Mugabe and the Continuing White Supremacist Narrative 268

Robert Mugabe makes an easy hate figure for the right wing media, and the cruelty, corruption and absurdities of the latter part of his overlong rule justify much of the hate. But the slightest analysis of the media expression of this hatred reveals it to feed a variety of British imperialist tropes which persist to an alarming degree into the 21st century – that Africans cannot govern themselves and were better off under white rule and even that black people cannot farm.

The justified criticisms of human rights abuses perpetrated by Mugabe very seldom recount the atrocities perpetrated by white rule in Zimbabwe. Mugabe himself was incarcerated without trial for over ten years, in dreadful conditions, merely for speaking out against the colonial government, a fact that must have had a major psychological impact. It is also worth emphasising that Mugabe was imprisoned without trial by the British authorities of Souther Rhodesia, before the declaration of UDI – a fact I struggle to find in any of the MSM obituaries.

The accepted narrative on Mugabe in power is that for over ten years he governed well, following western economic norms and rubbing along with the white population as though they were all fine English gentlemen together, notably patronising cricket and crucially making no effort to redress white economic privilege. Yet it was this “good” Mugabe who turned on the minority Ndebele tribe, massacring over 10,000 and ousting his Ndebele deputy, Joshua Nkomo (who had arguably contributed rather more to the liberation struggle). But as this did not especially annoy the IMF or compromise the interests of British American Tobacco, western criticism was very muted. To be fair, Mugabe’s government did make notable advances in education and in healthcare in this period.

Mugabe had to stop playing the English gentleman when popular discontent at the failure of Independence to improve the economic position of the ordinary Zimbabwean led to the unthinkable possibility of electoral defeat. The dual strategy of harsh repression of critics and a populist and highly corrupt programme of land seizures was a panicked response that ushered in two decades of spiraling decline for the country.

But consider this.

In Zimbabwe, as in highland Kenya, the sub-tropical climate was suitable for white colonists and their agriculture. All of the best arable land had been ruthlessly seized by white colonists from the African population. At the time of Independence, over half of the seizures and enclosures were still within the living memory of elders.

In Zimbabwe as in Kenya, a prime cause of the tribal conflict, in Zimbabwe principally between Shona and Ndbele, was that white land seizures had broken traditional boundaries and had forced migration of peoples onto each other’s land, the parcels of which unoccupied by white farmers were ever shrinking. For the west to sneer at African tribalism when brutal western settlers were at the root of much of the conflict, is ludicrous hypocrisy.

Land reform was, and is, essential in Zimbabwe. Mugabe’s tragedy was that his desire to ingratiate with Western elites led him to accept for far too long their insistence that the white colonists keep their massive land holdings. The popular demand for the land was a perfectly natural desire for justice. That there was no dynamic land reform programme for the start, and pent-up resentment was allowed to explode into an unplanned wave of violence, destruction and massive corruption, was Mugabe’s greatest failure. Mugabe saw in the resulting situation only opportunities for personal enrichment and to consolidate his power.

Land reform in both Zimbabwe and South Africa is an urgent priority. I do not accept the argument that because it was a white settler’s grandfather or great grandfather who seized the land, legally under racist colonial land grab legislation, that the descendants now have a right to it. I also do not accept the notion that Africans cannot farm. I discuss this subject quite extensively in The Catholic Orangemen of Togo (which almost nobody has read but I strongly believe is my best book). It is ironic that climate awareness now brings more of an acceptance that traditional African smallholder farming techniques, with their emphasis on intercropping, embody thousands of years of wisdom and are much more sustainable in Africa than the western monocrop techniques of clearing and leveling vast tracts and replenishing the soil through massive use of industrial fertiliser.

Robert Mugabe was a man who did terrible things. But he had suffered greatly in struggling against white rule and the great evil that was the imperial legacy in Africa. His life and memory must not be allowed to feed a racist meme of African cruelty and incompetence.


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268 thoughts on “Mugabe and the Continuing White Supremacist Narrative

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  • N_

    Will Robert Mugabe’s death affect the position of probably Zimbabwe’s most influential current white landowner, Nicholas van Hoogstraten?

  • nevermind

    The news of Dorians destruction in the Bahama islands in today’s I paper is being purged to page 25, whilst Mugabe death, who knows whether UK newspaper proprietors ever profited from Zimbabwean blood diamonds, got a four page spread, right up front, followed by a bull being handled by a bullshitter on page 8.
    Should we look out for Barclays bank putting its flags on half mast?

    • N_

      “Blood diamonds” is De Beers propaganda, as is the idea that diamonds are “forever”, as is the notion of “eternity ring”, although that last one had some Soviet input.

  • N_

    @Fwl – See my contributions on this at the end of the previous thread. You are absolutely right that if Parliament is prorogued before the bill received the royal assent then it will not yet be an Act and therefore it will not be the law. Reports say it will be presented for assent on Monday. Monday is also the earliest day on which Boris Johnson can prorogue under the prorogation order.

    The formal announcement of assent happens in the House of Lords when the words “la Reine le veult” are intoned.

  • N_

    Other than the cricket, what’s the reason for saying Robert Mugabe played the role of the English gentleman rather than a generic British one, or perhaps a Scottish one à la Hastings Banda in Malawi and Idi Amin in Uganda? How did Mugabe present himself when he accepted his honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh for example?

  • Roger Bland

    Quit apologizing for or rehabilitating what are opportunists and outright anti-democratic despots who might have “some” history or flavor of “anti-colonialism” like Mugabe, Assad, Hamas, etc. but which HAVE practiced political repression on the population. Right-wing bourgeois bigotry will certainly criticize these figures, and often from a racist or pro-colonial basis, and we can and should combat that clearly. But framing figures like Mugabe as some sort of victim of abuse or repression, and therefore a “lesser evil” to imperialism is simply false, and politically deadly. Did Nelson Mandela come out of Robbins Island and carry out the atrocities and repression that Mugabe did? MANDELA is an example of political leadership, in contrast to Mugabe.

    • Old Mark

      Did Nelson Mandela come out of Robbins Island and carry out the atrocities and repression that Mugabe did?

      Excellent point RB.

      As for Craig’s claim that the cruelty and corruption of Mugabe’s rule only got going in the latter half of his reign- my arse! His goons were at work (admittedly at a non lethal level) in rural Mashonaland even during the election process that saw him assume rule in the renamed, legally independent Zimbabwe. And Christopher Soames, the last Governor of Rhodesia, was more than capable, as the perfect embodiment of the old Establishment, at turning a blind eye to this in the interests of expediency. Craig’s quoted figure of only 10,000 Ndebele deaths during his campaign in Matabeleland in 1983-84 is also an extremely conservative estimate- the sort of thing that, when applied to, for example, Bosnian muslim fatalities in the 1992-95 war, can lead to accusations of ‘genocide denial’ from the relevant interested parties.

      All in all an almost textbook example of the post colonial cringe that is extremely useful should anyone here be thinking of a job in the humanities in general, and social Anthropology/African /’Black’ studies in particular, at a UK or North American University. To that extent, this post is of some interest and utility.

