Postcard From Zimbabwe
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: April 7, 2010
Here’s a measure of how President Robert Mugabe is destroying this once lush nation of Zimbabwe:
In a week of surreptitious reporting here (committing journalism can be a criminal offense in Zimbabwe), ordinary people said time and again that life had been better under the old, racist, white regime of what was then called Rhodesia.
“When the country changed from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe, we were very excited,” one man, Kizita, told me in a village of mud-walled huts near this town in western Zimbabwe. “But we didn’t realize the ones we chased away were better and the ones we put in power would oppress us.”
“It would have been better if whites had continued to rule because the money would have continued to come,” added a neighbor, a 58-year-old farmer named Isaac. “It was better under Rhodesia. Then we could get jobs. Things were cheaper in stores. Now we have no money, no food.”
Over and over, I cringed as I heard Africans wax nostalgic about a nasty, oppressive regime run by a tiny white elite. Black Zimbabweans responded that at least that regime was more competent than today’s nasty, oppressive regime run by the tiny black elite that surrounds Mr. Mugabe.
A Times colleague, Barry Bearak, was jailed here in 2008 for reporting, so I used a fresh passport to enter the country as a tourist. Partly for my own safety, I avoided interviewing people with ties to the government, so I can’t be sure that my glimpse of the public mood was representative.
People I talked to were terrified for their personal safety if quoted — much more scared than in the past. That’s why I’m being vague about locations and agreed to omit full names.
But what is clear is that Zimbabwe has come very far downhill over the last few decades (although it has risen a bit since its trough two years ago). An impressive health and education system is in tatters, and life expectancy has tumbled from about 60 years in 1990 to somewhere between 36 and 44, depending on which statistics you believe.
Western countries have made the mistake of focusing their denunciations on the seizures of white farms by Mr. Mugabe’s cronies. That’s tribalism by whites; by far the greatest suffering has been endured by Zimbabwe’s blacks.
In Kizita’s village, for example, I met a 29-year-old woman, seven months pregnant, who had malaria. She and her husband had walked more than four miles to the nearest clinic, where she tested positive for malaria. But the clinic refused to give her some life-saving antimalaria medicine unless she paid $2 — and she had no money at all in her house. So, dizzy and feverish, she stumbled home for another four miles, empty-handed.
As it happened, the clinic that turned her down was one that I had already visited. Nurses there had complained that they were desperately short of bandages, antibiotics and beds. They said that to survive, they impose fees for seeing patients, for family planning, for safe childbirth — and the upshot is that impoverished villagers die because they can’t pay.
I also spent time at an elementary school where the number of students had dropped sharply because so few parents today can afford $36 in annual school fees.
“We don’t have desks. We don’t have chairs. We don’t have books,” explained the principal, who was terrified of being named. The school also lacks electricity and water, and the first grade doesn’t have a classroom and meets under a tree.
This particular school had been founded by Rhodesians more than 70 years ago, and the principal mused that it must have served black pupils far better in Rhodesian days than today.
At another school 100 miles away, the deputy headmaster lamented that students can’t even afford pens. “One child has to finish his work, and then he lends his pen to another child,” he explained.
Zimbabwe is one of my favorite countries, blessed with friendly people, extraordinary wildlife and little crime. I took my family along with me on this trip (my kids accuse me of using them as camouflage), and they found the scenery, people and wild animals quite magical.
At a couple of villages we visited, farmers were driving away elephants that were trampling their crops — and they were blaming Mr. Mugabe for the elephants. That struck even me as unfair.
The tragedy that has unfolded here can be reversed if Mr. Mugabe is obliged by international pressure, particularly from South Africa, to hold free elections. Worldwide pressure forced the oppressive Rhodesian regime to give up power three decades ago. Now we need similar pressure, from African countries as well as Western powers, to pry Mr. Mugabe’s fingers from his chokehold on a lovely country.To view the original article CLICK HERE
Much of Africa has suffered as a result of decolonisation which is a EUphemism for anti white racism. Many of the countries were all but empty of people when the European travellers arrived.
Captain Cook careened in Table Bay for over 3 months and his departure log was:
'A green and verdant land totally uninhabited by man'!
There were very few people South of the Tugella when the Dutch East India Company arrived.
The Southern Swazi were starting to emigrate south at the same time and it was largely constraint by realisation that the land south of the Tugella was occupied that gave rise to the consolidation of the Southern Swazi and the dispute of Nandi with Senzenakona that gave rise to the emergence of the Zulu who may never have arisen had Tchaka not been both illegitimate as a result of isifibi (sp?) and impotent with NO libido being in medical terms a 'picnic'.
