The news cycle grinds away. Today’s big issue, tomorrow’s forgotten cause. Remember Zimbabwe? Life in Harare, apparently, goes on:

Dear Friends,

We have survived the worst week yet — no water since 12th of this month & still no water, power came on briefly on Sunday and then again yesterday morning, after being off for seven days. Associated with power-out is the lack of telephone. Now also total lack of food and money.

We are allowed to draw only 100 billion dollars per day from our bank accounts. This is currently worth less than 20 UK pence or 40 US cents or two South African Rand. It is a criminally cruel policy which is causing extreme suffering and costing huge unnecessary transport costs to get to the bank daily & then stand in the queue for hours.

This daily maximum withdrawal is not enough to buy even a single bread roll which this week cost 140 billion dollars. On Saturday 1kg of potatoes was 110 billion, 1kg of oranges 500 billion, so one cannot buy anything for the daily drawn-sum and then by the next day everything has again increased beyond one’s purse.

Supermarkets are empty. Vegetables available only from street vendors. Our telephone calls are 2.2 billion dollars per unit. We are desperate for relief. On Friday 25th exchange rate was 850 billion dollars to the US. Inflation was 150 quintillion percent (that is 150 plus 18 0’s ). We try to keep each other going but it is extremely difficult. It is incomprehensible that the world will not come to our aid.

The bank employees are helping themselves to client’s money and all municipal and state services have collapsed. There is no justice to be found anywhere.

My farming friends who had their larger farm expropriated now do not have enough grazing for their dairy herd. They were told to reduce their herd, but the shortage of milk is already so critical that most children never see milk. We are told that we are lucky to have enough water to drink!

These farmers are daily threatened by a police chief who wants to move into their remaining small farm. He has brought a contingent of police to squat on the farm to make sure that they do not remove anything from the farm. They are in terror for their lives and those of their workers but trying to hang on. There is no recourse to justice or help from any quarter. Common human decency has left us. These farmers supply me with two litres of milk and six eggs and sometimes vegetables each week. Without this food I would have nothing.

Last week we ran out of bread, having rationed ourselves to one thin slice per day to make it go further. The bread which we brought back from Johannesburg in April lasted us four months.

The sun still shines & birds are chirping in the garden & spring is coming. The warmer weather helps our mood.

Love to all …

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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