      • Garth Carthy

        To Roger Bland and Old Mark

        I think you should read Craig’s topic again. He does not excuse Mugabe’s tyranny and killings but merely points out that the brutal treatment that the whites inflicted on Mugabe, and blacks generally, may have made his actions as a ruler worse than they might otherwise have been.
        Surely, the main thrust of Craig’s topic is to point out that there is no evidence whatsover that black people are any less able than whites to run their affairs (look at Boris Johnson!).
        What we do know is that the West has inflicted untold damage in it’s exploitation of Africa and other third world countries and so they have never had chance to lift themselves out of poverty or create more stable societies.

        • Old Mark

          He does not excuse Mugabe’s tyranny and killings but merely points out that the brutal treatment that the whites inflicted on Mugabe, and blacks generally, may have made his actions as a ruler worse than they might otherwise have been.

          Half right Garth- Craig doesn’t ‘excuse’ Mugabe’s crimes, but he does minimise their extent and the time frame of their execution- which began in a small way right at the beginning.

          Blacks can run countries perfectly well- Barbados on several measures is better governed, its people enjoying a higher standard of living,and suffering considerably lower levels of corruption, than several European (even EU) states. Data from several respected international organisations eg Transparency International, attest to this. In Africa itself however finding similar data and similar well run states is much harder to find- the conjunction of tribal allegiances and the borders drawn by the former colonial rulers- still entirely intact (minus the creation of S Sudan this century) 60 years after most of the colonisers left, appears to create intractable problems which are absent in some majority black Caribbean countries (almost always the formerly British administered ones).

          As for the plusses and minuses of colonisation (and temporarily inverting the language of the bogus humanities subjects found on US/UK universities which Craig borrows here), the introduction of western medicine (a body of knowledge to which black Africans have contributed precisely nothing) has been an undoubted benefit- indeed many scholars regard this as the greatest act of cultural appropriation now extant in the post modern world blah blah.

          • bevin

            “… western medicine (a body of knowledge to which black Africans have contributed precisely nothing)..”
            This is quite untrue.

          • Old Mark

            Of course some cultures in Africa used primitive surgical techniques, and found medicinal uses by trial and error for some of the herbs growing around them- but quite how effective these surgical techniques were without proper anasthesia (a development of purely western origin) is moot, to say the least.

            These snippets are nothing like a body of knowledge remotely comparable to the corpus of knowledge that comprises western medicine.

            Craig also praised Mugabe in his eccentric post for his alleged achievements early in his reign at increasing healthcare outcomes for ordinary Africans- well they clearly didn’t last long, as he spent most of his declining years shuttling between his mansion outside Harare and Singapore for medical treatment. He trusted neither his own country or any neighbouring ones to provide the standard of medical care he demanded. And before some smart alec says hey, wait a minute, is Singapore an outlier of ‘western medicine’- well it sure is, unless it can be proved he was there solely for Ayurvedic treatments from assorted Tamil quacks !

    • Hatuey

      “framing figures like Mugabe as some sort of victim of abuse or repression, and therefore a “lesser evil” to imperialism is simply false”

      I don’t entirely understand what false means in that sentence. You seem to be straightforwardly arguing that Zimbabwe was better off under British imperialism than under Mugabe. Quite amazing really.

      Even within the biased framework of British media reporting, you would struggle to find an article that doesn’t acknowledge Mugabe’s popularity. And it was a rational popularity based on his many achievements, schools, hospitals, roads, power stations, running water, etc. The list is endless. All things the British empire tended to ignore.

      In light of that fact, for he was extremely popular, a little penny should be dropping and you should be starting to feel rather silly — you just assumed the role of the pompous superior westerner telling people of the third world that you know what’s good for them, something they don’t know themselves, and that they’d be better off formally enslaved in the glorious British empire.

      If you said that in a crowded bar in Harare, you’d have a life expectancy of about 10 seconds.

      • Steve Ambartzakis

        Indeed Mugabe was so popular that we have 4 million of his subjects eking out a living in South Africa. Mugabe was only popular among his fellow despots and those Africans stupid enough to think that he was sticking two fingers up to the West

    • giyane

      Roger Bland

      Assad was rendition-torturing for USUKIS.
      White supremacism appears to completely whitewash the instigators of torture while blackening the reputation of the wog.

      Unbelievable really that by continually foul mouthing their shoehorned dictators USUKIS continually scrubs itself Persil clean.

  • dgl

    in the early 90s zimbabwe was a great place to live. as was south africa up until the reign of zuma. now both countries are in freefall they had lots of investment money along with rich mineral reserves but failed to empower the people due to their policies of enriching the elite. systemic corruption. high crime levels and totally unqualified and inept civil servants have contributed to the demise. you are right craig that westerners pillaged the country too but speaking to many zimbabweans over the last few years i have come to the conclusion that a high percentage of them would happily turn the clock back and that is extremely sad and a legacy of the man, robert mugabe.
    however you want to paint the picture everything was in place to keep zimbabwe as the breadbasket of africa. mugabe destroyed that. south africa will be next under the anc mark my words.

  • Steven

    Craig your assertion that there was no dynamic land reform program going on is wrong . The late Vice President Msika was leading a program funded by the World Bank, which came to an abrupt halt once the “war veterans” started the land invasions. Aside from the corrupt allocation of land you refer to, one of the key failures of the land grab followed by Mugabe was that title was never given to the indigenous beneficiaries of the land allocation and therefore had no security to offer in order to raise finance for the farming inputs. Whilst much focus was on the white farmers too little attention was given to those who suffered the most under the land reform – the thousands of workers on the farms whose livelihoods were destroyed by the land grab.

  • John Wilson

    The information I offer is taken from the book “Strange Liberators” by Gregory Elich. It was published in 2006.

    The Lancaster House conference of 1979 stated that independence was conditional on land transfers only taking place between a “willing seller” and willing buyer. This stymied any land reform for 10 years. Six million African peasants eked out a precarious existence on poor quality communal land. 4,500 white farmers owned 70% of the richest and most productive land. Land reform was the right thing for the Zimbabwean government to be doing. When compulsory land purchase of 1,471 farms was initiated in 1997 the UK reaction was hostile. Britain never gave Zimbabwe the money to help with the purchase of farms that had been promised at independence.

    Zimbabwe was the target of colonialism Mark 2. This consists of the World Bank and the IMF only granting credit provided neoliberal “Economic Structural Adjustment Programme” (ESAP) is followed. The ESAP requires privatisation, deregulation, user fees for public for health and education, ending food subsides. Mugabe had accepted the programme in 1991.

    This programme was disastrous for the population. The poorest households saw their income drop by 12% in the first year. Real wages fell by a third over the lifetime of the programme.

    In October 2001 Mugabe decided the country was withdrawing from the ESAP due to plummeting living standards. In December 2001 the U.S. government passed legislation which severely restricted Zimbabwe’s access to foreign currency . Various de facto sanctions were put in place by the UK, the EU and the US.

    Western governments gave financial and other aid to the opposition party – the Movement for Democratic Change in the hope that Zanu- PF, the party that Mugabe led, would be voted out of office.

