Friday, April 4, 2008

Rumor has it that President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has agreed to a run-off election. The date that I have heard bantered about is April 19th. There are text messages flying across the continent and various groups ramping up to ensure Zimbabweans get out and vote the tyrant out of the office. My message to Zimbabweans: go back to the polls and vote! This man needs a clear and swift kick out the door!

The other rumor, though unsubstantiated, is that "Bob" is busy filling bags of currency as he raids the treasury. The suggestion is that he will leave the country. This would be great for Zimbabweans in many ways. Yet if he does this, there are major concerns that he will not leave a single Zimbabwe dollar for the country's recovery. This is when the global community, that includes The International Red Cross and the United Nations, must develop a plan to help this country become stabilized.

None of this will happen without some global pressure to get Mugabe out of office. This is the time when other African leaders must take a stand to support the will of the people and not stand mute in support of their comrade. Enough. How do we teach these countries to step up to assist the people of Zimbabwe?

There is widespread fear that the election will be rigged in a run off. I don't think it is going to happen. Too many people voted the man out of office. Too many people know and talk that they must have change in this county if the people of Zimbabwe are going to survive. When I talk about survival, its not "survival" you think of here in the United States; instead, Zimabwean's survival entails avoiding starvation and/or death. How will they stop the hemorrhaging of people over the borders?

Yesterday I was told that Mugabe only truly got 46 parliament seats instead of the 97 that are listed. As we all struggle for information and if this vote will again be rigged on the 19th, I know for sure one thing: There will be violence. The people of Zimbabwe have such pent up rage on how Mugabe has treated them that many want to force him to stay in the country, to make sure that he pays for his atrocities.

If Morgan Tsengarai becomes the new President of Zimbabwe, it is his plan to keep Mugabe in the country as well. His agenda will include having Mugabe pay for his atrocities, not only for the ruthless beating of himself but also for his close allies that were tortured and killed.

We are getting a lot of messages about Simba Makoni joining forces with Morgan...and this is truly good news. With Simba Makoni getting at least 8 percent of the vote (approximately) there are people who love him and trust him. We cannot forget how his candidacy split some of the key allies in the current administration and helped create the unstoppable rift. The idea of Morgan Tsengarai and Simba Makoni joining forces as a team brings excitement. Those two men can create a new beginning for this tyrant ravaged country.

Most importantly, some of those in exile are already talking about going "home". They are excited about the inevitable change in their country and the National Unity they feel is happening. They are excited about the loss of seats to ministers that harassed NGO's and women's group. The Minister of Women's affairs, Gender and Community Development, Oppah Muchinguri, was apparently trounced in the vote. This is good news to organizations who have sought assistance from the government on human rights abuses.

We are all watching the situation in Zimbabwe closely. If the dictator is truly going to fall, there needs to be quick and prolonged action. Now the international community must come together to help eradicate the AIDS epidemic, to provide food and medicine...and get the country planting crops. Things could change again, in the time it takes me to post this blog, but I still can't help but think there will be more than seeds being planted in this country soon.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

"Tapestries of Hope" DONATION RAFFLE!

Dear Tapestries of Hope Supporters!

“Tapestries of Hope” has teamed up with IndieGoGo to raise significant funds for the making of this important film.

We have some GREAT prizes in addition to VIP Perks if you donate by MAY 1 on INDIEGOGO.COM ( hope)

For all donations of $100.00 or more, you will be eligible to receive one of the five following prizes:
- 1 three-month membership (there are 3 of these available) to Women’s Independent Cinema (
- A brand new Play Station 2
- An assortment of Chocolates from Seattle Chocolate Company

For all donations of $500.00 or more, we will enter those names into an additional SPECIAL RAFFLE. The lucky winner will win a private screening for your friends and family with the director Michealene Risley, who will travel to your home with a DVD of the completed film in hand. There will be a Q and A session afterwards.

**The raffle drawings will take place once we've completed this round of funding. Anonymous donors will not be included in the raffle.

This is also a reminder that you can receive a tax deduction on your donation. However, you MUST let us know if you would like to receive this after you donate.

Please go to to donate and help us reach our goals.

Even if it’s 5 dollars, it will help tremendously. Please take the time.

Please forward this message to all friends, family, and co-workers who might also like to help.


The “Tapestries of Hope” Team

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

All Calm in Zimbabwe Before The Storm

The calm before the storm is a frighteningly familiar feeling for me. As a Midwest gal born and raised, I know that feeling down to my bones. It is the eerily quiet time period before a tornado touches down, before the chaos hits, before destruction visits. Right before that touchdown, the air is clear and crisp, there is an unnatural stillness. The squirrels have stopped playing hide and seek amongst the branches and the birds have been silenced. For those of us hiding in basements, our eyes glued to the television, we are enveloped in anxiety waiting for information on where the tornado will touch down.

Zimbabwe is in this place right now, thirteen million people holding their collective breathe, waiting for the results of the presidential election. The longer the wait, the more that anxiety spreads like a pre-cursor to blood-shed across the country. The only response to the collective waiting has been silence and more silence. I spoke to a friend in Borrowdale earlier today, she said "Everyone has been off the streets today. All of us are quiet and calm, but we know that must stay indoors and wait for the results."

There are people around the world holding their breath with you, Zimbabweans. You are not alone. There are many people everywhere committed to democracy that are fearful that you will not sit quietly through another rigged election. All of us are fearful of increased violence in a country that has been decimated by poor leadership.

On Sunday, I heard reports that people were celebrating in the streets. In fact, one journalist, Jan Raath wrote this for The Times, (UK) "We are on the knife edge now. There is little doubt in the minds of a very large slice of the population that Robert Mugabe was dealt a severe blow on Saturday. They laughed in the voting queues about how they were going to skewer the rooster (Mr. Mugabe) and roast him. They cast their votes and went home to await the result. The slack Sunday morning was interrupted repeatedly by cars hooting long and loud, with young men whistling and waving wide open palms. One crowd was singing: "Saddam is gone, and now it is Bob's turn."

But is it really Bob's turn? As Drew Barrymore voice rings in my ears from the movie ET I can hear her say, "What's happening?" And I wish I knew. One interesting aspect of this election is that Mugabe had agreed in advance to allow local districts to count and post results on site. To me this seems to make it harder to rig the elections district by district. On, one third of the vote counted puts Mugabe in second place, far behind Morgan Tsvangirai. So what is taking so long to get to the final results?

It has been over 48 hours since the polling sites have closed. Most people that I spoke with in Zimbabwe could care less which candidate gets in, as long as it is not President Robert Mugabe. One of three things will happen. The first is that Mugabe will state that there is a TIE and an election run off needs to happen. The second scenario is that he will give up his post, just after collects all of "his" money and exits Zimbabwe with his core alliance.

The third scenario, and the one that terrifies me the most, is Mugabe rigging the election and declaring his 6th term in office. No one can afford this scenario. Another sources in Zimbabwe said that tomorrow Mugabe has a planned meeting with the Army General and the head of the Police force. It scares me that this may happen, and would be devastating to Zimbabwe. Then again, I can't even begin to get inside the mind of Robert Mugabe. So I like the rest of the world, must wait.