The Xhosa were a reneged Impi that thrived under Mkilikatze and the failed impi that turned north to cross the Vaal were also Southern Swazi who failed to assimilate or assimilated as Zulu but failed and were driven out in Tchaka's expansionist rule of terror.
Having been an active campaigner, to some extent, against apartheid and in SOWETO 9the SOuth WEst TOwnships) during the 1976 confrontation it is clear to me that the Nats. made the same error as the Rhodesians - they failed to create a middle class amongst the blacks - there were families like the Dlamini who were very wealthy but still they were denied any form of integrationary middle class status and rigging of elections by the Nats. and the verkramters was clear with the railway HQ being moved to Durban to unseat the more verlighter like von Keyserling etc.
There was no buffer zone and thus the underclass was easily inspired to uprising by Communist trained or inspired indigenous terrorists. Walter Sitole, Nelson Mandella, Robert Mugabe and their murderous henchmen.
Much of the problem was the deliberate sabotage of the British Empire influence by US inspired jealousy after WWII to which can be attributed the whole of the problems in the Middle East, and much of the problems of Africa in a US backed corporate expansionism that has proved a failure in term s of sociology.
That the Bantu are the main victim of the departure of the white Africans driven back to largely alien lands like Britain and Australia - where those of Dutch origin were so distanced that they found return nigh impossible. The two Portugese colonies were run by peasant peoples from Portugal and were both fairly disasterous under Portugals control and the Salazarri tenure led to collapse.
Jimmy Carter's pucillanimity gave rise to the demise of Angola when having instigated invasion he pulled out leaving General Hertzog high and dry outside Luanda with only withdrawal across The Caprivi as his only option.
Now the only competent intervention would be America and they have absolutely no idea how to fight any kind of war that isn't crassly amateur - war is NOT about destroying the enemy it is about imobilising the enemy with minimum casualty and minimum damage or you end up with wasted territory and destroyed trust - so very American!
France is utterly useless militarily hence they are depende3nt on Mercenaries of Legion Etrangere, Germany IS a military power but teenage in its approach fearing its propensity for the enjoyment of aggression & Britain has been emasculated even before the last 13 unlucky years of communist rule fronted by the crippling ineptitude of Labour.
I do rather think the outlook for Africa is Black!
However it is increasingly becoming obvious that the future may well be even worse as China takes over! It has now reached the stage where no Western intervention is possible for fear of confrontation with China as they now OWN so many African Countries and within 10 years will OWN South Africa.
There is no value to SA in nationalising the mines other than as the hidden hand of China where IGoldi will be the cost of solvency keeping the government in power - China is making moves to increase Gold holdings over the next 5 to 10 years by 10,000 physical tons to underpin The Yuan - this is the main reason why Gold has risen in price to $1,200 and will continue rising with a figure of $4-5,000 realistic within a relatively short time.
Investment? I suggest a chain of fully equipped Chinese takaways across Africa now that Chinese labour is being imported to undercut the local blacks in terms of wages and output!
Afghanistan is little different as the Chinese watch America and their allies make fools of themselves and play the long game for the copper. Survival into the future has blow all to do with oil with which we are awash but everything to do with CLEAN water, SAFE sewage and the means to transmit power which is dependent on COPPER which is very much a finite resource and has underpinned Chinas interest in certain countries in Africa and also Afghanistan which has THE largest unmined reserves known on the planet.
The idiocy of some of the Green Schemes for power generation are quite staggering - be that wind, tide or solar - already Britain is looking at a bill of £780+ per household per annum until we have built the network for Green Power not to mention the means of hoped for production.
We note the simpering Alex Salmond posturing about The Hydro and Green Power from wind being the bulk of electricity in Scotland by 2025 - can we all have some of what he is smoking AND his art COLLECTION, - Scotland can't even afford the copper for the new gridding! Why do you think The French, on a subsidy from The EU, has laid a cable the whole length of Britain all the way from France to Scotland - The French know what will happen!!!
"In politics, stupidity is not a handicap."
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821),
for all my contact details & Blogs: CLICK HERE
British Politicians with pens and treachery, in pursuit of their own agenda and greed, have done more damage to the liberty, freedoms, rights and democracy of the British peoples than any army in over 1,000 years.
The disastrous effects of British politicians selling Britain into the thrall of foreign rule by the EU for their own personal rewards has damaged the well-being of Britain more than the armies of Hitler and the Franco - German - Italian axis of 1939 - 1945.
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