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Home | ZimCrisis -- The Ant and the Grasshopper

Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 19:34:56 -0700
To: "Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List":;
From: Zimbabwe Crisis
Subject: ZimCrisis -- The Ant and the Grasshopper
Cc: "Australian government":;, "British government":;,
"Canadian government":
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Hi everyone,

A little bit of an attempt at humour to end today's onslaught of messages from me. Maybe this familiar story will strike a chord with someone.




An ant and a grasshopper live in the same field during the summer.

The ant works all day and night bringing in supplies for the winter. He prepares his home to keep him warm during the cold winter months ahead.

Meanwhile the grasshopper hops and sings, eats all the grass he wants and multiplies.

Come winter, the grass dies, it is bitterly cold. The ant is well and warm in his house, but the grasshopper has not prepared for the winter, so he dies, leaving a whole herd of little grasshoppers without food or shelter.

The moral of the story is that one should work hard to ensure that you can take care of yourself (that simple).


The first part of the story is the same, but because it is in Zimbabwe there are a few complications.

The starving, shivering offspring of the grasshopper demand to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed, while next door they are living in terrible conditions without food or proper clothing.

A TV crew shows up and broadcasts footage of the poor grasshoppers, contrasting this with footage of the ant, snug in his comfortable home with a pantry full of food.

The public is stunned.

How can it be, in this beautiful field, that the poor grasshoppers are allowed to suffer so, while the ant lives in the lap of luxury.

In the blink of an eye the AGU (African Grasshopper Union) is formed. They charge the ant with a species bias and claim that grasshoppers are the victims of 30 million years of green oppression. They stage a protest in front of the ant's house and trash the street.

The TV crew interviews them, and they all state that if their demands are not met they will be forced into a life of crime. Just for practice, they loot the TV crew's luggage and hijack their van.

The TRC (Take and Redistribute Commission) justifies their behaviour by saying that this is the legacy of the ant's discrimination towards the oppression of the grasshoppers. They demand that the ant apologises to the grasshoppers for what he has done, and that he makes amends for all the other ants in history who have done the same thing to the grasshoppers.

PAGAD (People Against Grasshopper Abuse and Distress) state that they are starting a holy war against ants. The president appears on the 8 'o clock news and says that he will do everything he can for the grasshoppers who have been denied the prosperity they deserve by those who have benefited unfairly during the summer.

The government drafts up the EEGAD (Economic Equity for Greens And Disadvantaged) Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to employ a proportionate number of green insects and having nothing left to pay his back-taxes, his home is confiscated by the government for redistribution.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing off the last of the ant's food while the government house he's in (which just happens to be the ant's old house) crumbles around him because he does not know how to maintain it. Showing on the TV (which he and a couple of his friends stole from another ant) the president is standing before a group of wildly singing and dancing grasshoppers announcing that a new era of equality has dawned on the field.

The ant, meanwhile, is not allowed to work because he has historically benefited from the field. In his place, ten grasshoppers only work two hours a day and steal half of what they actually harvest.

When winter comes again and not enough food has been harvested, they strike and demand a 150% increase in their wages so that they can buy more food, which has now been imported because the grasshoppers are not productive enough to produce enough food locally.

The ant packs his things and moves to another field, where he starts a highly successful food company and becomes a millionaire by selling food to the field where he came from.

The only difference between this fable and the real story is that the grasshoppers start to kill the ants before they move to the next field.

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Brief list of helpful sites on the issue:
- Comprehensive news updates -- http://www.1freespace.com/beetee
- Offers of and requests for help for Zimbabweans -- http://pub9.ezboard.com/boffersofhelp
- Commercial Farmers' Union -- http://www.mweb.co.zw/cfu
- Movement for Democratic Change -- http://www.in2zw.com/mdc
- Zimbabwe Democracy Trust -- http://www.zimbabwedemocracytrust.org
- BSAP Pursuit of Zimbabwean Criminals -- http://www.bsaphq.f9.co.uk