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Home | ZimCrisis -- A more personal look

Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2000 16:51:26 -0700
To: "Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List":;
From: Zimbabwe Crisis
Subject: ZimCrisis -- A more personal look
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Hi everyone,

While we all see the bigger picture of what is happening in Zimbabwe, take a minute to read the view below, which attempts to help people understand the situation my making comparisons and asking you to imagine what it is like to lose everything for which you have worked your whole life.

The author urges; "Do not ever think it has not happened elsewhere before or for some extraordinary reason we are exempt from the awful inevitability of all this now." Read a comparison between Uganda's Idi Amin and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe at http://www.africanews.org/south/zimbabwe/stories/20000606/20000606_feat2.html .


By Richard Winkfield

It is not difficult to imagine that those laying claim to productive agricultural land and all the sophisticated development that is on it, have also cast their avaricious eyes on land in the industrial and commercial areas of the towns and cities of our country.

I want you to picture a small general medical practice in the Avenues. It is run from an old house built in the thirties and it sits on an acre of land. A masterpiece of colonial architecture. Rabble move in one day, claiming to have constitutional rights to the ground and demand half the rooms and use of the reception area. They then install their own traditional healer, with the various accoutrements of his profession, who then insists on money, food, drugs and equipment.

Next imagine a church in a suburb. They are generally situated on a couple of acres. The same demands are not improbable and a spirit medium tries to set up his business in the vestry but not before his mates assault the incumbent and his staff.

Then try to imagine an industrial complex in Workington. It covers an area of 16 acres of land. It has been developed to assemble and manufacture machinery and equipment. The investment runs into billions of dollars and it has countrywide branches. A group move in and occupy half the covered area and erect temporary "shelters" from the sheet metal and steel stocks as a symbol of their rights. They take over the machine room and proceed to knock about the operators, poke around and damage the lathes and milling machines and then place a tin smith in one of the large sheds. They insist on using the main entrance, the General Manager's office and a section of the reception area. To cap it they put up a crude sign in front of the gate advertising a co-operative ("second hand aluminium irrigation pipes urgently needed"). All the regular workers are of course driven off with threats to their lives.

Given these very extremes that are occurring at this very second in the farming areas and the Presidential powers over the Constitution concerning land, this is not a tasteless joke.

Why should it not happen anywhere else?

People in the cities might be aware of what is occurring every day out there in the country but they only have the big picture. The small agonies are not generally revealed. The anguish of losing your house, pets, treasured possessions, the awful feeling caused by the total loss of privacy and human rights, the inexpressible emotion engendered by seeing young hooligans playing with your personal computers, defacing the Steinway piano, lounging on your furniture, defecating at random in the garden, the terror in the dark with a mob of drunken hooligans baying for your blood at the gate, the crash as it succumbs to the mass of bodies, the hysterical chanting, shouting, drumming and dancing in the garden, on the veranda, through the rooms. All this with absolutely no recourse to the law whatsoever and little help from helpless and equally anguished neighbours. To see your furniture moving out of your driveway loaded on a police vehicle must be the last straw. The term daylight robbery fails to express the complete disregard for human dignity and the blatant and oppressive show of power that is occurring every single day.

Whoever takes just one moment of time to extrapolate the interpretation of the amendments to the rules of Zimbabwe, and fails to realise the possibility of complete, total, unmitigated anarchy throughout the land affecting every single viable business, is blind to reality. The farms will go first. As these become gradually untenable and defunct due to all the many reasons we already know, the occupants will move back to the urban sprawls to look at and plunder richer pickings, leaving behind chaos, women, children and the old.

This is the truly black picture of what might occur -- massive disinvestment, a collapsed economy, a political meltdown, and complete lawlessness throughout the land. Do not ever think it has not happened elsewhere before or for some extraordinary reason we are exempt from the awful inevitability of all this now.

But there is absolutely nothing like adversity to bring people together. Whilst the evil we see is virulent for sure it does not have the backing of the majority of people. It will burn itself out and it needs our help to hasten this. We have to believe this. By believing this we can change minds and attitudes and instill a will in every one we come into contact with every day that the madness can be stopped. Good has always been victorious over evil. God alone will determine when this is to be in His time. If we are not for Him then we must be against Him and therefore we will continue to suffer the consequences. Therefore we cannot fail Him, ever.

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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