The true sign of democracy, some say…

…is not the act of an election, but the first peaceful transfer of power from one party to another.

Welcome Zambia.*

Before you say, “Zimba-where? Bo-ring,” consider this:

Mr. Sata… tapped into anger about the deplorable conditions in Zambia’s Chinese-run mines.

On Friday, he said, “Foreign investment is important to Zambia, and we will continue to work with foreign investors who are welcome in the country.”

But, he warned, “they need to adhere to the labor laws.”

Last year, Chinese managers opened fire on protesters at a huge coal mine in southern Zambia, and though the Zambian government initially indicated that the Chinese managers would be punished, the charges were quietly dropped. The shootings outraged many Zambians who resent China’s enormous economic influence over their country

Echoes of robber barons, coercive labor, and complicit governments. Any Americans recall the Ludlow massacre?

In the aftermath of the mine incident, labor leaders issued a call to arms and a bloody ten-day war ensued. In the Zambian copper mines? No–that was the Colorado labor movement. The Zambians took their passions to the polls.

Point 1: I never like to miss an opportunity to point out that “Bloody Events In Darkest Africa” often look remarkably similar to “Great Moments In American History”.

Point 2: The arc of history is long, and it bends towards justice. But it usually marches through blood. A society deserves tribute when it does not.

Now, Mr. Sata: please, please, please do not be a thuggish megalomaniac.

*Commenters remind me this is Zambia’s second switch (the previous one being 1991). Oops. Hopefully the general point stands…