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Home | ZimCrisis -- Views of a Black Zimbabwean Photographer

Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 13:57:12 -0700
To: "Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List":;
From: Zimbabwe Crisis
Subject: ZimCrisis -- Views of a Black Zimbabwean Photographer
Cc: "Australian government":;, "British government":;,
"Canadian government":;, "South African government":;, Commonwealth:;,

Hi everyone,

Something else I have received. I send out much of this kind of information without credit for various reasons, not the least of which are a desire on the part of the authors (in some cases) to remain anonymous for their protection, and the fact that it can be almost impossible to verify the source. However, in this case, whether the author is a black Zimbabwean photographer (as is claimed) or a Chinese factory worker in Beijing, the opinions presented are reasonable and factual, and it is worth reading.


Because most of the Western media has chosen to highlight the WHITE/BLACK issue in Zimbabwe over the real problems of an obsolete and dangerous government willing to sacrifice its nation to stay in power, it seems that a few of my BLACK friends abroad feel that what is now happening to the WHITES is deserved for the years of oppression meted out by colonisation.

To them I say, "Please come and live here, if you dare." Stand up for the 30 000 BLACK farm workers who are also under siege and haven't been paid for the last two months and look unlikely ever to be able to feed their families again because they have incurred the wrath of the so-called war veterans -- and you will soon see how quickly your head will be smashed in.

Try and join a legal peace march with other BLACK protesters and see how quickly your legs will be broken, as the police join in. Put an opposition party sticker on your BLACK car and see how quickly it goes up in flames, probably with you in it.

You still think it is only a WHITE/BLACK issue?

As I write this hundreds of people have been beaten and six people have died through violence, all of them opposition; two WHITE and four BLACK. I can show you a picture of a WHITE farmer who, after being beaten went to a police station for help, only to be dragged out by his persecutors and shot at point blank range between the eyes. Unfortunately I can't show you a picture of two BLACK opposition members whose car was petrol bombed while the police stood by and watched, because their bodies were burnt beyond recognition.

You still think it is only a WHITE/BLACK thing?

Terror is terror no matter what colour it is. All these people are Zimbabwean, just as you are American, British or whatever. If you believe, like Mugabe pretends to believe, that Africa belongs only to BLACK Africans, then come over to your spiritual homes and feel the wrath of our leader's anger if you decide to disagree with anything he says or does. He will soon tell you, and not only the WHITES, where you belong. The informed, educated urbanites absolutely rejected his undemocratic proposed constitution so he recently called the BLACK people of Mbare (formerly Harare township) 'totemless' -- basically meaning, they don't belong here. In the eighties, Mbare was his party's fortress of support. How things change when you're not wanted and vindictive.

Can you support the racist rhetoric of a man who one day hugs a WHITE tennis player because he won a match for the country, and the next day calls them "the enemies of the state". A man who spends all his holidays shopping in London, never in Senegal or Nigeria. What of Chenjerai 'Kill all the whites' Hunzvi -- the leader of the war veterans who recently hired a WHITE South African lawyer to defend him on charges of corruption.

When we fight for human rights, it is not a selective fight to be used only when it suits us. Mugabe has a sinister agenda and is willing to manipulate any issue to maintain power. If you choose to be used and soothed by his simplistic and emotive lies and violent action without considering all the facts of his corrupt rule and the options and mechanisms available for peaceful co-existence, then you do not have my respect as a human being or a friend.

The situation for us is too serious as there is a larger picture to life in Africa and the consequences of 'spiteful actions' are usually devastating.

History has warned us through Idi Amin's expulsion of the Asians, that it doesn't end there. The worst follows soon after. In a population of 12 million, 50 000 BLACK war veterans chase out 50 000 WHITES -- then what? Do you believe that justice and equality will ensue, bliss will prevail and our problems will be resolved? Then come to paradise, if you dare.

I do not believe there is one Zimbabwean, BLACK or WHITE who doesn't feel that land reform needs to be addressed. I also don't have the aptitude nor disposition here to explain how after twenty years of BLACK rule, the government has chosen rather to plunder the economy and enrich themselves and their cronies at the expense of the people -- while holding the land issue as a weapon to be wielded on the eve of every election since independence.

Picture this -- think with your conscious and don't let preconceptions blur the issues here. Not far from here is a large farm. The WHITE farmer grows food and wheat for the NATION on a large scale. His 200 or so workers are the highest paid in the land. He has built them homes with 'bricks and windows', electricity and running water. Their toilets use a proper sewage system and he bought this farm in 1990 (ten years after independence) and is still paying for it.

Next to this farm is another large farm and is one of two owned by a BLACK minister who was given a 100 year lease for this land while paying a paltry annual rental of about US$25. He is hardly there, knows nothing about farming and the land is barren. When the WHITE farm was attacked and invaded with the endorsement and encouragement of the president, the farmer fled for his life. The BLACK farm workers then demanded to know why the invaders didn't take the neighbouring farm as well especially as it was totally underutilised. Some of them were beaten for even daring to ask that question but the workers resisted and after much bloodshed, repulsed the invaders -- twice.

Finally the invaders came back with the police (upholders of justice and keepers of law and order) who told the workers not to intervene and leave. A supply of food to feed a large city for two months now rots and the BLACK workers are jobless and homeless while the land is carved up between those who are loyal supporters of a regime that has out lived its usefulness. And our leader feels that this is the only way of correcting the imbalance of land distribution because intimidation and fear silences resistance and a land grab win votes -- how short sighted and demeaning.

In all of your countries, generally speaking, 10% of the population owns 80% of the wealth. Why not ask for your leader's consent to grab a gun and take it forcefully, if you think that's the way forward for humanity and civilisation? The law is there to protect its citizens and not indiscriminately. Politicians are elected to address issues of governance and unite nations. Not turn one against the other when the people have shown their disapproval of their rule. If this is democracy and it works for you, don't you think we deserve it too? I did not fight discrimination and racism to endorse it when it suits me. Of course I will never endorse crimes of the past and there are many bitter issues that linger with us today that need to be addressed, but for Africa I tend to choose the pragmatic, honest Mandela way to the self-serving, destructive Mugabe way.

When our country lies in ashes and anarchy prevails. I wonder if it will be gratifying to know, at least the WHITES were fixed!

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Brief list of helpful sites on the issue:
- Comprehensive news updates -- http://www.1freespace.com/beetee
- Offers of and requests for help for Zimbabweans -- http://pub9.ezboard.com/boffersofhelp
- Commercial Farmers' Union -- http://www.mweb.co.zw/cfu
- Movement for Democratic Change -- http://www.in2zw.com/mdc
- Zimbabwe Democracy Trust -- http://www.zimbabwedemocracytrust.org
- BSAP Pursuit of Zimbabwean Criminals -- http://www.bsaphq.f9.co.uk