    The sanctions that denied Zimbabwe access to foreign currency contributed enormously to the suffering of the population.

    Mugabe’s crime was to have not cooperated with the economic colonialism inflicted on his country by western powers.

    • Gary Littlejohn

      This overview gives an indication of some of the problems that the ZANU-PF government faced. However, the massacre of supposed ZAPU supporters among the Ndebele in south eastern Zimbabwe (aka Matabeleland) in 1983 probably amounted to about 20,000, and led to a very small insurgency by ‘Super Zapu’ that ended voluntarily in 1988. The ‘land reforms’ initiated by the IMF created a host of rural problems that did indeed lead to rural unrest and a political threat to ZANU-PF. The willingness to sign up to the IMF ESAP programme was the result of economic failures during the 1980s, fuelled by a complacency resulting from the first few years of successful economic growth. These problems of IMF-induced instability in land holdings were analysed in a series of detailed books based on field research by the late Sam Moyo. Most were only published in Zimbabwe itself and so the issues are not widely understood but the results of the IMF programme were generally negative, as one would have expected. So the later expropriations by ‘veterans’ did not come out of nowhere.

      Ironically there had been detailed research in preparations for land reform in the late 1980s by the Ministry of Agriculture, with support from researchers at the University of Leeds, led by the late Professor Lionel Cliffe. This work produced a feasible set of proposals, but was not financially supported by the UK government, as mentioned elsewhere, nor supported politically by the ZANU-PF leadership, including Mugabe. The sudden move in favour of rapid rural expropriations was indeed fuelled by the emerging political threat from a failure to deal with the issue of land reform. African peasant land holdings had had a higher level of productivity per hectare than those of the settler farmers, even though the latter were on the best land. So part of the issue was how important would be the loss of foreign exchange from cash crops as opposed to the benefits of higher food production for the majority of the population. The political motivation for the expropriations can be seen from the fact that they started in parts of the Eastern Highlands where the soil was not too fertile. An assessment of the longer term effect of these ‘land reforms’ can be found in Joseph Hanlon, Jeanette Manjengwa and Teresa Smart, Zimbabwe Takes Back its Land, 2014. This book opens with a description of atrocities by returning ex-RAF airmen (including Ian Smith) in 1945. There is also an article by these authors in Third World Quarterly in 2014,

      None of this excuses Mugabe’s repression, which not only started in 1980, but can be seen in his spontaneous reaction in 1988 to protests over food shortages in the main stadium in Harare. He wanted to send the troops against the crowd, but his then wife talked him into actually trying to find a way to supply more food. I have personally heard from MDC members of the torture and beatings that their election teams have faced. In addition, in 2004 I was told by an ex-policeman that the police were killing people in Harare, and that he had left because he wanted no part of it. Nor should we forget that when diamonds were discovered in the Eastern Highlands in about 2007, and informal mining took place, helicopter gunships were sent to machine gun the miners in order for the government to take over the fields. An article in The Review of African Political Economy in about 2015 detailed how these diamond mines had been ‘sanitised’ for the Kimberley Process on ‘blood diamonds’ and how an airstrip had been built to fly the diamonds out to |Madagascar and then on to Dubai. The result was that the $600 million annually that the Ministry of Finance had been expecting never appeared. The author of this article agreed to its publication even though he had been arrested and tortured prior to trial for stealing government documents.

          • RandomComment

            Thank you. I put what thought and life-experience I have behind my comments. Sometimes, and such as it is 😉

            Although Bev is not replying to me, can just add that irony does not appear to be a concept some people here understand.

            As for the subtext – paid shill – if anyone reading this wants to come forward to pay me to say things I already believe in, let me know, I could do with some extra cash 😉

  • Alec

    For many years there has been no barrier to blacks obtaining land in South Africa. In fact there were many incentives. This has not resulted in them doing so for many reasons. The most important two are that they do not want to become farmers and it is a very difficult place to farm well. White Rhodesians and South Africans mastered the business whilst blacks have not. Zimbabwe ejected very many white farmers and their food production collapsed. Now they are begging them to return. In South Africa every political party is vying to outdo the others in hatred of whites. It has become one of the most dangerous places on Earth for all races. Electrical generation is set to collapse, water supplies are in dire straights, the police and government are totally corrupt and nobody in their right mind wants to go there. This is the result of mindless left wing “reforms”. From the best two countries in Africa to hellholes in a generation.Even more shocking to you would be if I suggest you researched the average IQ of the different racial groups which logic dictates must play a part whether you like it or not. Incidentally the black inhabitants that the white colonists pushed out were also colonists that had ejected the original inhabitants violently. It might not fit your view of the world but the white rule in both countries produced much safer and more prosperous societies than in any black ruled country ever has. You are part of the western politically correct culture that has led to the destruction of the two best countries in Africa and quite possibly the genocide of any whites unfortunate enough to still be there when the collapse really bites. Well done.

    RT News: Outbreak of violence targets foreigners in South Africa

    • Hatuey

      Alec, you’re a racist. And not a very smart one — the smart ones know not to say what you say here in public.

      • Soop

        What part of Alec’s post was racist?

        If you’ve ever been to that region, South Africa in particular you’ll recognise everything he’s saying as the truth. Your snowflake sentimentality might not like it but it’s real.

          • Dom

            So you’ve no problem with apartheid apologia when it comes to southern Africa but are fanatically obsessed with condemning Israel.

          • S

            Wow. I’ve been to the region too. The first few sentences of Alec’s post seemed a bit blunt but tolerable. But then he descended into cheap, cliched, debunked racist nonsense about IQ. Would be a good idea to disown that.

          • Hatuey

            Well in, sharpy, siding with and supporting racists. I don’t have much of a reputation to worry about on here but I thought you were the type that cared about these things.

          • Rowan Berkeley

            “The content of Alec’s post chimes with what I hear from a relative there.”

            Sharp Ears, your relative like yourself is white.

      • giyane


        I agree with you. I spent my childhood with the children of colonisers in an English public school. The sons of the governors of this or that former colony know all about Africa. i heard all this chat before.
        But they have not a shred of justice inculcated into them. I am probably the least informed person about Africa, and my only connection with Africa is sharing a community in Birmingham with African Muslims who are imho superb. When I went to israel in 1976 I heard my israeli hosts mocking the the dysfunctional Palestinian society, dusfunctional because of their violence and persecution.
        Craig has experience and knowledge about Africa and helps to make Electricity. he is completely different from the colonial types who know every detail about post-colonial history.

