Saturday, April 19, 2008

Power of the People

Here's a story that I like and shows the power unions can have.
A Chinese ship carrying arms destined for Zimbabwe was last night forced to turn back after South African unions refused to unload it, claiming that to do so would be “grossly irresponsible”, South African media reported.

The reversal is a humiliation for President Mbeki, who had said that the Government was powerless to stop the shipment of three million rounds of AK47 ammunition, 1,500 rocket-propelled grenades and more than 3,000 mortar rounds and mortar tubes to President Mugabe’s armed forces.

It was not clear last night where the ship was now destined, or whether it was trying to deliver the arms by a different route. The retreat, if confirmed, would represent a victory for human rights activists, who had filed a legal petition to block the transfer of the goods, and also for the 300,000-strong South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union, who had said that the arms would worsen the political crisis in Zimbabwe.

“Our members employed at Durban container terminal will not unload this cargo, neither will any of our members in the truck-driving sector move this cargo by road,” Randall Howard, a union spokesman, said.

“South Africa cannot be seen to be facilitating the flow of weapons into Zimbabwe at a time where there is a political dispute and a volatile situation between Zanu (PF) and the MDC [Movement for Democratic Change],” he said.

When people band together they can make a difference

Also of note from the article is that 10 Chinese soldiers have entered Zimbabwe and are traveling with Mugabe's forces. Apparently being involved in the wrong side of human rights in Tibet and Darfur aren't enough. It's kind of surprising though, usually this is the kind of crap that American groups like the CIA get into. Mugabe has refused to release the results of the most recent election and just forced a recount amidst a violent post-election crackdown on the opposition. Unfortunately there is a great likelihood of fraud since the ballot boxes have not been guarded since the election.

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