Tuesday, August 9, 2011


London (www.nytimes.com) - Britain has urged the authorities in Zimbabwe to investigate a BBC report that its security forces are beating and raping prisoners at two camps in the Marange diamond fields in the east of the country. International monitors voted to allow exports from the fields to resume in June despite objections from the United States, Canada and the European Union.  The BBC’s documentary program “Panorama” said the camps hold workers who were recruited by the police and the military to dig illegally for diamonds for them, but who then demand too large a share of the profits or civilians caught mining for themselves.  A  released prisoner who was not named said guards at the camps were beating prisoners three times a day, with 40 lashes at a time.  Dogs were loosed to bite shackled inmates, and imprisoned women were frequently raped, the program said.  The Zimbabwean authorities offered no immediate comment.

The government of President Robert Mugabe has been working to increase its legal sales of diamonds. Mr. Mugabe’s political opponents fear that he will use diamond income to finance a violent campaign to win elections that are likely to be held next year.  One of the torture camps identified, Diamond Base, is about a mile from the Mbada mine, which the BBC says is run by a friend of Mr. Mugabe. Witnesses cited by the program described Diamond Base as “a remote collection of military tents, with an outdoor razor-wire enclosure” to hold the prisoners.  “They beat us 40 whips in the morning, 40 in the afternoon and 40 in the evening,” said the man, who still could not use one of his arms after the beatings and could barely walk.  “They used logs to beat me here, under my feet, as I lay on the ground. They also used stones to beat my ankles.”

A torture camp run by Zimbabwe’s security forces is operating in the country’s rich Marange diamond fields and it is known locally as “Diamond Base”.  Witnesses said it is a remote collection of military tents, with an outdoor razor wire enclosure where the prisoners are kept.  They are routinely subjected to rape; sexual assault; severe beatings and some are mauled by dogs.  Civilians are recruited to illegally dig for diamonds for them and they are taken to the camps for punishment if they demand too large a share of the profits.  There are many kinds of vikarma, such as greed, cruelty, violence and lust for the wives of others.

The more you try to satisfy your senses, the more you will come under the control of lust, greed and anger. Lust is there when you want to satisfy your material desires. Greed is there when you want more than you need.  Anger will always be there in some form when you fail to achieve what you want, or when you attain it but then lose it. The unmerciful masters of lust, greed and anger will never leave you alone. ... A good standard of morals must be followed because such rules promote the prosperity of social life.  If a standard of morals is not followed, then the lack of respect people will have for each other, and the crimes that follow, will force all social happiness to quickly disappear.  Therefore, we should cultivate the principle sentiments of love, kindness, friendship, and mercy, for the promotion of social good and prosperity.

Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
"Toward World Peace: Seeing the Unity Between Us All"
http://www.stephen-knapp.com  -  http://www.stephenknapp.info/

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