In a week of surreptitious reporting here (committing journalism can be a criminal offense in Zimbabwe), ordinary people said time and again that life had been better under the old, racist, white regime of what was then called Rhodesia…Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.
Over and over, I cringed as I heard Africans wax nostalgic about a nasty, oppressive regime run by a tiny white elite. Black Zimbabweans responded that at least that regime was more competent than today’s nasty, oppressive regime run by the tiny black elite that surrounds Mr. Mugabe.
A Times colleague, Barry Bearak, was jailed here in 2008 for reporting, so I used a fresh passport to enter the country as a tourist. Partly for my own safety, I avoided interviewing people with ties to the government, so I can’t be sure that my glimpse of the public mood was representative.