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The news from Zimbabwe

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  #121  
Old 03-19-2002, 07:36 PM
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Just heard that Zimbabwe has been kicked out of the Commonwealth for 12 months. I'm not sure that's a good idea, in my opinion it's better to have them in the Commonwealth so that maybe other members can exert some infulence on the government. But kicking them out is going to remove any positive influence other members of the Commonwealth may have. Hang in there Sam, please know we are all thinking of you.
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  #122  
Old 03-19-2002, 09:03 PM
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here's a link to an article on CNN on it: http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/africa...lth/index.html
Sam, does this likely mean you'll have to leave now?? and if so do you have plans ready to be able to get out of there safely and fast? I find it hard to imagine how hard all this must be for you and your family good luck!

- David
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  #123  
Old 03-19-2002, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Too bad he won't be the one starving
Too right, DJ - he is so out of touch with his people that I doubt he's even aware that they're starving.


Quote:
Seems like you (and all the other white farmers) are in a very precarious position of possibly losing everything you own - house and the belongings inside, cars, etc. Is that true? And what would happen to the workers that you have on your farm?
Jeanie - the threat of losing the farm is obviously very real, in which case our workers would be kicked off as well, something they are naturally extremely worried about. One of the big problems for farm workers is that many of them are either Malawian or Mozambican, so in Mugabe's eyes have no rights whatsoever. They don't even qualify for farms under his resettlement scheme. As you can imagine, if we had to give up the farm, we'd rather it went to our farm workers (some of whom have worked for the family all their life) than some civil servants or army personnel posing as "landless peasants".


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I'm not sure that's a good idea, in my opinion it's better to have them in the Commonwealth so that maybe other members can exert some infulence on the government
Sandra - in normal circumstances, I'd agree with you totally, but the trouble is, nobody's GOT any influence on Mad Bob. And principles should be stuck to, otherwise what's the point in having them? Poor John Howard - he had an unenviable role there. I'm glad it was temporary suspension, rather than full expulsion. Maybe not QUITE so ominous for us "palefaces"!


David - good link - thanks for that. Re getting out if we have to: well, a helicopter would certainly come in handy (if only ...) Otherwise, our options range from driving out (we're about 4 hours' drive from the Mozambique border) to riding out on horseback! Much as I love horses, I'm not so keen on the second option somehow!

Cheers all,

Sam
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  #124  
Old 03-20-2002, 02:18 AM
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I hadn't realized your farm workers aren't Zimbabwean. Is that true for a lot of the other farms as well? This is another aspect of this whole situation that I didn't even know existed. Seems like if they've worked for the farm their entire life, the option of returning to their countries probably seems as bleak as staying in Zimbabwe. Is there a chance they would be beaten as well??

Re: driving out. Have there been any instances of random attacks on vehicles off of the farms? Just wondering how safe such a drive would be. My guess is not very safe (but it's gotta be safer than horseback!)

BTW, how many animals do you have on the farm?

May you and your family (and your workers) stay safe!

Jeanie
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  #125  
Old 03-20-2002, 06:27 AM
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Jeanie - a lot of farm workers countrywide are from these places - I think job prospects were better here than in their homelands (once upon a time!) which is why so many came & of course they settled here, had families, so again there are quite a few youngsters who were born here, but still consider themselves Malawian, or whatever.

Re getting beaten - yes, they've already been beaten and worse. Last year, 70,000 workers + family members were left homeless after the war vets went on the rampage.

Driving out obviously carries risks and in an emergency situation one would avoid main roads if possible.

We run about 350 head of cattle and 26 horses, plus dogs and cats. Obviously, a major concern in the event of an evacuation would be their health & safety. I've heard ghastly tales of animals being abandoned, some without access to water. It's too awful.

I'm sure that the war vets thought (when they began invading farms) that all the farmers would just up sticks and run off in terror. That hasn't happened and what has really impressed me is that not one farmer in two years of intense intimidation and provocation has cracked under the strain and taken pot shots at the invaders. Given that most farmers own shotguns or firearms of some sort, that's not too far short of a miracle.

(Gosh, my posts are getting awfully lengthy these days ... better cut down!!)
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  #126  
Old 03-20-2002, 08:56 AM
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Sam -- don't even think about "cutting down on the length of your posts" -- we want to hear MORE from you, not less!

If I recall correctly, you met your husband when you visited Zim -- is he a native? Does he have parents, siblings in Zim also? If so, I would imagine that the thought of leaving just gets harder and harder...

