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FRONTLINE / World While Zimbabwe Burns

November 21, 2008

“There seems no respite on the horizon. The longer the politicians bicker, the more lives are being sacrificed.”
Zimbabwean journalist, unidentified for fear of reprisals

Three months after the elections that offered a brief glimmer of hope, Zimbabwe is once again in free fall. Talks on power-sharing are scheduled to resume this week in neighboring South Africa, but observers, including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, paint a grim picture of a once prosperous nation on the verge of total collapse. President Carter, who was refused an entry visa over the weekend, called the crisis "much worse than anything we have imagined."

For breaking news on the story, try the BBC, which has devoted a good deal more attention to this former British colony than the mainstream U.S. media. For depth and perspective, we recommend a series of strong reports from our own FRONTLINE/World.

Shadows and Lies, broadcast in 2007, is an extensive on-the-ground account of the terrible damage Robert Mugabe has inflicted on his country. Zimbabwe: On the Brink, viewable on this page, is an iWitness interview, conducted this past June, with a fearless local journalist covering the elections at considerable risk to her own safety. Finally, from the same journalist, whom we still dare not identify, The Deal That Never Was, a heart-breaking eyewitness account, filed from Harare just this past week. Taken together, the three stories are vivid evidence of the country's worsening plight, and of how little the world has done to help.

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