The front page of the New York Times this morning has a devastating image from Zimbabwe that, in my mind, is the iconic photo that embodies that country’s tragic recent history.
This got me thinking about the helplessness that I and many others feel about the situation there. We desperately wish that Thabo Mbeki would do something to topple Robert Mugabe, the anticolonial crusader turned brutal warlord. But that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. And if local politicians are going to let this happen, what’s to be done?
In recent years at CBS, I’ve grown accustomed to hearing many around me proclaim the potential of business to solve the world’s problems. And I actually believe it myself, to a large degree.
But if this is the case, what (if any) is business’s responsibility in humanitarian disasters such as the one we’re witnessing in Zimbabwe? (or Darfur or Chad or Myanmar?) At a minimum, it surely includes holding off on shipping arms to Zimbabwe to keep Mugabe’s reign of terror alive. But is there a more proactive approach that the business community should be playing in South Africa? And what about here at home?