No Sir, Mr. Mugabe


The New York Times reports that "Queen Elizabeth II has stripped Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's strongman president for nearly 30 years, of his honorary knighthood as a 'mark of revulsion' at the human rights abuses and 'abject disregard' for democracy over which he has presided." I have a couple of questions about this.

First of all, "honorary knighthood"? Aren't all knighthoods honorary? Does that adjective signify that Mugabe, strictly speaking, did not meet the course requirements? Does it mean he did not slay enough dragons or rescue enough damsels?

Second, Mugabe got this "honorary knighthood" and kept it for 14 years despite illegitimate elections, intimidation of the press, massive larceny and land grabbing, violent repression of homosexuality, and the arbitrary detention, torture, and murder of political opponents, including military assaults on the the Ndebele tribe that killed tens of thousands of civilians. What was the final straw, as far as the queen was concerned?

On Monday Mike Riggs considered the prospects for a coup in Zimbabwe.