Funny, isn’t it, when a 91-year-old falls over. Funny ha ha ha, I mean, not funny strange.
No? Supposing you knew it was Robert Mugabe? Funny now?
Still no? Many millions thought otherwise last week.
The Zimbabwean president’s stumble in Harare prompted a veritable twitter titter tsunami, gag after gag hysterically revelling in what likely amounted to a grazed knee and few bits of grit embedded in the heel of his landing hand.
But LOL, yeah? Because Mugabe is one of the bad men, isn’t he? It’s not like laughing if, say, the 88-year-old Queen were to go arse over tip stepping down from a podium, is it?
That would be horrible. What kind of beast could laugh at that?
This said, if Her Maj did happen to headbutt some tarmac and the event WAS captured by well-placed press snappers, you just know there’d be no attempt to suppress these images, not like in Zimbabwe.
Because we’re free. Free with a free press dedicated to maintaining our free monarchy, largely because the free editors/proprietors crave gongs. Which is why these same editors and proprietors are happy to hold Mugabe up as a bad man.
And, of course, he is a bad man. In many ways. To many people. In other ways, to other people, people who must obviously be wrong, he is a hero. For the key role he played in the liberation of Zimbabwe from white minority rule, mostly.
Back then he was a hero for us too. The concilliatory nature of his ultimate ascent – blacks got rights and a vote, whites kept everything worth having (in 1980, the year of independence, white farmers, 1 per cent of the population, owned 70 per cent of the best farming land) – made sure of that. He was a prototype Nelson Mandela for us, from taking office in 1980 all the way up to the Queen – yeah, her again – knighting him in 1994.
A period in which Sir Mugabe consolidated his grip on power with ruthless purges of any possible rival – an estimated 20,000 died between 1982 and 1985 in the province of Matabeleland alone – but they were all black, and so that’s fine.
Sadly, spoiled all his good work in the late 90s with a land reform programme which saw whites chased off the land, often violently, with several score murdered in the ensuing mayhem.
Bang goes the knighthood Bob. I mean, tens of thousands of black people is one thing, but, come on...
Play the white man.