        Alec says ” This is the result of mindless left wing “reforms”. From the best two countries in Africa to hellholes in a generation “. Mugabe espoused Marxist ideology but his main achievement was to keep out white interference in Zimbabwe. White colonialists obviously can’t interfere directly in a post-colonial country, but they can and do use proxies. Our present prime Minister is fully versed in the use of proxies, in his case Al Qaida in the great game against Russia. in that particular upper class Twittish pastime the Twits have spectacularly lost in Syria. In Africa , by contrast, the Twits, short for colonial Tory Brits , have kept their mits on countries like Zimbabwe through proxies . rulers like Mugabe have to ruthlessly put down the proxies or possible proxies of white recidivist colonialism, and they have to enrich themselves in order to be able to deal with the huge wealth of the vested interests of white post colonial trading power.

        the job of the Twits is to 100% trash the reputations of leaders like Mugabe, but the reality is that they retained vast economic power through their colonial holdings and they also wielded massive subversive power against the leadership through contacts and proxies. I never listen to Twits because I was brought up with them and I know how incorrigible they are. Why are we still destroying the Middle East, a colonial game that has been continuously played for the last 30 years? because of the colonial mindset of this post-colonial class. Why did we bomb Libya into destruction and stick Al Qaida in the form of Belhaj into power there? For the same reason.

        i 100% agree with Craig’s thesis that the colonial elite is recidivist, incurable and unredeemable.
        I 100% agree with his position that the best thing to do with the Twits is to sever Scotland from their grip in order to weaken their base.
        I 100% agree with his position on the monarchy that she is the bastion under which the Twits shelter their prehistoric, racist and colonial ideas.
        What’s more I always have and always will be allergic to anyone who says that black people are inferior types oh human being, at the same time as continuously subverting their efforts through sanctions, business, proxy insurgency and all other economic means in their evil power.

        • Hatuey

          I watched an interview with David Frost and Oswald Mosley the other day. You can watch it on YouTube.

          Mosley was supposed to provide the intellectual argument for British racism and imperialism. I believe in trying to understand one’s enemies and expected a moderately stimulating exchange in the interview but it did t happen.

          Mosley comes across as a thick blinking crackpot. He also comes across as a complete coward who was not prepared to admit let alone defend his views.

          This is the problem with these vile right wing views. They’re hollow and indefensible. Only idiots, in my experience, usually uneducated pigs, make anti-immigrant and racist arguments.

          My view on all this hasn’t changed with Brexit. I’ve heard liberals arguing that it’s legitimate to target and control immigrants recently, etc. Many have buckled under pressure on that but not me.

          I’m old enough to remember the National Front. UKIP was/is indistinguishable from the National Front.

          I say today what I said 3 years ago. Brexit, UKIP, and all the ideas and morons that surround them, are driven by racism.

    • frankywiggles

      Even erstwhile Tory supporters of “Rhodesia” and apartheid South Africa (Boris Johnson, Theresa May, etc) have sense enough now to know it is not acceptable to publicly celebrate overtly racist states. Only the lowest IQ residue still see them as civilised societies.

    • N_

      The idea that some people are born more clever and others less clever is sh*t.
      The idea that such a quality as “general intelligence” even exists is sh*t.
      You probably can’t examine your premises, but others can.

    • bevin

      “For many years there has been no barrier to blacks obtaining land in South Africa.”
      Or to their renting a suite in the Ritz Hotel and buying a house in Mayfair. No legal barrier, that is.

      • Ort

        This is the flip side to Anatole France’s observation: “In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.”

    • John A

      “For many years there has been no barrier to blacks obtaining land in South Africa.”

      In a similar way, there are no barriers to homeless people checking into a 5-star hotel.

  • Baalbek

    IIRC Mugabe was received favourably by the west until he began appropriating farms from white colonial settlers. After that he became a “brutal dictator” and joined the Putin, Assad, Kim, Gaddafi et al. axis of bogeymen wheeled out regularly by the Atlantacists for their two-minutes-of-hate ritual condemnation of leaders who don’t dance to the west’s drummer.

    Given the wars, the sanctions, the persecuting and smearing of truth speakers like Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and our gracious host…and the slow erosion of civil liberties at home, western leaders are really the last people who should be lecturing others about human rights and civil liberties.

  • Ralph Liam

    Orange men of Togo is the only book of Craig’s that I’ve read, so I don’t know whether it’s his best. It’s definitely worth reading though.

    • Brianfujisan

      A great book..Putting Secret Dics doon the Crotch ..Trying to find the Satellite connection .. Dicing with Killers ECT

      The reason for the book’s Title.. Great book.. but i think Murder in Samarkand is Best .

  • Loony

    Let us not get confused here.

    Think about farming and what it entails. Ask why Russia has let into Russia 15,000 South African farmers. Look at the Mid west and see who is farming. Look at Argentina and see who is farming.

    Take a look at Nigeria and see how they need farmers. There are upward of 190 million people in Nigeria, why would they need to import farmers?

    Who is doing all the farming in East Anglia, or in the Massif Central, or on the Meseta?

    Who are committing suicide in massively disproportionate numbers, if not farmers – from India through to Montana?

  • Antonym

    Compared by the atrocities and manipulations committed by some British men oversees almost anything pales, even a Mugabe…
    Ok, Belgium king Lepold II “best” them in the Congo.

  • Dave

    The post colonial problems in Rhodesia and South Africa were due to anti-white racism by the Globalist owned Corporations who wanted good governance by the ‘whites’ replaced with corrupt governance by corrupt ‘blacks’ so they could more easily the rob the countries.

    Essentially following Britain’s devastating defeat in WWII, the British administrative empire was being taken over by the American financial empire, which replaced paternalism with plunder and asset stripping, hence why a proper balanced transition to benefit all Africans, and recognised the rights of the native ‘white’ Africans, never allowed to happen, because that was never the aim.

      • Dave

        Sorry but farming the land cannot be plunder because it involves cultivating and harvesting the land for annual crops to sell and eat. I.e. its enriching rather than plundering the land.

        • michael norton

          Quite so Dave, possibly with the exception of Palm Oil Plantation.

          You do not need to own the land to farm the land.
          It would be quite reasonable for the Zim administration to make farm land of above 300 acres of holding
          into government owned land but to lease those farms to a farmer or groups of farmers.

          • michael norton

            let’s bring some sense and sensibility to these pages,
            If Robert had taken ownership of large farms into his administration, he could have offered to lease some of them to White Farmers.
            These White Farmers, might have been upset but if they had taken that chance
            Zim could still have been the breadbasket of Southern Africa, rather than the Basket Case of Southern Africa.
            Robert did not go down this route; he gave many farms to Grace, his second wife, others were given to military types.
            What Robert failed to do, was give land to people who would be interested in farming.

          • Hatuey

            Michael, try reading instead of relying on tv news. The Chatham house agreement of 1979 stipulated that there would be a phased transition with land bought at market value handed over in stages. I believe they proposed to do this over decades to minimise resentment etc. Anyway, it didn’t happen for a reason.

        • zoot

          you represent ‘the british administrative empire’ as some kind of dutiful paternalist enterprise. its purpose was in fact to oversee the systematic exploitation of africa’s natural resources, to the exclusive benefit of britain’s colonial elite and white settlers. likewise british rule in india, which historian shashi tharoor recently described as ‘the most sordid and criminal exploitation of one nation by another in all recorded history’. (blighted by empire: what the british did to india, 2018).

    • John2o2o

      “Essentially following Britain’s devastating defeat in WWII”

      I’m sorry, but I find it hard to take your comment seriously when you say things like this.

      • giyane


        If Britain was not defeated in WW2 why has it continuously tried to build empire 2 on the profits from Middle eastern oil? What we need to do now is to have a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who will bring a halt to this continual bombing and destruction of countries who are rich in oil and chuck out these Empire 1 failures like Boris Johnson who can’t get their heads round their defeat in WW2.

