- WestJet grants Christmas wishes for 250 airline passengers
- U.S. vet held in North Korea says statement was coerced
- NTSB hearing on San Francisco airliner crash postponed
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford insists he has dried out, vows sobriety test
- Greenpeace video warns that climate change is wrecking Santa’s home
- Herman Cain profiled in ‘Political Power’ comic book
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
- Fire departments fear Obamacare will gut volunteer ranks
- Rep. Alan Grayson loses $18M in stock scheme
- Christmas secularists get 6-foot beer-can Festivus pole at Florida Statehouse
Embassy Row: Ambassdor to Zimbabwe left speechless by nearly naked lady
The U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe intended to deliver a few remarks at a local library, but he was left speechless by a nearly naked lady.
Ambassador David Bruce Wharton traveled to Mutare, the fourth-largest city in the southern African nation, to tour U.S.-funded projects and talk with Zimbabweans at a local library last week.
A gang of vocal and aggressive protesters surrounded him at the Turner Memorial Library, however, and one woman started taking off her clothes.
"There was a lot of shouting, chanting, jumping, pounding on tables, many angry voices, and at least one person began to disrobe," Mr. Wharton wrote in his account of the confrontation.
One demonstrator tore the head off a life-sized photograph of President Obama, while others trampled the American flag, the ambassador said.
The woman who stripped to her bra and panties claimed she was protesting U.S. sanctions against leaders of the ruling political party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. The U.S. Embassy says the sanctions target fewer than 120 individuals suspected of human rights abuses. The United States also applies sanctions against some Zimbabwean companies and organizations.
Sheila Mutsenhu, a strong supporter of the ruling party, told local reporters that she took off her clothes to "send a very clear message to the U.S. and its allies that sanctions are hurting ordinary citizens."
"There is no going back in my antics, and what you witnessed is just small. Bigger things are coming because enough is enough," she said.
The U.S. Embassy noted that sanctions have not hurt bilateral trade with Zimbabwe. In 2009 and 2010, the United States increased exports to Zimbabwe by 30 percent over the period from 2000 to 2008.
Washington also has given $1.4 billion in assistance to Zimbabwe since 2001, the embassy said.
Zimbabwe's authoritarian president, Robert Mugabe, has imposed ruinous economy policies on the country that once brought inflation to astronomical rates.
Mr. Wharton defended the right of peaceful protest but noted that the demonstrators in Mutare were more interested in a confrontation than a conversation.
"I will defend everyone's right to peaceful protest but am also committed to the idea that respectful dialogue is needed for progress," he wrote on harare.usembassy.gov. "This group of young people did not share that latter value."
The protesters followed the ambassador and his aides as they left the library and headed for their car. Mr. Wharton said they tried to prevent him from entering the car and then jumped on its roof and hood.
"With extreme caution to avoid running over anyone, the driver skillfully drove out of the crowd," the ambassador wrote.
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
Tibor Navracsics, deputy prime minister of Hungary, who meets administration officials and members of Congress. On Wednesday, he addresses the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Slavomir Horak and Jan Sir, professors of international studies at Charles University in the Czech Republic. They discuss developments in Turkmenistan at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Akihiko Koenuma, director-general of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, who participates in a Brookings Institution briefing on the Arab Spring.
Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
- House introduces resolution to honor Nelson Mandela
- Iranian exiles call for probe of Camp Ashraf attack
- Embassy Row: 'What a tragedy,' African diplomat says of Mandela's death
- Embassy Row: Israeli at the White House in another Golda moment
- Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, dies at age 95
Latest Blog Entries
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- Oregon fails to sign up single person on health care website as states struggle
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- George Zimmermans girlfriend flips on assault: Let my boyfriend go
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Notes from a running nerd: musings and more on all things running.
NFL junkie Eric Golub reports on his favorite obsession. There is no football offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September.
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow