Mugabe's secret plan to evict all whites
August 26, 2001 2:22 AM   Subscribe

Mugabe's secret plan to evict all whites Robert Mugabe plans to expel all white farmers from Zimbabwe before next year's elections, according to a secret document obtained by The Telegraph. [...] Entitled Operation Give up and Leave, it reads: The operation should be thoroughly planned so that farmers are systematically harassed and mentally tortured and their farms destabilised until they give in and give up.
posted by dagny (29 comments total)
Another one bites the dust. (African country, I mean.)

The European countries should have had more sense then to just up and leave like they did, a gradual 'fade' along with demilitarization would have been a much better solution.
posted by delmoi at 3:00 AM on August 26, 2001

Jonah Goldberg says its not too late to help Africa. I'm far less sanguine. Liberal democracy seems to require centuries of building the proper cultural foundations.
posted by marknau at 3:24 AM on August 26, 2001

Mugabe is and always was a savage and uneducated demagogue, so condemning millions of his (black) African countrymen to starvation when the only competent producers of food on an industrial scale are ousted is, if nothing else, predictably in character.

What one hopes is that the young, radical black South African political leaders will watch the chaos and starvation and learn not to emulate Mugabe's actions in the RSA. Many South Africans I know are carefully building their assets overseas and doing they can to cultivate social and professional resources in the UK, Australia, US, or Canada, to ensure that they can have a prosperous emigre life if necessary. This means, however, that the destruction of South Africa could happen in a matter of months, rather than years, as educated and prosperous South Africans will largely have already overcome the financial and emotional barriers to fleeing the moment it becomes clear that a critical mass of the black political leadership have decided to go it alone.
posted by MattD at 7:32 AM on August 26, 2001

Sounds like a case for... Jesse Jackson.
posted by dagny at 7:41 AM on August 26, 2001

Yep. There's been a considerable number of South Africans and Zimbabweans (white, mostly) moving to Australia, in particular Perth. It's pretty sad.

The European countries should have had more sense then to just up and leave like they did, a gradual 'fade' along with demilitarization would have been a much better solution.

Well, yes... But you have to remember, the US that was particularly keen to see the old European empires dismantled and their colonies become independent, and quickly - this was part of the intents of the US's agreement with Great Britain that saw the US enter WWII. It was mainly due to economic reasons that Britain, France and others pulled out of their possessions in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, rather than though any lofty ideals such as spreading the wave of democracy.

Of course, in Zimbabwe's case, it was in fact the white racialist Southern Rhodesian government led by Ian Smith that unilaterally declared independence from the UK in 1965, as a result of disagreement over their racialist polices. Ironic, no?

After then, majority rule was introduced with the formation of Zimbabwe and with that, Robert Mugabe's party was elected into power in 1980. As I recall, they've only become insanely kleptocratic in the past decade.

I wonder if our government will let Mugabe into the country for CHOGM in October...
posted by GrahamVM at 8:59 AM on August 26, 2001

Today's Washington Post has an editorial which is on point.
posted by MattD at 9:26 AM on August 26, 2001

I think it's way too easy for people in the West to say that African countries lack democratic traditions, that they need white Westerners to be productive, etc. All this seems to me to be very short-sighted. It ignores the horrors and damage caused in Africa by Western colonialism. African countries are not 'underdeveloped' because they haven't been able to match Europe, either economically or politically; they are 'underdeveloped' because European colonizers made them that way.
That said--I am not in any way defending Mugabe. He is a corrupt, demagogic tyrant, and Zimbabwe will not get anywhere until he is removed from power. But the point to remember is this: his moves against whites (whom he protected for many years, until recently) are just a ploy to get popularity, in order to keep the upper hand against the (largely black) political opposition in Zimbabwe. But the reason this cynical ploy may work, is that the injustices blacks have suffered at the hands of whites, including after independence, are all too real.
posted by Rebis at 10:25 AM on August 26, 2001

Okay, gang, a little basic journalism reminder here: the piece pointed to by MattD is not an editorial. Nor was the piece pointed to in the recent Israel /Palestine thread. Both were signed columns presented in the opinion/editorial areas of the paper, but they are not editorials. Post editorials are unsigned and intended to represent the opinion of the paper. Columns, such as the one linked by MattD, are solely the opinion of the author and do not carry the endorsement of the paper. It is an important distinction for informed readers to maintain.
posted by NortonDC at 10:49 AM on August 26, 2001

mmmmmmkay class, Imperialism is *bad*, mmmmmkay?

It's not that simple, unfortunately. The one country that is at all free in sub-saharan Africa is the one where Dutch farmers decided to colonize and interceded the most. Coincidence?

