In and out of Zimbabwe

Hello, it’s Leonardo here at TVC today, after an eventful journey on a very wet Tuesday. Two security alerts on my way across London, but thankfully only false alarms.

I was as surprised as everyone else as I watched the Ten O’Clock News last night and saw the BBC’s World Affairs Editor, John Simpson, reporting from Zimbabwe.

He’d been in the capital, Harare, for a few days, defying Robert Mugabe’s ban on BBC staff entering the country.

He introduced his report live from an undisclosed location in Zimbabwe, before leaving the country. From there, he also sent an article, published on today’s Independent.

We saw him walking in the streets of Harare, with a baseball cap on, trying to avoid being recognized by all the people there who watch the BBC.

Would you like to hear more from John Simpson? What did he see in Zimbabwe, how did he manage to evade the security forces in the country? Is the situation there as bad as we’ve been reporting?

As I write this, Mark is checking if he’ll be available to speak to us, to take questions in the programme today. What would you like to ask?


Back to what will be the recurrent talking point of 2008: the US presidential election.

Is this election about race, after all? The reason why I ask is the latest “diplomatic” incident involving Hillary Clinton’s and Barrack Obama’s camps.

Former president Clinton had to get involved to try to defuse a row involving race and drugs.

 He went on an black radio show to deny one of his wife’s supporters had made reference to Obama’s teenage drug use.

There was more controversy over Hillary Clinton’s remarks on Martin Luther King.

She said King’s dream of racial equality only become reality after president Johnson managed to get the Civil Rights Act of 64 approved by Congress.

Obama accused her of diminishing the civil right’s leader legacy.


Princess Diana’s mother called her a whore for contemplating marrying a Muslim man.

That was revealed in court yesterday by Paul Burrell, former butler to the princess. He was giving evidence for the inquest on the death of the Princess of Wales.

The Muslim man in question is Hasnat Khan, a Pakistani heart surgeon, who worked in London at the time and had a serious relationship with Diana.

She called the Princess a whore. She was messing about effing Muslim men and was a disgrace.

Paul Burrell

The story is on the front pages of all the tabloids here on the UK. It’s one of the main stories on all the other newspapers and get people going on this morning’s Victoria Derbyshire show, on BBC’s Radio 5.

What does it say about mixed marriages — be it with people from different faiths or different ethnic groups?

How is it in your country? Have you been through a similar situation? Have attitudes changed where you are?

Send your comments, post here on the blog.

4 Responses to “In and out of Zimbabwe”

  1. 1 Brett
    January 15, 2008 at 12:25

    On the Clinton and Obama front:

    -“The dispute began after Mrs Clinton said Martin Luther King’s dream of racial equality was realised only when President Johnson managed to get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through Congress. She was making a point that it took presidential leadership to achieve Dr King’s ambition. ”

    This statement just proves that Hillary is an idiot.
    First, the dream was realised by millions before it was even acknowledged by the government. Second it was through those millions that change took place. Furthermore, the dream is still not entirely realised as there is still racial prejudice and inequality accross almost all races in the united states.

    -“Mr Obama said Mrs Clinton’s allegations were “ludicrous”, adding: “I think they have decided to run a relentlessly negative campaign, and I don’t think anybody who’s watching would deny that.” ”

    Barack hit the nail on the head with this one. I guess once Hillary got over her near breakdown from campaigning ‘not being easy’, shes back to being a bitter, argumentative, mud-slinger.

    Barack did drugs at a point in his life. But heres the kicker; He has not in a long time, and he was man enough to admit it. Any other presidential candidate would have gone to the limits to cover something like this up. We could go back and dig and dig to find out what mistakes Hillary made when she was in her early years, but why stoop to that level? I could care less, I wont be voting for her either way.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  2. 2 Brett
    January 15, 2008 at 12:38


    This comment from her mother is disgusting. I would not have expected such an ignorant comment from someone who is supposed to be cultured and held in such high regard by society.

    Mixed marriages are still a grey area in the US unfortunately, and are often given odd looks depending on where you are in the country. My sister is a white female happily married to a man of latino descent. My family and I fully support their marriage just as with any other marriage. What we care about is that she is happy.

    I myself have never experienced any negative criticism from dating someone of a different ethnic or religious origion, but in my experiences from friends, its often the parents who openly condemn it if anyone, and often when it is their daughter. Society will just throw looks.

    The US seems to have more problems with race than religion as often race is a more tangible and easily seen difference than religion. I am interested to see how it is in parts of the world where it is the religious orientation of someone which causes the problem.

    Im sure it has gotten better that it used to be years ago, but there is still a long way to go and alot of ignorance and stereotypes to break through in our society.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  3. 3 John D. Anthony
    January 15, 2008 at 13:29

    Gee, this is a tough one. You’ve got one story about a reporter risking his life to cover a country in meltdown, and two stories about people saying stupid things.
    Decisions, decisions……

  4. 4 George
    January 16, 2008 at 07:19

    You may have a factual error in your report above.

    You say Obama-

    “Obama accused her of diminishing the civil right’s leader legacy.”

    If you check the quotes you will find he did not say that.

    Clinton put her foot in her mouth, tried to spin it to lay it on Obama, and is using it exactly as you misquote it.

    Please check the original quotes and report your results.

    It makes the story totally different when it is “projected” onto someone else.

    Also check the Rep. Lewis vs Southern Christian leader on PBS yesterday- which states the above clearly.

    I know you want the story straight, and will be interested in what you find on this topic.

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