith rule and the rest of transition—it was total in 1965 (and has been for a while before that) and total in 1979.

You confuse the issue of independence with the issue of equality/enfranchisement/majority rule. The two were in fact on the opposite sides. British were pressing for a government in which blacks would be represented. White Rhodesians proclaimed independence to avoid this. It’s actually pretty true that the most oppressive regimes (race-wise) in both America and Africa were the ones most independent (or ones which got independence earliest) from Europe.

Daaim, you mentioned Hitler first. Go to your room and take a timeout.


Interesting. I must admit... your last post clarified many points you were attempting to make earlier. Thanks.

However, we do not agree on the sovereignty issue. Maybe we can come to a mutual understanding though. There is a land issue and a sovereignty issue... different in context of this argument. The sovereignty of Zimbabwe is not the same before it become fully independent (in 1980) if it is still ruled in some way (however distant) by the colonizer or managed by the colonizing nation. You made an important distinction about the 1965 case in which the UK wanted Black inclusion and the Smith regime declared independence in response (since most of Africa already had won "flag" independence).

While you claim that the country was made sovereign when independence was declared in 1965 (for the settlers), the land still was controlled by the settlers and Blacks were still dispossessed. That is the crux of the land issue. A few settlers controlled 70% of the land. The land is certainly the same land, but sovereignty without land means nothing. That is why we have the situation we have today in Zimbabwe... whether we like it or not.


You're crazy! (smile)


Why do you want me to label Mugabe as a butcher? Would that appease you? At least he has admitted his mistakes while western leaders still think progress is being made in Iraq (after killing and maiming hundreds of thousands in a phony war). Do you label Bush as a butcher? Even if you do, the major media outlets including BBC, Sky News, and CNN tend to personalize leaders they do not like, but those they do like (e.g., Bush and Blair), they attribute their mistakes (and atrocities) to ill-advised government policies. You want a double standard. Even Putin is not referred to as a butcher, but Kasparov does compare his regime with Hitler's Nazism.

That's twice. Sorry koster!


The Ndebele were settlers who were human and took the land of others.

All sorts of people were running around 'colonizing' in those days. It is not uniquely unforgivably bad just becuse whites took from blacks, rather than blacks from blacks or blacks from whites.

I never said Rhodes and Smith were ONLY trying to build. Rhodes was trying to build, and to make a pot load of money for himself. A Bill Gates of his time. Smith was trying to build a society, not just for whites, certainly under an unacceptable timetable for racial equality. But he was not a monster driven only by some wealth for colonial powers ideology.

Its too bad that you bring Hitler into it. That spoils any semblance of a reasoned analysis of the various people involved.

The funny thing is that, Daaim, you are a settler living in a colonized land. Does that make you one-dimensionally selfish? You are also a full participant in the world's greatest imperialistic power. Or is that just other peoples responsibility? Maybe your property rights mean nothing because anything you have is the result of your ancestors' theft from native Americans.

And don't bore me with the line that your ancestors are Africans who came involuntarily through slavery. I'm sure you are also descended from slave owners, Puritans and all sorts of folk like that.

The bottom line is that the people of Zimbabwe are suffering immeasurably because of Mugabe, not because of Smith or Rhodes. A better person than Mugabe, one with more intelligence, humanity, and judegement, could have taken the Zimbabwe of 1980 and turned it into a far better place today than it is. The leaders of South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique have all done better. Mugabe is the failure.


Sovereignity is one thing and land ownership is another. Colonialism is a third, roughly equal to sovereignity, but may be roughly defined as "control and ownership by an oversea country". (in some cases though not oversea since I remember Namibia being called the last African colony) Rule by descendants of settlers from another area does not equal colonialism or lack of sovereignity--if it does, probably none of the world is sovereign and all of it is a colony (including Europe).
Inclusion in the government without land does mean something (and actually quite a lot) because it allows for institution of reforms to change the situation (as far as land and as far as other stuff).


First... you compare Cecil Rhodes to Bill Gates. The major difference is HOW they accomplished their fortune.

Second... you missed the point about Hitler. I brought Hitler in based on the statement you made ('trying to build'). Because you are trying to build something does not make it an acceptable act if you are destroying and exterminating other people in the process... which is what Rhodes did.

Third... you call ME a colonizing settler supporting an imperial empire. What an infantile argument!

Fourth, you bring my ancestors in the picture. Why do you bring in personal references to someone's background whom you don't know? It's not relevant and it's quite rude.

As long as you cut a major historical root from Zimbabwe, you will continue to wonder why the tree is sick. We have to look at everything in its proper context which includes Shona/Matabele-Rhodes-Smith-Mugabe eras. They are all related, but you are looking at the history as mutually-exclusive events. Only a holistic approach will help Zimbabwe rid itself of its socioeconomic ills.

ggg... "doing better" and "failure" is all relative.

