The grim ins and outs of the Zimbabwean ‘elections’ this spring have been tough to keep up with.

Vote-rigging, intimidation and violence, on-again off-again run-off elections have all been part of the equation.

In today’s dramatic twist du jour, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has taken refuge in the Dutch embassy – fearing for his safety after widespread arrests and the occasional murder of opposition figures in recent days.

There are a whack of links to stories covering recent developments on the left-hand side of the Dutch embassy item, but if that’s not enough for you here are some more to get you fully updated on the situation in Zimbabwe: has an in depth interview with Tsvangirai from April 8, 2008.

My cousin Sam, who I’ve blogged about here on Pulse before, asks the inevitable question as he prepares for a Cairo to Cape Town trip: To Zim or not to Zim? Sam was working for the Red Cross in Zimbabwe during the last presidential elections (2002) so he offers a rare on-the-ground perspective.

Awhile back, I wrote an article for Matador’s Traverse Magazine, outlining the history of Mugabe’s rise to power, the deterioration of conditions in Zimbabwe, and some locally-based organizations worth supporting: Robert Mugabe and the Death of Zimbabwe. Recent events get plenty of attention, but it’s worth getting a refresher in how Mugabe grew from beloved freedom fighter to international pariah.

Of course, Zimbabwe’s government is only one in an elite (ha) group of infamously repressive regimes. For a broader view, check out 6 Ways To Avoid Aiding Repressive Governments, or join the Matador forum discussion: ‘Should You Boycott Repressive Countries?’

Lastly, a banned advertisement for Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has made its way past the censors and onto YouTube. Check it out here: