Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2000 2:55
Whites targeted in Mugabe's race war
April 23, 2000
NEW YORK - The murder of a second white farmer in
Zimbabwe last week is emblematic of a tragic, but little known
story - the relentless ethnic cleansing of the white tribes of
Africa. Farmer Martin Olds was besieged in
his isolated tobacco farm by a gang of 100 thugs.
After holding them off for many hours, he was finally
wounded, driven from his burning farm, then killed. The
attackers were unleashed as a part of a campaign
by Zimbabwe's aging strongman, Robert Mugabe, to divert
attention from the nation's collapsing economy, and to restore
his waning political power, by whipping up hatred of the
nation's 4,000 white farmers.
These whites, many third generation natives, own a
sizeable portion of the nation's prime farmland,
and produce 80% of Zimbabwe's agricultural exports. Without
them, Zimbabwe's economy would collapse. But Mugabe still
chose to revive racial hatreds from the 1970-1980 black-white war
in former Rhodesia(today Zimbabwe) that cost
27,000 lives and forced half the nation's 8,000 white citizens
The murder in Zimbabwe brings back
ugly memories. Back in the late 1980's, I
accompanied black South African troops patrolling the Limpopo River
border between Zimbabwe and South Africa. Bands of African National
Congress thugs and pillagers, described in the western press as
`freedom fighters,' were raiding isolated farm houses along
the Limpopo. I vividly recall one-burned out farm
where a 74-year old man and his 68-year old wife
had held off some 200 ANC `fighters' for an entire night. The marauders
finally ignited the roof with Molotov cocktails and drove the
occupants outside. The old man was shot, then hacked to death
with machetes; his wife was gang raped, then
slashed to death. This was a part of South Africa's and
Zimbabwe's anti-white `liberation struggle' the outside world was
not shown. Whites have
been largely driven from African nations where they once
lived in significant numbers. Many lost everything they
owned. Many of them were not even large
landowners, but farm laborers and blue or white collar
The once substantial European and
Asian populations of East Africa - Kenya,
Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania - were forced to flee. The important
South Asian Hindu and Muslim communities of Uganda and Kenya
were terrorized into exile after their shops were looted and
many of their women raped or threatened by rape.
Zanzibar's entire Arab population - tens of thousands of
people - was massacred in 1964 Hundreds of
thousands of Portugese, some from families that had lived
for 300 years in Africa, were driven from Mozambique,
Angola, and Portugese West Africa. South Africa's remaining
1.6 millon whites, some whose families came in the mid 1600's,
are fleeing in increasing numbers as crime engulfs
the nation. As in Zimbabwe, black extremists in South Africa are
calling for confiscation of all white `colonialist' property.
The view that Africa's whites are later-day colonialists
who deserve to be expelled is widely shared by
the western media. After all, they or their fathers had
settled in lands that originally belonged to blacks. This
view is not only simplistic , it's often wrong.
The African continent has seen vast population and
tribal movements over the past 600 years. Bantu blacks only
began to filter out of the Congo basin southwards towards
today's South Africa in the 1500's. White settlers
from Flanders and Europe actually preceeded them to the Cape Colony. In
1838, Boer pioneers moving north, and Zulu forces expanding south, met
and fought in northern Transvaal. During the same
era, the mighty Zulu Empire was conducting the
notorious `mfakane,' -or mass slaughter and ethnic cleansing -
of their tribal enemies, the Xhosa and Shona, an event that
still stokes tribal tensions today in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Much of Africa's peripheral areas were barely populated
during the early era of European colonial rule, or inhabited
by non-Bantu peoples who have died out, like the
Cape's Hottentots, or been displaced, like Tutsis, or Tuaregs.
In effect, Bantu Africans have no better historical claim to
many parts of once European-ruled Africa than do
descendents of whites, Indians or Arabs.
Most important, as I found during East Africa's bush
wars, white Rhodesians and South African Boers
were not Europeans at all, but two distinct African
tribes that happened to have white skins.
A few nights in the field with the famed Rhodesian Selous Scouts
commandos left me in awe of these burly, hard-drinking,
men who spoke badly mauled English and knew the bundu - or
bush- like the backs of their big, weather-beaten hands.
Europeans they were not.
The real problem in
Zimbabwe is not that a tiny white minority has usurped
the only fertile land. Zimbabwe, and the rest of Africa, have plenty
of potentially productive land that today lies fallow or was
ruined by bad farming methods. Governments across black Africa
make life miserable for farmers.
Consider: if properly farmed, Angola alone could feed all of
sub-Saharan Africa. Mugabe and his `liberators' ought to go
develop and irrigate new land rather than steal the property
of Zimbabwean citizens whose only crime is to be
white and productive. Hopefully, Mugabe will back down under
world pressure and stop his little race war.