        70 years is a long time to get grown up in and we need to start soon before our country’s reputation is further dragged through the poo.

        • John2o2o

          giyane, I don’t recall Hitler landing at Dover …

          I know what you and Dave are saying about the country’s finances after the end of the war.

      • Dave

        If someone losses all their limbs (Germany) and someone loses almost all their limbs (Britain) then Britain has won, but really both have lost!

        • John2o2o

          I appreciate your post Dave, but please remember that a lot of men fought and died in that war.

          Both my English grandfather and my Scottish grandfather were in Germany. My English grandfather was mentioned in despatches for bravery. This is something he was extremely proud of.

          Britain was on the winning side, though it may have been ruined financially by that war.

          • Dave

            I used to hear the refrain “we won the war, but lost the peace”! No, we lost the peace because we lost the war! Once that truth is recognised, it explains everything about post war Britain.

  • Soop

    “Land reform in both Zimbabwe and South Africa is an urgent priority.”

    This statement exposes your dangerously limited and biased view of the situation in the region, and this ridiculous liberal position is the same as the slavery reparations argument in the US. It plays ever so nicely to the militant liberal but is deeply flawed and illogical.

    Additionally you once again make a bold statement about what “should” be done but then offer no insight or explanation as to how this would be implemented in reality. So consider this:

    If land reforms were to be implemented who is the land to be given to?
    You conveniently ignore the fact that the indigenous tribes were extremely violent and regularly seized land from each other in tribal conflict. Do we take that into account too?

    What about the families who were working and living in the farms? Shouldn’t they have a say in who takes ownership of the land, given they might be expelled from their homes if the new “owners” are from a different tribe?

    What’s to stop the new “owners” taking ownership and then immediately selling the land back to corporate or foreign interests? Didn’t consider that one did you!

    Climb down from your ivory tower and try visiting Zimbabwe. Speak to some locals and ask them if they want land reform. They don’t. They want jobs and stability. They have no idea how to farm or manage land which is why the country is starving. Zimbabwe has arguably he most fertile soil in Africa yet the people starve.

    • Hatuey

      “You conveniently ignore the fact that the indigenous tribes were extremely violent and regularly seized land from each other in tribal conflict.”

      And like a good little Nazi bastard you ignore the fact that what others do in this world provides no justification for what you do, and that forcibly taking people’s land is considered in international law the most serious of all crimes.

      • Anon1

        Of course; the real, pertinent rape/plunder of Africa is taking place right now. Not by Craig’s detested white people, but by yellow people. It doesn’t fit in with the narrative, so the human rights activist ignores it. Just as he ignores Hong Kong. It’s all so tiresome.

        • Hatuey

          Anon, if you can’t see the difference between buying land and forcibly stealing it, you are probably quite dangerous.

          • Anon1

            Look at thus defence of Yellow rule from the self-hating white! They are buying Africa for the Africans’ own good, I tell you!! Obviously you are a complete and utter ignoramus and a tool.

            [ Mod: Anon1 was banned some time ago, but occasionally tries to creep back with different details or identities. The muzzle is now back on. ]

          • Shatnersrug

            Anon1 is many thing but dangerous isn’t one of them. Irrelevant is more correct. Just don’t read him and don’t respond to him and its like he’s never there

          • Hatuey

            I didn’t say they were buying Africa for the Africa’s own good. You didn’t do well at school, did you?

            Did the colonisers colonise Africa for the African’s good?

            Does anyone buy anything for the good of others? Rarely they do, I guess, but rational choice model and capitalism wouldn’t make an ounce of sense if that was a condition of sale.

            It’s dead easy arguing with people like you, for two reason; 1) the arguments for colonialism and racism are as flimsy as you get, and 2) only uneducated idiots make those arguments.

            Why don’t you get into something that doesn’t make you look like an unpleasant idiot?

      • Steve Ambartzakis

        Why is it that when the paucity of the liberals argument is exposed they resort to name-calling?

      • Soop

        “And like a good little Nazi bastard…”

        Hatuey > And like any fanatic – left or right – when presented with an opinion or question you dislike you play the Nazi/racist/facist/bigot card.

        What a pathetic cliche you are.

  • Godfree Roberts

    The case against Mugabe is difficult to justify, especially considering all of Zimbabwe’s recent elections were monitored by the United Nations, and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party, was widely represented in the government.

    Further, Zimbabwe’s emergence as a nation struggling against not just the power of colonialism and white supremacists, but also the economic domination of a settler minority, tells an entirely different story.

    Opposition parties like the MDC, which received support from the United States, were allowed to operate freely in Zimbabwe. Newspapers that supported the MDC and openly praised the previously existing apartheid regime are widely distributed, coexisting alongside pro-government state media. The idea that Zimbabwe was a totalitarian state that forbids dissent is simply not consistent with reality.

    While Western media has few positive things to say about Mugabe, Zimbabwean voters clearly disagree. A 2015 survey by Zimbabwe’s Mass Public Opinion Institute found that Mugabe continues to enjoy popularity among the country’s urban and rural populations.

    Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC, who served as prime minister from 2009-2013, toured the world in 2009, meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and U.S. President Barack Obama. After his meeting with Obama, Tsvangirai said he was “grateful to him for his leadership” and that Obama would “continue to provide us with direction.” In “Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2005-2006,” the State Department reported: “The U.S. human rights strategy in Zimbabwe focused on maintaining pressure on the regime, assisting democratic forces, strengthening independent media, increasing public access to information, promoting accountability for the regime’s crimes, and providing humanitarian aid for Zimbabwe’s suffering people.”

    The report further noted U.S. efforts to disseminate information on civil rights and made accusations of fraudulent parliamentary elections.

    The State Department’s 2007 Performance Report on Zimbabwe boasted of the United States’ role in propping up the MDC as a viable opponent to Mugabe’s ZANU-PF: “Following the bloody onslaught of the Mugabe regime against the MDC and civil society during the past year, USG [U.S. government] assistance helped rebuild the party’s battered structure and better position it to participate in the upcoming elections. The USG also assisted the MDC to effectively identify, research, and articulate policy positions and ideas within Zimbabwe, in the region, and beyond. In particular, USG technical assistance was pivotal in supporting MDC\’s formulation and communication of a comprehensive policy platform, which demonstrates the party’s preparedness to take over the reins of government in 2008.”

    In a 2008 analysis of the document, Stephen Gowans, a Canadian writer and political analyst, noted:
    “The neo-liberal, foreign investor-friendly economic policies Washington favors are central to the policy platform of the Tsvangirai faction of the MDC. The State Department document reveals that the MDC’s policy orientation may be based more on US government direction than its own deliberations.”

    It’s also important to consider the role of U.S. aid money and the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, in Zimbabwe. The organization, which has a long history of imperialist intervention under the guise of humanitarian aid, has remained active in Zimbabwe despite targeted sanctions imposed by the U.S. In fiscal year 2012, for example, Zimbabwe received $152,534,664 in U.S. economic assistance, including $61,987,763 from USAID and $49,648,024 from the State Department.

