Zimbabwe: Birthing Mothers Fined for Screaming?

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Tiassa, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Gordian Umbilical Knot

    Zimbabwe, of course, is a well-known human disaster in the twenty-first century, but there are times when one can reasonably be forgiven laughing at the absurdity of the desperation. For instance, this note from Transparnecy International:

    Eight mothers in Zimbabwe die in labour every day, according to UN figures. The country's health system has born the brunt of years of economic turmoil. Expectant mothers often struggle to afford the mandatory hospital delivery fee of approximately US $50, which is around a third of an average Zimbabwean's yearly income. Many have no choice but to give birth at home, without professional help.

    As part of their community outreach programme, TI Zimbabwe learned about how corruption was making the situation even worse. They were told that nurses in a local hospital were charging women US $5 every time that they screamed while giving birth, as a penalty for raising false alarm. Women who refused or were unable to pay their delivery fees were allegedly detained at the hospital, and charged interest on their debt until they settled it. Some say they called on family members to help them escape. Others who were eventually released reported being hassled by debt collectors who demanded both the hospital fees and additional 'collection charges'.

    Let us be clear, by TI's account, the practice has apparently stopped, but is there any way to approach this sort of human disaster in a patchwork manner? Can one slap on enough bandages? Or is this an acute expression of a broader undertaking—that is, are such atrocious absurdities symptomatic of a larger malady and thus can only be partially suppressed until the larger disease is treated?

    It seems more a reminder that poverty and tyranny are no proper coordinates for human dignity.


    Transparency International. "Captive Mothers". 2013. Transparency.org. July 12, 2013. http://transparency.org/news/story/captive_mothers
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  3. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    Don't mean to distract from the problems in Zimbabwe, but lots of fucked up shit happens in other countries. For instance, these young girls murdered for dancing in the rain.
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  5. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    Yes u just randomly decided to talk about Muslim atrocities In Reference to what happening in a Christian country. So innocent ::rollseyes::
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  7. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    I honestly don't know why they weren't expelled from the commonwealth, it would have actually shown that we take there crap seriously
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Reflections of a Tarnished Crown?

    Setting aside common complants about government inefficiency, and also the stock jokes an American makes when considering Her Majesty's dominions, I would simply ask: Where stands the Commonwealth on the question of keeping a hand in?

    For the Commonwealth to abandon Zimbabwe entirely would be akin to saying, "Well, it's too hard for us to figure out, so you're on your own." And while there might be some common sense and inner satisfaction to such a result, it's the kind of thing that could very much tarnish the Crown's reputation.

    Furthermore, I'm not sure what expulsion from the Commonwealth would accomplish, as Zimbabwe already considers itself withdrawn. I'm not certain what sort of paperwork and committee decisions are required to make that withdrawal official, but in the ten years since the Commonwealth has tried to help the Zimbabwean people to what we might reasonably describe as a disappointing result. Still, though, it is a perilous threshold, politically, morally, and even psychologically down to the people making the decision, for the Commonwealth to throw its hands up and admit they can be defeated by an 89 year-old strongman on his last leg.

    In truth, I have no solution to Zimbabwe that does not start with the immediate deposing of President Mugabe. Even then, though, we're looking at a generational recovery period. Corruption and idiocy in Zimbabwe will outlive the old man, for certain. For the Commonwealth, though, it's a question of how the leaders look at themselves in the mirror each morning.
  9. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member


    There are a lot of benefits in being a member of the commonwealth and expelling a member state has worked in the past. It worked on South Africa, it wasn't the only step taken against them but it was one in a series of sanctions which eventually lead to the overturning of the government. Plus its a hell of a lot nicer to expell them than invade them which seems to be the standed approach when the US is in the leading position

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