Zimbabwe is home to the breathtaking Mana Pools, Victoria Falls, Mountains of the Mist, and ancient stone ruins of a sprawling kingdom. After freeing itself from British rule, Zimbabwe had a liberal constitution, an independent judiciary, a fantastic education system, and a growing professional class. In 2008, onetime freedom fighter Robert Mugabe finally lost an election after 28 years of an increasingly despotic rule, and journalist Peter Godwin returned home to celebrate. Mugabe did not concede; instead, he unleashed an era of terror Zimbabweans call “The Fear.” In his very personal book of the same name, Godwin meets with opposition leaders and farmers whose land was confiscated; he visits villages that have been burned and villagers who are routinely tortured and released, to live as warnings to the resistance. Tonight’s talk, Fear and Hope in Zimbabwe, brings Godwin together with Peter Orner, editor of Hope Deferred, the fifth volume in the “Voice of Witness” series, which provides first-person narratives from people struggling for human rights. Godwin and Orner offer a harrowing view from inside a once-buoyant nation where people now escape politically motivated rape by swimming across crocodile-infested rivers.
Mon., Feb. 13, 7 p.m., 2012