The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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ZIMBABWE: A STRANGER IN MY HOMELAND - Presented by the Starlight Productions as part of the WA Fringe Festival - Chloe Traicos tells the story of her family and how, after 100 years farming in Zimbabwe, they have been forced to leave. Through these stories we are told the real story of what is happening in Zimbabwe. - Season commences 31 January 2003, Subiaco Theatre

Show dates are :
Friday Jan 31st, Sat Feb 1, Wed Feb 5, Thur Feb 6, Fri Feb 7th, Sat Feb 8 2003
Subiaco Studio,180 Hamersley road. Subiaco. All shows start at 7.
The Australian

Refugees recall a different Zimbabwe
By Penny Brown
January 13, 2003
``WHAT I want people to see is that what is happening in Zimbabwe is
bordering on genocide - not only with Mugabe killing the white farmers but
also with him killing all the black people who will not support him," says
actor Chloe Traicos.

To set the record straight, Traicos has produced a one-hour documentary,
Stranger in My Homeland, which will screen at the Perth International Arts
Festival from January 31. It is comprised of interviews with seven
Zimbabweans - white and black - now living in Perth after recently fleeing
their homes.

Through their personal stories the documentary reveals "just how bad things
are" in Zimbabwe, says Traicos.

"The things that people tell you, you don't read about it anywhere; it's not
on the Internet or anything. They actually give you graphic details of how
horrific things are . . . One of the people was an eyewitness to the
Matabele massacres of the early 1980s."

Another person interviewed by Traicos describes the climate of fear in
Zimbabwe: "Here [in Australia] if someone threatens to kill you, you at
least know that they may be afraid of the law and not do it because they
don't want to go to jail. There, the law is against you, so if someone
threatens to kill you, you just pray that they are kind enough to have mercy
and not do it."

Traicos grew up in Zimbabwe but fled to Perth with her family - in 1998,
following Robert Mugabe's edict on the seizure of white-owned farms.
Although not a farming family, her parents were alarmed by Mugabe's stance -
alarmed enough to leave their home and emigrate to Australia.

The land seizures started in March 2000, after Mugabe lost a referendum on
changing the constitution to allow for the compulsory acquisition of land
from commercial farmers. Since then, the socioeconomic situation has
deteriorated rapidly as the hundreds of thousands of rural workers who were
forced to relocate also face drought and famine.

Although Traicos says the Zimbabwean community in Perth is growing, she says
many, newly arrived and still traumatised by their experiences, were
reluctant or afraid to speak with her.

The documentary has been 12 months in the making, and carries the same name
as her first play, which was staged at Perth's Blue Room in 2000 and told
the story of a white farming family in Zimbabwe who are run off their land.

In this work, Traicos draws parallels between the situation in Zimbabwe and
Nazi Germany. "Hitler used the Jews, a wealthy minority group, as a
scapegoat in the same way Mugabe has used the whites. Hitler told the
starving Germans that it was the Jews' fault they were all starving. In
exactly the same way, Mugabe has blamed the starvation of the blacks on the

Traicos finds it hard to reconcile the reality of Zimbabwe today with the
images of her childhood: "It was an ideal place to grow up. There never was
any racial tension there when I was growing up. It was newly independent."

The documentary, she hopes, will show Australians that "these people are
refugees - a lot of them can't go back, they don't have a home".


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