      • Old Mark

        While Western media has few positive things to say about Mugabe, Zimbabwean voters clearly disagree. A 2015 survey by Zimbabwe’s Mass Public Opinion Institute found that Mugabe continues to enjoy popularity among the country’s urban and rural populations.

        So what ? Clearly appeals to atavistic African nationalism of the kick the whitey out variety have great appeal among the Zimbabwe’s poor and forgotten- just as kick the wogs out atavism has traction in most of the same strata of society in much of South and East Europe- not to mention on sink estates in our country within the remnants of the ‘white British’ population.

        • Steve Ambartzakis

          And Kim continues to enjoy 100% approval and popularity in North Korea for the same reasons. Mar you, there’s none so blind as those who will not see

      • giyane


        There is a difference between condoning evil and being powerless to stop it.
        Most of the people condemning Mugabe were at some point in their lives in a position to do something about Mugabe’s crimes against humanity. They were there. They were profiting from it.

        I won’t be stopped by your snide comment about apologists for evil from pointing out the hypocrisy of Mugabe’s most vocal critics. I’m the first to condemn criminal violence but that’s Not what the topic is about.

        It’s about the dragging of White Supremacy into the death of a feared leader. The hypocrisy of the BBC stinks and many have carried on in the same vein. All of that is to justify British colonial violence and oppression.

        If you call me an apologist for a dictator , I will call you an apologist for the disgusting violence of the British.

        • RandomComment

          Really giyane? Are you not taking sides because of your ideological bias? What if I admit to both? 😉

          • giyane


            Does truth have an ideological bias.
            I’m Not playing politics.
            I’m exposing politics.
            I truly find it incredible that the Tory party has selected a sexing Bullingdon blatant lying colonialist Zionist with only a short snatch of oxygen from the lady who ordered Windrush.

            I didn’t choose my ideological bias. Common sense told me to oppose the racist Zionist bias the Tory ideologues were shoving up my arise.

          • giyane

            If I write second and Google changes it to sexing, something tells me Google might be taking part in this thread.

  • Anon1

    All they ever did was rape, murder and plunder land from each other anyway, so I’m not sure where you’re going with this.

    • giyane

      Anon 1

      “They” being the colonisers? Don’t forget the trashing of Africa started in Shakespeare’s time while
      the trashing of the Middle East and imposition of a little outpost of british colonial terror in Palestine only started in 1918 a mere 100 years ago.

      Something tells me you meant something else. The cat crept into the crypt.. .. Sorry I shouldn’t pull you up.
      I’ll leave your stinky piece of poo with all the other stinky piles on this thread. Carry on as you were.

      • Anon1

        The Bantu themselves genocided their way down to South Africa and took the land from the indigenous hunter gatherers. How far back do you want to go with this?

    • Republicofscotland


      You’ve obviously not heard or read of the Great Zimbabwe, a large and complex stone-built mining area, with towers over 30ft high built by the Bantu nation. It thrived until the 15th century, part of the structures can still be seen today.

      On the structures were many carvings including those of the bird that Mugabe used as Zimbabwe’s national emblem, the emblem also has a crocodile crawling towards the bird on it.

      • Old Mark

        You’ve obviously not heard or read of the Great Zimbabwe, a large and complex stone-built mining area, with towers over 30ft high.

        RoS- do you seriously believe this compares, as an architectural achievement, to the towers and spires of the great cathedrals of NW Europe, constructed at the same time ? Salisbury for example has a spire x10 the height of Great Zimbabwe.

        As for the stone age era art applied to the walls, again, how do they compare to the mosaics and murals used in Europe at the same time ?

        There is a lot of post colonial over compensation going on here.

        • Republicofscotland

          “RoS- do you seriously believe this compares, as an architectural achievement, to the towers and spires of the great cathedrals of NW Europe, constructed at the same time”


          A silly question Mark of course I don’t, the 8000 buildings in Great Zimbabwe which they begun building in the 11th century is merely an example showing that, at that period in time that Africans were capable of building reasonably complex structures, and that they were not just (As they were illustrated by EU powers carving up the great continent later on) suitable for manual labour.

  • geoff foster

    I know a few people over here who had their farms taken off them in Zimbabwe. They are good people. Their farms are now bare land. They worked hard and use to help educate the families of their workers. These people come from 5th generation families and consider(ed) themselves African. They are always considered white colonialists. Someone in the UK who may have originated from Africa/China/Asia who is 2nd generation is considered English. To me there is a bit of hypocrisy in this post

    • Republicofscotland

      “I know a few people over here who had their farms taken off them in Zimbabwe. They are good people. Their farms are now bare land. ”

      Well at least their farms weren’t blown up or burned down, as the British did to the Boer, leaving their women and children to starve. Or worse to fall into the hands of the Bantu, who sided with the British against the Boer.

        • Republicofscotland

          You should know by now the comparisons with Perfidious Albion always have to be made, such is evil they bestowed on the great continent of Africa.

          • nick

            How does that compare to today? Europeans as a whole have exploited the rest of the world. It’s what Mugabe ended up doing that caused the end result in Zimbabwe. If he had imposed a part share ownership with the workers on the farms, where would Zimbabwe be today?

          • Republicofscotland

            Europeans, Mongols, Turks, Chinese Moors, all had empires, in what was then the known world, and I’m sure they exploited to the max back then as well.

            Even King Shaka Zulu had a formible empire back in the day, his people no doubt saw how perfidious the British were at Isandlwana.

      • giyane

        Every continent has its traitors who’s side with the British. Now that the colonial war has moved to the Middle East the Turkish -led jihadists sided with the British against the Syrian Muslims and lost.
        The Seikhs sided with the British and lost every thing.

        There’s always another political mug round the corner who knows how to get the better of the British while sitting on the abbattoir conveyor belt

          • giyane

            Kerch’ee Kerch’ee Coup

            The British made both the Sikj religion and the Salasist one to exploit in various ways against the manifest truth of Islam which forbids theft, oppression murder and all the evil things the Western Supremacists like doing.

            I don;t know if the Romans, the west of its time invented zionism, another form of supremacy, or the zionists invented White supremacy after they had fled to Rome. What with the infallibility of the Pope and the Divine Right of Kings it certainly became a mutual admiration society of self-regarding self-appointed supremacy or exceptionalism.

            Their leader, the Accursed one, the devil, had the vice of pride.
            Beneath him are the former diplomats and politicians who plan the work of supremacism.
            Beneath them philosophers, academics , thinktanks and priests of all sorts who justify it.
            Beneath them all sorts of industrialists and traders who monopolise the commodities of poorer nations to the benefit of the supremacist nations.
            Beneath them all sorts of agents and order-keepers who enforce unequal laws , spy on the people and publish fake journalism with fake norms.

            As with all devilry and evil the lower orders are always trying to impress the higher ones.

            A man builds a platform to have sex with his mare. As he steps up he says ” I seek refuge from Allah against the Devil the Accursed.”
            “excuse me” replies the devil, ” how many thousands of years I have lived on this planet , I never thought up how to do this thing.”