And at the other end, Britain allowed the existing power structure to stay intact during their rule of Nigeria. They imposed an "Indirect Rule" that was aimed at allowing the minimum amount of intervention while assisting the development of the country. Nigeria's not a big success story.

My ancestors were conquered and colonized by Imperial Rome. I think the preponderance of evidence is that this was a boon for them in the long run.
posted by marknau at 11:10 AM on August 26, 2001

Mugabe is a crook and a menace, but this so-called "secret memo" seems pretty obviously a fraud of the usual sort promulgated by British realpolitik. No one in Mugabe's party, ZANU-PF, would be stupid enough to explicitly allude in print to a past assassination. ("[...]the 'Pamire-silencing method,' a reference to Chris Pamire, a businessman and former Zanu-PF supporter who fell out with Mr Mugabe and was killed in a mysterious road accident.")

If history is a guide, the next step will be fabricated PR stories of terrible atrocities committed upon good God-fearing white women by savage African squatters.

posted by Allen Varney at 11:13 AM on August 26, 2001

kill whitey.
posted by Satapher at 12:22 PM on August 26, 2001

Everyone seems to think that 'Imperialism' was one big cunning plan applied evenly in exactly the same way everywhere. People. It just wasn't like that, especially in the old British places.

disclaimer: I study this at University - I may know too much to make a 'reasoned' contribution to the debate.

Nigeria, alluded to above has it's own problems to do with the means of control that the British attempted to use, essentially delegating control to cheiftens. Remember this is one of the biggest countries in the Africa. There's also a whole lotta inter-tribal viciousness which has characterised the 'civil' wars of so much post colonial african history. Based mainly on the fact that these countries were not divided demographically, over centuries, like Europe (and look at all that bloodshed) but from above, and essentailly haven't changed their borders all that much.

Zimbabwe. Kleptomaniac thugs. As alluded to above. As ever, huge generalisations are silly ('all white farers are bad'). Some of my relatives are over there ('farming') and they're very decent to their workers. Not saying that they're all good, or even as a 'class' good. But generalisations are a bad thing.
Overall, British colonialism was not about extending Britiains territory and population controlled. Aquasitions were mostly turned down until well into the 'scramble' for Africa, and even then only aquiesced to with great reluctance. The whole aim of British policy was an 'informal' series of controls (similar to the arrangement with the slave trade, where local african tribes did the capturing before selling the slaves on at heavily guarded trading posts). The aim was to maintain Britains trading postition. There were very few Cecil Rhodes' about.

Post colonialsm was handled badly. But any way that it went was always going to be bad. re: markanu's earlier point about germany. After that one went down we got the 'dark ages' (yes, historically speaking they weren't all that dark, but still, you get my point). Also, I thing you'll find that the roman empire only controlled up to the Rhine border at most, exactly where do your people come from in Germany? If Varus' legions hadn't been taken apart at the Teutonburg Forest (I think, can't remember the exact name of the battle) then things might have been different.

Sorry this was so long, but history is darn Important!
posted by nedrichards at 3:15 PM on August 26, 2001

While we're spouting platitudes: so long as you think that you are white, there is no hope for you.
posted by sudama at 3:25 PM on August 26, 2001

Although the Telegraph doesn't say it, when this document first started circulating in July, there was heavy doubt as to its authenticity. It was believed to have been fabricated by one of the farmers, or a farmer-related group. I cannot, however, find any relevant news articles.

Here's a rather over-the-top page supporting the farmers. This page may be racially offensive. Some of the pictures are also rather gory. And the spelling is bad.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:38 PM on August 26, 2001

Oh. And I'd never ever trust the Telegraph in matters of Fact. Sport? Yes. Business? Yes. But volatile political fact. I'm afraid I know enough people, who know too many things about how things really are to be taken in by their blatent spin any more.

Great sports section though.
posted by nedrichards at 4:52 PM on August 26, 2001

Not that I think that imperialism was good for Africa socially, it's a ridiculous argument to suggest that Africa is worse off technologically and economically because of imperialism. Without imperialism, the infrastructure in much of sub-saharan Africa would be nil. Africa is poor economically because of rampant corruption at the Government level. Which might be why the Somali economy is growing despite an absolute absence of government (aside from the Northern territories).
posted by Kevs at 4:57 PM on August 26, 2001

political fact.

Now there's an oxymoron if ever I heard one.
posted by kindall at 6:40 PM on August 26, 2001

Thanks to marknau for the Jonah Goldberg link. What a totally bizarre and sad column! The amount of people he will convince via his column (outside of a core readership), and who would ever in 1,000 years cooperate with him in any venture in any way: Zero. Way to go. Does he really want to help Africa, or just slam the National Endowment for the Arts all over again? Man, who's more irritating? Self-congratulatory quote-unquote progressives, or perpetually embittered conservatives?
posted by raysmj at 9:47 PM on August 26, 2001


> so long as you think that you are white, there is no hope
> for you.