Wow, I learned a lot about Zimbabwe history (at least in the view of DS, YK, and ggg) by reading this thread about Kasparov's arrest. Amazing.

Thanks guys.

> Rather than wasting all of your intellect on debating this thread, you would do better to spend your time playing some chess! Trust me, its a fun game.

rp: The thing is, at least some of us here are better at debating than at chess -- which should tell you something about our games. ;)

zhorik, PlayJunior: I'd agree many people, and not just Russians, and including many in "the West," would rather live under a "stable" authoritarianism than under a less-so democracy -- at least as long the authoritarians don't come after them. But one lesson of history is that authoritarianism is less stable than democracy over the long term. As someone wiser than I once said, those who would trade a little liberty for a little security deserve neither.

Returning to the original topic after a long detour via Zimbabwe I'll try to leave politics aside and look at the matter from a practical point of view.
So Garry K decided to play a Boris Gulko circa 1980 and posed for the NYT camera man while being politely "manhandled" by the police. Nothing new there. We get to see this every week here in SF, the home of antiwar protest marches.
During his "arrest" Garry was in no more physical danger, than say Medea Benjamin was during her 42(I hope I got the number right, but it doesn't matter) arrests, every and each of those nothing but a PR stint.
I guess, those liberal wimps wouldn't tempt the cops if there were real risk involved.
I always admired Garry a chessplayer, but this...
A World Champion whose face is instantly recognizable all over the world, a grey-haired man in his 40's, well-dressed and all, is led by the scruff of his neck by a riot cop? What glory is to be found in it? It's not like Garry had his door kicked in in the middle of the night and was whisked away in an unmarked black van never to be seen again. Street rallies are for bored kids and half-crazed derelicts from the 60's.
What next, one of those pathetic die-ins?

And now, a serious question. What is Garry's political vision? I think it's Clintonite Global Village with Bush-like nuclear muscle, but then how does an average Russian fit in it?

Stonewaller, I agree completely: democracy is the choice in the long term.
Problem is that different people understand democracy in differnent ways. Especially-when it concerns Russia.
Democracy under Yeltzin, for West, meant "freedom of speach", while for others it was: random people robbing random millions here and there. Berezovsky, Khadarkovsy, and so many others whom I don't know/remember. For West it was ok-they had their share in these robberies, and could also throw dirt on government from the screens of TV!
In my opinion, that was anarchy in pure form: a president who was drunk most of the time, and no one knew what is he going to do next. No one knew who is taking decisions.
And now there is Putin. Probably it is something like authoritarism in Russia, with "president Putin" taking half of the time in major news channels(as if there is nothing happening other than what he does).
In a country like Russia, IHMO, anarchy is much worse than authoritarism. If you have anarchy, and you are moving to democracy, probably authoritarism is something that is very likely to happen "en route".
So. What is doing Kasparov? He collects 5000 people, pensioners, people who have nothing to do or nowhere to go, maybe-nothing to lose. Extremists, neo-faschists, bolsheviks...And says-let's make a democracy.
THIS indeed is worse than any form of authoritarism. Because if you rely on such people, and then you win, you HAVE TO give them something.
Another note I would like to make is that 5000 people for a city like Moscow is ridiculus. You can gather 5000 poeple there for barely ANYTHING. That means that Kasparov has virtually NO support in population. This make things more contrasted because Western news name him "opposition leader". Go figure that out, opposition leader, demonstration, Moscow, 5000 people. To me its self-evident that they(West) just want back the anarchy, when they in fact had more control over Russia. Indeed, they will never tell you that, so you will always hear the magic words "fighting for democracy" in the news.
And I agree with Yermo completely.


Let's persist a little longer. 'It's all relative'. Yes, Mugabe is relatively worse than other African leaders in Southern Africa. Mugabe is relatively closer to Hitler than Rhodes was. At least Mugabe is responsible for actual pogroms.

'Only a holistic approach will help Zimbabwe rid itself of its socioeconomic ills..'

Well, it's too late to remove Rhodes and Smith from positions of power. A big part of a holistic solution would be Libyan exile for Mugabe.

And Daaim, some may call it infantile, but it is true nonetheless, that you ARE a colonizing settler supporting an imperial empire. Just shows that not all settlers are bad people, right?

Good points, PlayJunior, but I wouldn't discout the power of 5,000 or even fewer people to make change in Russia. I seem to recall from my reading of history one man who arrived in Petrograd on a closed train in 1917 who later had some impact on politics there. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Lenin.gif) ;)

At this point it's clear to me Kasparov should be in Zimbabwe protesting instead of Russia. The only question that hasn't been settled is whether he should be protesting for or against Mugabe.

How about this: Garry plays a match with Mugabe, the winner gets Zimbabwe, Kalmykia and a pesthole to be named later. Do you think Kirsan would organize it?

