November 13, 2001
8:13 AM   Subscribe

Reparations. ZIMBABWE announced new measures yesterday [10/12/01] to enable the Government to nationalise up to 90 per cent of all white-owned land at the stroke of a pen — a move expected to wipe out next year’s crops almost totally.
posted by jfuller (16 comments total)
to avenge the confiscation of land from blacks by white settlers, who began arriving 110 years ago.

Funny thing this "vengeance."

Starve a majority of your people, and destroy the majority of your economy to avenge something that happened 110 years ago. I'm sure Mr Mugabe will have plenty to eat though...
posted by mkn at 8:23 AM on November 13, 2001

Yeap, this is retarded.

What's ironic is that when Mugabe took power, he actually asked the white farmers to stay, and help build the new economy, rather then returning to Europe. They did.

Due to this, and obviously other intelligent action by Mugabe has lead to Zimbabwe being one of the few 'success' stories in Africa -- up until a few years ago -- when political turmoil threatened to topple him. Since then he's been persecuting white farmers left and right... letting mostly thugs who don't know anything about farming take over the farms, and generally fuck over the economy.

All in the name of keeping him in power. Of course, if he lost power, the farmers would be equally fucked, but I digress.
posted by delmoi at 8:38 AM on November 13, 2001

Sad to see the old bastard finally pulled it off. I'm not sure what he hopes to gain - the farm invasions, the flap over the constitution, and now this; but it's all seemed more like short-sighted grandstanding than an actual plan.

posted by Mars Saxman at 8:41 AM on November 13, 2001

Where is the international outrage and censure?
posted by Grok09 at 8:58 AM on November 13, 2001

Its a stupid mess, that's for sure... but, um, WTF is with the Amos and Andy refenrence. That's gotta be the most painfully racist I've seen on mefi, you might as well have said "Those crazy negros!". African governments don't have a monopoly on vindictiveness and stupidity.
posted by malphigian at 9:57 AM on November 13, 2001

I skipped the Amos and Andy link, but I was wondering, given a messy post colonial situation, why should 4500 white farmers own 90% of the farms? Land reform seems like a natural step.
posted by chrismc at 10:51 AM on November 13, 2001

I have been tempted to post about the situation in Zimbabwe on may occasions over the last few months. There are have been a few ongoing commentaries available from The Guardian and The Independent and The Telegraph.

The best source of news from within Zimbabwe, at least until it is forcibly closed, which is by all accounts frighteningly close to happening, is the The Daily News. Any other news source is likely be a Zanu PF mouth piece as, if it were not, it would most likely have been closed.

Recently, Fergal Keane, a BBC special correspondent, wrote this piece published last week in the independent. Any salient points I would make are covered herein. Fergal Keane's makes his case more eloquently than I ever could.

The compulsory redistribution card is perhaps not unexpected with a man as desperate to stay in power as Robert Mugabe, despite the enormous impact this will have on the economy.

Zimbabwe is a fantastic country and I have met with some of the most wonderful people when I was there. I find it outrageous that it has been allowed to be systematically dismantled by a mad man as the world has looked on.

The only hope left is that when the (unmonitored and still unannounced) elections take place early next year, the vote is so unanimously against Mugabe that will be forced to withdraw silently before inciting any bloodshed.

I hope this happens. I am finally starting to lose this hope.

chrismc: Please, read just one of the links. It is not in dispute that Zimbabwean farm land needs redistribution. It is the impact of this particular scheme by this particular tyrant that is in question.
posted by davehat at 11:19 AM on November 13, 2001

I skipped the Amos and Andy link, but I was wondering, given a messy post colonial situation, why should 4500 white farmers own 90% of the farms? Land reform seems like a natural step.

i don't think seizing private property without compensating the owners consistutes "land reform"
posted by lizs at 11:19 AM on November 13, 2001

er... *constitutes*
posted by lizs at 11:19 AM on November 13, 2001

the Amos and Andy link, now on MetaTalk
posted by y2karl at 11:29 AM on November 13, 2001

Please feel free to continue debating the Zimbabwe issue here.
posted by davehat at 11:38 AM on November 13, 2001

Strike another point for corrupt African leadership and the racist response said corruption provokes in those with only a miniscule knowledge of the depth of the situation.

Seizing private property without compensation doesn't constitute land reform; it didn't 110 years ago, it doesn't now. Returning the land to the families of those from whom it was originally seized would be a step toward justice, but that isn't Mugabe's goal. Mugabe could care less about justice, his only interest is in feathering his own nest. It is to the continued detriment to the Zimbabwean people that this man's rule goes on, unfettered.
posted by Dreama at 11:38 AM on November 13, 2001

fyi: I just commented out the amos 'n andy link.
posted by mathowie at 11:55 AM on November 13, 2001

I see your point davehat, and I don't want to be caught defending a government I don't know enough about.
posted by chrismc at 12:25 PM on November 13, 2001

The Zimbabwe situation is a real mess. I've been tracking it for a while on Edgecase; there are twenty or so articles there for anyone who wants to catch up on the last year or so.

posted by Mars Saxman at 1:53 PM on November 13, 2001

Mars: I'm very sorry for the earlier implication on my part that no one here cared. I have to say this is possibly one of a very few issues in which I become irreconcilibly blinkered.

I really want, more than anything perhaps, for the rest of the world to understand the incredible downturn this country has been subjected to in the very recent past. Furthermore, it should be pointed out that Western governments have been fully aware of the situation and yet have stood aside as the country has spiralled into the abyss.

It haunts me that in future, Zimbabwe may be remembered by the media, and therefore us (as Westerners, not MeFites), as a country that relied upon the West for aid in time of famine when Zimbabwe had been, up until a few years ago, not only self sufficient but one of the primary exporters of crops in Southern Africa.
posted by davehat at 4:34 PM on November 13, 2001

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