            Right now as we speak a certain group of wealthy gamblers on failure, hedge-fund owners, who kicked out a female PM on the grounds of being too soft, are pushing the boundaries of our democracy beyond its design parameters in order to get monopolies on the imported manufactured goods on which we totally depend.

            They have not totally abandoned colonialism and subbies doing oppression for them but they are moving on the jugular of their own nation. Don’t forget Maggie got on a pulpit to tell us that Christianity meant being totally selfish was a good thing…..

    • Old Mark

      Someone in the UK who may have originated from Africa/China/Asia who is 2nd generation is considered English. To me there is a bit of hypocrisy in this post

      Spot-on Geoff.

  • No to mass murder

    “Robert Mugabe was a man who did terrible things. But he had suffered greatly…”

    He was a mass murderer. This is bit like saying,

    “Harold Shipman was a serial killer. But he suffered greatly at nursery school… ”

    If there’s a scale here the side where he did “terrible things” is the one that’s on the floor. He lived to his nineties – his personal suffering didn’t amount to that of any one of the thousands of people he murdered.

    • giyane

      No to mass murder.

      Repeating violence is exactly what the British wanted Mugabe to do. Nobody’s saying Mugabe had an excuse . What they are saying is that Britain is not only violent by also duplicitous. They call it punching above our weight. Like Cameron pretending Syria was a civil war while Clinton was building massive bunkers for usukis proxy terrorists.

      This us why the bombs are coming back to Londonderry in a few weeks because oaf Johnson refuses to acknowledge the reasons why the backstop has been put in place.

      This constant duplicity by the British constantly creates a corresponding violence. The more they lie, the more people get enraged and the more violence. You can’t blame people for getting enraged by duplicity. But you can blame the duplicitous for doing something deliberately which they know for certain will result in violence.

  • Republicofscotland

    One wonders how Mugabe felt when he took a step into the darkside meeting with a smiling Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. He certainty looked a bit wary meeting them in this photo, and who wouldn’t be.

    Of course Mugabe was seen as palatable by the UK then by the looks of things, even Princess Diana met with the leader Zimbabwe, with smiles all around.

    Both Russia and China paid there respects to the now deceased Mugabe, Putin added he was a long term friend and ally, which hasn’t gone down too well in UK press.

  • N_

    Racism is stupid and it can only be asserted on the basis of premises that are stupid and false. The whole edifice is stupid. I mean seriously – white people are supposed to be especially skilled at “stable government”? Has Johnny ever looked at the past 120 years (or two centuries, or five, or any other number) of European history?

    “Stable government” is of course a beloved phrase of British neo-colonialists, largely because the scumbags still rule in Britain and a few other places, and they haven’t yet been chased into the dustbin of history where they belong, and the buildings of their institutions such as the Clarendon schools burnt to the ground, with salt poured on their ashes. (Give us time.)

    Having typed the above, I realise that if Johnny reads it he will probably think “Ah, but that’s Europe. Britain’s not like Europe. It hasn’t been invaded recently…calm…safe pairs of hands…straight backs…not excitable…” At which point there is no point in continuing. It’s similar to a “last man standing” argument.

    • michael norton

      Well if Africans want to come to the U.K. it is unlikely the reason they will be coming is because of strong and stable government, we have been in an awful mess for more than three years now.

  • Dave

    You can get rich quick by stealing from your neighbour, but real wealth is achieved by trading with your neighbour, because if you fear your labour will be stolen you stop labouring, but if it can be sold you produce more and the economy thrives.

    • Republicofscotland

      “because if you fear your labour will be stolen you stop labouring,”

      And then they just bring in labour that will do the job possibly even cheaper, the gig economy and zero hour contracts spring to mind.

        • Republicofscotland

          Hang on a minute, I said if you withhold your labour they’ll just get others to do the job and possibly cheaper to boot, how’s that against immigration?

          There’s at least a 1.5 million standing army of unemployed in the UK so immigration doesn’t come into it.

  • Chris Barclay

    Life expectancy in Zimbabwe fell from around 60 in 1980 to around 35 currently. Time to think of the majority of Zimbabweans andnot take sides amongst feuding elites.

    • michael norton

      They have got a brilliant climate, on the radio this morning it was said Zimbabwe has the best climate in Africa.
      They have plenty of fresh water (but not always where you need it)
      They have Gold.
      They Have Iron.
      They have Diamonds.
      They have Lithium.
      They have Zinc.
      They have Magnesium.
      They have Copper.
      They have good agricultural land.
      They have sunshine.

      Hard to not make all that into an economic miracle.

      • Republicofscotland

        You know Michael when you mentioned water there, it sprung to my mind about Botswana. They name the rain Pula, it’s also the name of their currency, to have both is a blessing especially since Botswana encorporates much of the Kalahari desert.

        Water is such a valuable asset in Botswana that it can be found on the country’s coat of arms.

        • michael norton

          Hello RoS,
          recently, one of my best friends went on holiday with his wife to Botswana,
          one of the most expensive holiday destinations in Africa ( elephant watching)
          but the reasons are interesting, it is politically the most stable and best run country in Africa, the least corrupt.
          They have very little, other than diamonds and Elephant watching, yet they make it work for them.
          Zimbabwe is adjacent to Botswana.

          • michael norton

            You might say, if the government of Botswana ran Zimbabwe, the people od Zimbabwe would be the richest people in all of Africa.

            It is not what you have, look at Japan, it is your political system, which will create safeness, creativity, continuity happiness and wealth

          • Republicofscotland

            It wasn’t always so in Japan, in 1932 eleven young Japanese naval officers (in support of the then rising Japanese militarism) assassinated the prime minister. The feeling in Japan was that the young men should receive a light prison sentence, as what they believed in (Japanese militarism) was popular among the public.

            Coincidentally or not, Charlie Chaplin was meant to visit the Japanese PM at the same time he was assassinated. Chaplin instead (probably under advisement) went to watch some Sumo wrestling instead.

            I should add that after WW2, the US invested heavily in Japan, and the US also provided military protection for Japan for many years. Allowing Japan to spend money that it shouldve been earmarked for military spending to be invested elsewhere.

          • Hatuey

            Actually, the US policy was to rebuild the Japanese Empire. They did it too. That’s what Korea and all the interventions were aimed at.

            Go figure.

          • Republicofscotland


            Not to rebuild the empire but to stabilise the Japanese economy, there was a fear Japan could turn to communism.

            General Douglas McArthur, was appointed Supreme commander in Japan post-WW2, basically he called the shots, he brought the emperor down to human status, 200,000 persons of status (wealth and land owners) were barred from public office, McArthur imposed land reforms, and streamlined the Japanese economy.

            Infact post war, the US relief to Japan was twice what the US extracted from a defeated Japan. McArthur ran a tight ship.

          • Hatuey

            “General Douglas McArthur, was appointed Supreme commander in Japan post-WW2, basically he called the shots”

            He didn’t call the shots — this stuff was well above his pay grade.

            The decision to re-build the Japanese empire was made during the war itself, between 1943 and 1945, by US post-war planners. The Cold War and invented threat of communism was a cover story intended to disguise the implementation of that plan.

            Try reading Kolko’s Politics of War, it’s one of my favourite books on this area.

