Letter from Harare

 It is now clear that the will of the Zimbabwean people as expressed in the March 29th elections has been ignored and, as a result we find ourselves in the deepest crisis. Hundreds of people: men, women and children have started arriving at foreign embassies in Harare, begging for temporary refuge and humanitarian assistance. First it was the South African embassy, then the American embassy: crowds of people who are cold, tired, homeless, hungry and frightened and who have nowhere else to go and no one to turn to. They don't shout, scream, protest and demand, instead they simply sit down on the roadside and wait patiently for someone to help them. Such is the tragic image of our broken, desperate people that even for those of us living here, the ruination of ordinary lives and the suffering that people are enduring is utterly heartbreaking. Everyday holds tears and trauma and the most common phrase in our lives is: "We are in God's hands." The MDC say that a quarter of a million people have been displaced from their homes since the end of March. It is undoubtable that thousands more have by now fled for our borders and crossed over into Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa - legally and illegally. They have done this to stay alive and unless something happens to change the situation urgently, hundreds of thousands of others will have no choice but to follow the exodus to our borders. This morning, as I write this letter, hundreds upon hundreds of people are crowded outside banks across the country desperately trying to withdraw their own money. This is because most shops no longer accept cheques and the Governor of the Reserve Bank has limited daily withdrawals per person to one hundred billion dollars. With one hundred billion dollars you can, today only, buy just three single blood pressure tablets. Or, today only, you can buy one copy of a local weekly newspaper and two small green onions. In my home town, even if you had the money, there is almost no food left to buy. In the week since Mr. Mugabe was again sworn in as President, our supermarkets have become emptier than ever. There are no dry staple goods at all, no milk or eggs and no wheat or flour. In my home town the main bakery is closed and we've had no bread for over a fortnight. This is why hundreds and thousands of people now have no choice but to leave the country. It is truly a most desperate situation and people from all walks of life are in dire need of help - primarily for food and life preserving medicines but also for shelter and protection. We hear the words from abroad and from the AU, the UN and some of our neighbours but we don't need words, we need help and we need it now, literally to save lives. Until next week, thank you for reading, with love, cathy Copyright cathy buckle 5th July 2008. My books: "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available in South Africa from: books@clarkesbooks.co.za and in the UK from: orders@africabookcentre.com To subscribe/unsubscribe to this newsletter, please write to: cbuckle@mango.zw , For more informetion see: www.cathybuckle.com

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