A Dishonorable Degree
By: Kyle Bristow
Michigan State University chose Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe to address the fall 1990 graduating class. At the graduation ceremonies, MSU bestowed upon the tyrant who sanctions the genocide of whites in his country the Doctorate of Laws honorable degree.
Why it is offensive for Mugabe to receive any honor is palpable when one considers the history of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and what the Marxist despot did to it. In 1965, under the leadership of Ian Smith and the white Rhodesians, Rhodesia declared its independence from the British Empire. While Rhodesia existed as an independent nation—but before the black Marxists took over—its telephone line system was “one of the best in Africa” and its estimated population growth per year was four percent, which was “perhaps the highest in the world.” So says author and researcher Lane Flint in his book, God’s Miracles Versus Marxist Terrorists.
Prior to the outbreak of uncivil war between the black Marxists and white Rhodesians, the Rhodesian economy prospered and the country quickly earned the nickname “The jewel of Africa.” Rhodesia exported so many foodstuffs that it was also hailed as “The breadbasket of Africa.”
If one does a search for “Rhodesia” or its capitol city of “Salisbury” on YouTube, one can find video footage of affluent towns and cities that appear no different than many American cities of the Midwest—excluding Detroit of course. Rhodesia was simply the place to be if one were in Africa.
But after a war that saw the kidnappings, rapes, and murders of whites by blacks as common occurrences, the Rhodesians capitulated after the West turned its back to the nation. The Jewel of Africa was quickly transformed into Hell on Earth.
Mugabe’s policies ruined the once prosperous national economy, eliminated legitimate political systems, and set loose anarchy on the once civilized society. In March of 1979, the man who received a Doctorate of Laws honorary degree from MSU granted blanket amnesty to all of the black Marxist terrorists who had committed crimes—such as kidnappings, arsons, rapes, and murders. In 2000, Mugabe seized control of white-owned farms and redistributed those to black Marxists who fought for him during the war. In 2005, Mugabe’s government launched Operation Murambatsvina (“Clean the Filth”), which involved the forcible eviction of over two-thirds of a million people from their homes and businesses. Pursuant to Zimbabwean law, white emigrants who flee the country are not permitted to take their life savings with them.
Since then, Parade magazine has rated Mugabe one of the world’s worst dictators. Zimbabwe has an unemployment rate of 80 percent, an HIV/AIDS infection rate of 20 percent, and between 1988 and 2006, the average life expectancy decreased from 62 to 38 years. The World Health Organization ranks Zimbabwe as having the world’s shortest life expectancy.
Inflation is so rampant in Zimbabwe that it can no longer be measured insofar as to measure inflation, one must compare the price of a good on a given day and compare it to the price of the same good on another day. The shelves of stores are simply empty.
Mugabe’s Zimbabwe is so messed up now that a much needed reservoir is not being built because superstitious workers are alleging that mermaids are chasing them away from the construction site. In 2009, a female con artist was able to fool the Zimbabwean government into believing that she could will oil to ooze out of rocks. After Mugabe heard about the “diesel mystic,” he organized a government taskforce—including the minister of state security, minister of defense, and minister of home affairs—to bribe her into producing oil for the government through her magical powers. Only after the government spent large amounts of money, flew the con artist around the countryside in government helicopters, and bribed her with two cattle and three buffaloes was the jig up.
It appears that Mugabe is trying to do all he can to reenact the 2006 movie Idiocracy. Despite the vileness of Mugabe, MSU still saw fit to invite him to campus and to bestow upon him an honorary degree.
Mugabe’s degree was revoked despite MSU University Relations Vice President Terry Denbow opining in an interview in May of 2007 that it was unlikely that the degree would be revoked since there was no process to revoke such degrees. I attribute the revocation of the degree in September of 2008 directly to my political agitation.
While I was an undergraduate student at MSU during 2005-08, I learned of the travesty of the awarding of the degree to Mugabe and committed myself to seeing to it that it was revoked. In 2006, I ran and was elected to the student government of MSU; in November of 2007, I launched a blog—http://studentsagainstmugabe.blogspot.com—to bring awareness to the matter; the conservative student organization I led—the Young Americans for Freedom—hung up anti-Mugabe posters and chalked anti-Mugabe messages all over campus; I sent press releases, letters to the editors, and anonymous news tips to various media outlets; and I searched through the archives of the library in search of pictures from yearbooks that might contain an embarrassing picture of MSU administrators with the African dictator that could be copied and hung all over campus.
The degree was revoked not long after we put the pressure on the administrators of the university.
In light of Patrick Buchanan being fired from MSNBC, Robert Weissberg and John Derbyshire being fired from National Review, Lou Dobbs being fired from CNN, and American Renaissance conferences being shut down in recent years due to political agitation of the Left, the story of how I got MSU to revoke Mugabe’s degree needs to be told insofar as the Right can use political pressure to realize its own goals just as easily as can the Left.
Kyle Bristow is a third-year law student at the University of Toledo College of Law and is the author of White Apocalypse, which is available from Amazon.com.