            It’s a period that’s of great interest to me. Basically they planned and built the world that we all grew up in.

            Look into the role of Kennan and Acheson and the Great Crescent which explains all the wars and interventions in places like Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, etc., all places that were defined as being part of the Arc or crescent well in advance of wars breaking out there.

            And these were all places that were regarded as being integral to the revival of the Japanese empire and economy.

            McArthur was an errand boy.

          • Republicofscotland

            “He didn’t call the shots — this stuff was well above his pay grade”


            Oh right so Peter Cavlocoressi’s World Politics since 1945 (7th edition) has got it wrong then?

            I’m glad you straightened that out for me Hatuey, I shall be asking for my money back.

  • Tom Joad

    As a young white South African I travelled often to Zimbabwe in the mid 80s. The contrast was very impressive.

    South Africa of the 80s was a country at war with itself. Townships were on fire, the Army was being moved to try and control a political situation that was bursting out of it seams. Hatred was in the air.

    It Zimbabwe I had the feeling things had moved on – the freedom had been achieved. I sensed an openness to move on. Hope. That was very much in short supply in South Africa. I felt I have seen a glimpse of the future….

    What I had noticed was how the white farmers still drove the economy – the areas I drove through where public farms were attempting to make it the land was overworked, dry, and with no fences the livestock all over the road – a real danger driving at night. It showed the difficulty of overcoming generations of injustice.

    I have not been to Zimbabwe since 1990. I lost contact with the people I had visited – all the children were keen to give back to a country they loved – as doctors, or architects. Their farm was keeping whole villages alive. Things went terribly wrong. The dream turned into a nightmare.

    I have been living in Europe since then, and have witnessed South Africa gain that all important freedom, moving towards the dream that many had wished for. In the meantime Zimbabwe turned into a nightmare – and still inhabits that realm. South Africa has been avoiding falling completely into the trap of Zimbabwe. But for those at the bottom of the society, things have gotten worse. Those that have, become even more well off.

    In terms of the land reform. I am very unclear – how do you right wrongs of the past? What are the rights of people that have invested all their energy into a piece of land gained through cheating, or war, or one-sided laws. These are people that know the land, can generate the necessary incomes to drive the county ahead. How will the land issue be settled? I do not know.

    An acknowledgement of historic injustice. And yet of a common future.

    What is my emotion regarding Mugabe? I am unclear. I understand the hardships, the degradation he had to endure. Like Zuma. Is it fair to expect the rise above that? Above human nature? My wife would say it is an explanation – not an excuse

    I therefor experienced a massive sense of depression. And at the same time a realism. The hope I once had for Southern Africa was first destroyed by Mugabe. And my idealism slowly destroyed by the war in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya etc.

    I have become to see human nature as a despicable, self centered instinct, always willing to exploit all around him (her) to his own benefit.. We are all so susceptible, indulge in the privileges we might have. I am not sure this is a narrative of White Supremacy. It is a narrative of humanity: Greed and Selfishness. The supremacy of power. And it is highly contagious. Trump. Johnson. Dragnea. Zuma.

    Mugabe, a son of the post war that served the freedom of his country, and a son of the turn of the century – corrupt, greedy, despotic.

    God bless Zimbabwe. They deserve more.

    • Hatuey

      Great comment.

      I find it hard to believe farming is as difficult as some are suggesting though.

      And the white farmers, as I understand it, reneged on the deal and refused to part with their land. I also heard they were deliberately manipulating prices.

      And so, under political pressure, Mugabe had to confront them.

      • RandomComment

        And so, under political pressure Stalin had to confront them. I fully expect a rehabilitation on this blog of the worst left-wing dictators because otherwise, it would make a few people look like utter hypocrites.

        • John2o2o

          “And so, under political pressure Stalin had to confront them”

          How did Stalin make it into this thread RC?

          • Hatuey

            It’s the old lie that the Soviet Union was trying to take over the world and its tentacle were everywhere… they must miss playing that card in the post-cold war world.

            Never mind, we have a new marketing line today… Islamic fundamentalists are trying to take over the world.

            Just one problem, right? They aren’t.

            No biggy, give them lots of money, guns, and encouragement. We now have plausible confirmability. Simples.

      • Republicofscotland

        And so under political pressure Churchill starved up to 4 million Bengal’s to death. Churchill gave a Mao/Stalinesque reply to his actions.

        Churchill said well it’s all their fault anyway for breeding like rabbits. He said I hate the Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.

        • John2o2o

          Okay ros, I take it your comment here has something to to with Dr Sashi Tharoor whose comments were quoted in the independent:

          The independent is also quoted thus:
          “In 1943, up to four million Bengalis starved to death when Churchill diverted food to British soldiers and countries such as Greece while a deadly famine swept through Bengal. ”

          However wikipedia’s extensive article on the subject gives a lower figure:

          I would be interested to see a source and date for your Churchill quote. I’m not convinced that Dr Tharoor’s opinions are entirely without bias.

          I’m not supporting Churchill, I’m only interested in the truth. Thank you.

          • Hatuey

            That quote isn’t disputed and, keeping it topical, is actually cited in Boris Johnson’s biography on Churchill.

          • Old Mark

            I’m not convinced that Dr Tharoor’s opinions are entirely without bias.

            An understatement if anything- renowned economist Amartya Sen is also Bengali, and in his infancy actually lived through the famine. Of course food supplies had to be diverted to the British troops stationed in India to protect it from Japanese attack, but Sen (who has no reason to acquit the British, given his background) reckons this as an aggravating factor only. More important was the cut off of rice imports from Burma and Thailand, which could have alleviated the famine but was impossible given these countries were under Japanese occupation, and the selfish behavior of the Bengali upper and middle classes, who were guilty of hoarding and price gouging.

      • John2o2o

        I think it may depend on what they are farming Hatuey. From what I can see a major crop is tobacco, which I would not have considered a crop that would have been traditionally grown.

        • Hatuey

          How difficult can farming be? Toss a few seeds in the dirt and sprinkle with water…

          Trust me, I have a hanging basket, I know about these things.

    • No to mass murder

      You second last paragraph reminds me of a quote from Tadeusz Borowski, a poet and concentration camp survivor who after the war killed himself.

      ““The whole world is really like the concentration camp; the weak work for the strong, and if they have no strength or will to work – then let them steal, or let them die.

      The world is ruled by neither justice nor morality; crime is not punished nor virtue rewarded, one is forgotten as quickly as the other. The world is ruled by power and power is obtained with money. To work is senseless, because money cannot be obtained through work but through exploitation of others. And if we cannot exploit as much as we wish, at least let us work as little as we can. Moral duty? We believe neither in the morality of man nor in the morality of systems. In German cities the store windows are filled with books and religious objects, but the smoke from the crematoria still hovers above the forests…”

      Its easy when someone is in a dark place themselves to see the world as a far darker place than it really is.
      Zimbabwe’s backwards trajectory is at odds with most of the world. There are billions of people just living their lives and doing things for others: bringing up their children, looking after the sick, doing work that benefits all around them. That’s the real foundation of society… co-operation and working together, not greed and selfishness.

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