I take it Mugabe plays with black and English Opening is out of the question?

and confiscate the white horses before play commences


How you figure that Mugabe is bent on some colonizing mission for his own interests is beyond me. You apparently don't know the amount of death and suffering that Rhodes had caused in someone else's land. He literally had an expansion dreams of colonizing an entire continent.

Me being a colonizing settler... I've leave you to your own definitions, but it proves to me that you don't even understand the definition. You have contradicted your earlier arguments.

I couldnt resist: "How you figure that Mugabe is bent on some colonizing mission for his own interests is beyond me."

hah??? Its blatently clear to me (and I guess a few hundred million others who follow current affairs with some degree of neutrality) that Mugabe is acting in his own interests. Cracking up his opponents heads and clearing slums by the neat trick of pretending they aren't there and clearing them up with bulldozers arent altruistic gestures surely?


You have great persistence at trying to pin things on people that they did not say. I did not say that Mugabe is a colonizing settler. I said that you, Daaim, are a colonizing settler, in common with all the non-native Americans of the USA.

I said that Mugabe is a useless, incompetent and corrupt leader who is acting against the interests of the people (of all colors and let's say 'linguistic groups' as you may well not like the word 'tribes').

I also said that the Ndebele are colonizing settlers.

And that settlers (even you) are not intrinsically 100% evil people. Also that Rhodes and Smith and all the present-day leaders of surrounding African countries are better people and better builders and leaders than Mugabe.

Mugabe caused a lot of death and suffering. Now I think about it, I did not SAY he is colonizing settler, but on the other hand his depredations into Matabeleland, it could be argued ...


No... you said Mugabe had more in common with Hitler than Rhodes did, but Rhodes was a colonizer as was Hitler. You just admitted that Mugabe was not. Hitler wanted to colonize Europe and use eugenics to create a sociopolitical empire. Rhodes wanted to colonize the whole of Africa and create an socioeconomic empire from Cape Coast to Cairo. Mugabe's situation is limited to Zimbabwe only.

If you say that the Ndbeles are colonizing settlers, are you saying Mugabe (a Shona) was correct in targeting the Ndbeles (colonizers from from South Africa) to protect his land??? If so, your entire arguments have been invalidated. My only point is that Mugabe's actions have a precedent... and that precedent is the history of Rhodes and Smith.

Next point.

Your comparisons of Rhodes and Smith with Mugabe is laughable. Mugabe is trying to hold on to his country... and survive. Rhodes and Smith left their homeland to make a fortune at the expense of the indigenous African people and took their land in the process. How can you validate your statement about which African leader is a better builder than Mugabe? "Better" is all relative.

If we want to talk about colonizing settlers, there are bigger and badder people on the planet than either Mugabe and Putin (combined). Bush is also acting against the interests of the people... he has also sent troops to a foreign land. More than 300,000 Iraqis have been killed and America has attempted to colonize for geoeconomic resources (as did Rhodes in Africa for diamonds and gold).

No, I don't think Mugabe is right to target Ndebeles, even though like you they are colonists.

Mugabe has in common with Hitler his use of violence against targetted groups of people.

Mugabe is not trying to hold onto 'his' country, he is not a legitimate leader anymore and it isn't 'his'. Trying to survive, yes.

And yes, your co-settler Bush is a geoeconomic colonizer. Thanks for pointing that out.

By the way Smith was born in Rhodesia.

Hey Mig,

I have a friend, who is 2200+. He found out only yesterday that Kaspy was arrested last week (a friend who does not play chess told him).

I wondered how it was possible he did not hear of it previously. He said he only listens to NPR for news, and reads the local paper (Detroit Free Press). For chess news, he reads TWIC. I was shocked TWIC did not mention it, but I went there and see nothing.

TWIC covers Fischer when he acts like a lunatic, but not Kasparov when he is arrested? Weird.

Your thoughts?



Your "you are a colonizing settler" mantra is getting a bit tired. This has become a recurrent point in your last several posts which shows that you do not have anything else to say about the topic at hand. Your last post was barely readable.

An open letter to Garry Kasparov:

"...If you get locked up or killed doing your work, there's one thing we can promise you right now: Dmitri Simes will wish he had never been born. Of course, if he's right and you back down after sucking all the oxygen out of the room, we'll be among the first to heap scorn on you."

Read more of it here:

``In Russia, whatever be the appearance of things, violence and arbitrary rule is at the bottom of them all. Tyranny rendered calm by the influence of terror is the only kind of happiness which this government is able to afford its people. If they wish to be recognized by the European nations, and treated as equals, they must begin by submitting to hear themselves judged.'' -- Astolphe-Louis-Léonor, Marquis de Custine (d. 1857), "Empire of the Czar: A Journey Through Eternal Russia"

OK, I admit, Daaim was right:

"Mugabe is trying to hold on to his country... and survive. "

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 14, 2007 12:12 PM.

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