We're all thinking about you and your family, your workers, and the dogs, cats, horses, and cattle.
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  #127  
Old 03-20-2002, 06:53 PM
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Sam, I'm with CJ - don't even THINK about cutting down the length of your posts!

70,000 homeless!! And that was just last year! Where did they go? I'm having a difficult time comprehending the impact of that - on both the homeless themselves and the country as a whole. I've also been wondering - for those who have been beaten, do the hospitals admit them and treat them well, or are the hospitals run by the government and not motivated to serve the "opposition"?
Quote:
We run about 350 head of cattle and 26 horses, plus dogs and cats. Obviously, a major concern in the event of an evacuation would be their health & safety. I've heard ghastly tales of animals being abandoned, some without access to water. It's too awful.
Oh! I can hardly stand to read this on top of what you wrote above. I'm sitting here trying to think of what to write and I'm just speechless. The more you describe the situation the more I see why it is so difficult for you to just up and leave (not to mention the emotional turmoil it would cause.)
Quote:
what has really impressed me is that not one farmer in two years of intense intimidation and provocation has cracked under the strain and taken pot shots at the invaders. Given that most farmers own shotguns or firearms of some sort, that's not too far short of a miracle.
You aren't kidding!! Truly, the fact that not one farmer has taken pot shots is miraculous. I was going to ask if you owned a gun, but didn't even want to go there, because that begs the question of what would happen if you shot someone in self-defense - a defense widely recognized as acceptable here in the US, but probably not in Zimbabwe - esp. if it's a white farmer behind the gun. Not to mention the fact that it would probably just serve to escalate the violence against others in the future.

May you share in the strength and perseverance of the farmers around you, Jeanie
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  #128  
Old 03-21-2002, 01:14 AM
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CJ - yes, Peter is a born-and-bred Zimbo ... his parents are no longer alive, but his elder brother farms next door. His younger brother has recently emigrated to Australia. I believe that if you throw a stone in Aussie or New Zealand these days, you're sure to hit a Zimbabwean!


Jeanie - I think that some of those farmworkers made homeless have now been able to return to those farms, but have had to rebuild their houses, most of which were burnt down by the invaders. Some have moved into shantytowns around Harare, crossed the border illegally into South Africa or returned to Malawi or Mozambique. There are probably quite a few still living on the side of the road in little shelters & shacks.

Re hospitals - our local government hospital was a highly efficient and well-run place ... once. Now it's a joke - except that it's not funny. With HIV/Aids rampant the hospitals are chock-a-bloc with people suffering from pneumonia, T.B. and other Aids-related diseases. They'll turn up there, wait all day in a queue, might get seen by some medical underling, who'll give them 2 aspirin, if they're lucky, & pack them off home having relieved them of a few hundred dollars. It's truly shocking. The small rural clinics are better run (many of which are located on white-owned farms, so are in danger of being shut down), but even so medicines are becoming hard to get. I haven't heard of anyone being turned down for treatment on account of his/her political leanings, although I wouldn't be surprised if that has happened somewhere.

On the subject of weapons, yes we do own a few, as Peter used to do a lot of hunting. It's not unknown for me to sleep with a shotgun under my bed when he's away!! I think, being a woman, I would get away with using a weapon for self-defence in my own house, but a (white) man would almost definitely be arrested, no matter what the circumstances ... there's also the danger that one's attackers (it's never just one) might get the guns & turn them on you.

OH! Must we talk about such sordid things??

Anyone reading this must be thinking what an awful place this must be! It's not, it's beautiful, but just going through a very painful stage.

Oops - I've overstepped the length limit again!!!
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  #129  
Old 03-21-2002, 01:25 AM
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jeaniesa jeaniesa is offline
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I say let's take a break from the sordid discussions and you can tell us again why you love Zimbabwe so much! I know from your photos that it really is a beautiful place and it looks like your farm is really quite peaceful. You said you have 26 horses - that seems like a lot of horses to me! Are they all work horses? I know that you ride - but all 26? (Not being a horse person myself, I'm having a hard time imagining having 26 horses. )

Jeanie
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  #130  
Old 03-21-2002, 02:42 AM
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Ah! A change of subject ... phew!

Peter and I both play polo - we also make a few bucks by selling ponies, so have always got some young ones coming up, plus a broodmare or two. 26 does seem rather a lot, doesn't it! I suppose when we're offered a nice sort of animal, we both find it difficult to resist! And a horse that's failed in its racing career can be picked up for a very reasonable price ... like the equivalent of about US$40!!!
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