On the other hand, just let me whisper that I don't think of myself as white and then listen to Mr. S. wail "You hypocrite, you're wallowing in all your white privileges and refusing to acknowledge it."

Since all choices will be marked incorrect, you'll forgive me for skipping the question and frying other fish.
posted by jfuller at 10:49 AM on August 27, 2001

Without imperialism, the infrastructure in much of sub-saharan Africa would be nil.

How do you suppose you can support a statement like this?
posted by sudama at 11:13 AM on August 27, 2001

Don't put words in my mouth, James. Thanks for the link to, though. I encourage everyone to check it out.
posted by sudama at 11:15 AM on August 27, 2001

> Don't put words in my mouth, James.

Wouldn't dream of it, S. I do, however, recall words that have already come out of your mouth.

Let me just assure you that I don't think I'm white, I never notice color. There, are y'all happy and full of hope now? (fuller enquires cheerfully, fangs showing.)
posted by jfuller at 11:41 AM on August 27, 2001

An aside:

Liberal democracy seems to require centuries of building the proper cultural foundations.

Culture is the most unevenly applied concept in social commentary, perhasp second only to nature. African postcolonials having problems, its cultural. Say gender is a cultural construct, oh no! Can't have that! Evolution! Going against nature! I would elaborate but everyone knows this schtick on both sides. My point is that it is inconsistent and it stinks.
posted by rschram at 11:47 AM on August 27, 2001

For those who doubt the value of Africa (the, what has an African ever invented tendancy) this link to Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's excellent column in the Independent should be enough. Read it and applaud.
posted by nedrichards at 12:56 PM on August 27, 2001

Excellent column? He claims "Among the most (perhaps the only) respected politicians in the world today are Mandela and Kofi Annan. "

Yet according to the Associated Press,

"Kofi Annan knew about the Rwandan government's plans to exterminate minority Tutsis and his office ordered U.N. peacekeepers not to intervene, the New Yorker magazine reported today.

While the world body has admitted that mistakes were made, U.N. officials have blocked attempts to determine who was directly involved in the decision not to act.

A copy of a fax from U.N. Headquarters, obtained by the New Yorker, showed that order not to intervene was from Annan -- now the U.N. secretary-general."
posted by websavvy at 1:14 PM on August 27, 2001

He is a she.
posted by nedrichards at 3:27 PM on August 27, 2001

Maybe I should have put it into context a bit more. Yeah, she's a columnist and famous British writer on ethnicity etc. There's been a few racial disturbances in Britain recently and this is mostly in reaction to peoples denigration. So, I agree, she does go over the top, but for a good cause.

I just thought that since the rest of the thread seemed so gloomy about Africa, a piece championing it would add some much needed optimism. I do bleive that things will get better, that it may take time, but that eventually things'll be OK. Without that sort of optimism I'd find it hard to have any confidence at all in life. Especialy given the sort of things that happened in Rwanda.

Interestingly I've just found an interview with Annan at the BBC talking about the genocide. He blames a 'lack of international will', acknowledging that the UN knew what was happening. He's also started an inquiry. Asks questions not just about him but about us and our governments.
posted by nedrichards at 4:20 PM on August 27, 2001

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown tips her hat to Africa's recent contributions:

> There is the gloriously well connected showbiz
> correspondent Baz Bamigboye; Diran Adebayo the pacy
> novelist and his brother Dotun who is a publisher and
> much else. Ekow Eshun the smoothie culture critic,
> Ozwald Boateng who has turned Saville Row into an
> exciting place, Zainab Badawi the journalist, the artist
> Chris Ofili, Seal, the singer, Bishop Sentamu who sat on
> the Lawrence Inquiry and is as wise as Rabbi Hugo Gryn.
> Chiwetel Ejiofor, the actor who played Romeo at the
> National last year, is thought to be one of our best
> young actors today. David Oyelowo was an utterly
> credible King Henry VI at the Barbican last season.
> Mixed-race people with an African parent would add
> dozens more names and would obviously include Paul
> Boateng who is rising up the ministerial ladder fast.

Um, are any of these persons still in Africa? Or is the dust of their exit still settling?
posted by jfuller at 6:33 AM on August 28, 2001

Sadly, most of these people who could have made the future great for the continent were either killed or fled here, to the US, France and elsewhere.

I think answers that. She was just refuting the racist assumption that africans couldn't be good at anything. Or so I thought anyway.
posted by nedrichards at 9:46 AM on August 28, 2001

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