Dowden seems set to forgive Mugabe. But Blair? Ah well, that’s different

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    15th May 2010

    Check out the links here and then come back please.

    On the 10 O’clock news on Radio 4 on Friday night I heard this:

    Mugabe clasped my hand and said, “I am tired of this war with Britain.  How can we end it?” I asked what he thought the core of the problem was. The secret land deal believed to have been agreed at the Lancaster House conference of 1979 that led to an independent Zimbabwe? He replied, “No. It was Blair.”

    I expected the speaker, Richard Dowden, to dismiss this out of hand as it deserved. Instead Mr Dowden said this – “I got the impression that, at the age of 86, he genuinely is tired of it.”

    “Genuinely”?

    Mugabe? Two months ago he courted, as only he can “these fools”, the British Conservative party. The reason Mugabe hates Blair so much is that Blair DIDN’T run away. The reason he snuggles up to today’s new British “government” is that they well might. I await the ConDem Africa policy with interest.

    From this Radio4 interview I got the impression that Mr Dowden must be an innocent abroad.  I was wrong. I searched online and found this fuller account of his Mugabe tete-a-tete here. More interestingly still he has this on “corruption”. The “corruption” which bothers him is the so-called British/BAE/ Blair corruption, not the end result of Mugabe’s corruption, as pictured below. (WARNING: GRAPHIC PICTUES)

    The Elim Mission massacre

    June 24 1978 – From the Sunday Mail, Salisbury, Rhodesia – Terry Blocksidge reports: On the night of June 23, 1978, Elim Mission in the then-Rhodesian Eastern Highlands – unarmed men, women and children — was [sic] subjected to the worst massacre of missionaries yet experienced.

    A mother, beaten to death, lay with her young baby. The baby had also been savagely beaten. Their arms stretched out to each other, their hands resting an inch apart. The child’s hand was clenched. The mother had a hand squeezed tightly around her engagement ring, turned into her palm, as she reached for her baby in her dying moments.

    Eight British missionaries and four young children – including a three-week-old baby – were bayoneted to death by terrorists on Rhodesia’s Eastern border on Friday night in the worst massacre of whites since the six-year-old war began. Three of the missionaries were men and the others women.  (most of the women were also raped, and one was mutilated.)

    A sixth woman was stabbed and beaten and left for dead. She staggered 300 m into the freezing Vumba bush to spend the night before being found semi-conscious by security forces yesterday. Despite intensive care in a Salisbury hospital she subsequently died. The gruesome murders, by a group of eight to 10 terrorists, happened at Emmanuel Mission School – 15 km south-east of Umtali and 8 km from the Mozambique border – once used as the Eagle boarding school. The dead, who belonged to the Elim Pentecostal Church, were:

    • Mr. Peter McCann (30), his wife, Sandra (also 30), son Phillip (6) and daughter Joy (5).
    • The Rev. Phillip Evans (29), his wife, Suzan (35), and their daughter Rebecca (4).
    • Mr. Roy Lynn (37), his wife, Joyce (36), and their daughter Pamela Grace. She would have been three weeks old yesterday.
    • Catherine Picken (55) and Elizabeth Wendy Hamilton- White (37).
    • Miss Mary Fisher (28).

    Most of the women had been sexually assaulted, and one mutilated.  Even hardened security men were stunned by the bloody scene and stood around silently. “The quiet is uncanny”, said one. Mr. Brian Chapman, director of the Church in Rhodesia and South Africa, visited the scene yesterday. He said: “We saw no humanity here.”

    The children had been dragged from their beds. Two children were in yellow pyjamas, one with a red dressing gown, and a third in a flowery nightdress. One child had her tiny thumbs clenched in her palms.

    The massacre began shortly before 8.30 p.m. when the white families were forced by the terrorists from their homes and classrooms, and marched to a playing field. Near the sports pavilion, about 400 m from the main school, they were split into groups, then beaten with lengths of wood and logs, and stabbed.  When security forces reached the scene yesterday, the full horror on the cold, mist-and-rain shrouded Vumba mountainside confronted them:

    Nearby, another woman had died from an axe-wound – the weapon still protruded from her shoulder and two men, one with his hands tied behind his back, lay beaten and slashed to death.

    Above pictures and report from Censorbugbear-reports

    A blood-soaked chunk of wood had been dropped near to them. Three children lay in a pitiful huddle, with two women’s bodies next to them. Some had raised their arms to defend themselves from the brutal blows. The reactions of the media in general were predictable, with many newspapers being singularly outspoken. However, this is what was said by the then-US Ambassador to UN , Pastor Andrew Young: “The Patriotic Front (of Robert Mugabe) move around the villages, conduct political seminars and sing songs…’

    In the worst atrocity committed against white civilians in the history of Rhodesia’s six-year war, terrorists of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe National Liberation Army hacked and battered to death almost the entire white staff and their families at the Elim Pentacostal Mission in the Eastern border mountains.

    Mr. Young was asked a month earlier by the London Times: “Does Mr. Mugabe strike you as a violent man?”

    He replied: “Not at all, he’s a very gentle man. In fact, one of the ironies of the whole struggle is that I can’t imagine Joshua Nkomo, or Robert Mugabe, ever pulling the trigger on a gun to kill anyone. I doubt that they ever have…. The violent people are Smith’s people and hopefully they won’t be around for the new Zimbabwe.”

    Clearly, Dowden is not the only one whose moral compass is whirring out of control. In his recent writings Dowden makes clear where his  sympathies lie. With the African peoples. That he shares with Tony Blair. It’s a great pity and utterly shameful that he doesn’t drop his antipathy towards Tony Blair.

    He needs to point instead to the truly deserving of his disdain. The murderer of children – ROBERT MUGABE.

    From Dowden’s “corruption is the killer that we all ignore comes this gem:

    “Mr Blair called Africa “a scar on the conscience of the world”. Perhaps Tanzania and South Africa are the scars on his conscience. The next time a British minister stands up to denounce corruption in Africa, there will be hollow laughter from the continent. And rightly so.”

    I don’t think so, Mr Dowden. I really don’t think so.

    Of course Mr Dowden has no such facile judgements to make on China’s motives in Africa.  Oh, no. On China, where human rights are as rare as common sense in the British press, he wrote this on November 9th 2009:

    Why Africa welcomes the new colonialism

    Richard Dowden is director of the Royal African Society and author of Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles

    Might I suggest Mr Dowden asks Africans whether, if asked to choose, they’d trust Mugabe or Blair. From “Mugabe will miss Blair at the New Zimbabwe:

    When New Labour was swept into power after a landslide victory in 1997, Blair became the youngest British Prime Minister in 150 years. By that time, Mugabe had been in power since 1980 and had a 17-year head start over his new counterpart. But when the dispute over the land issue erupted between Britain and Zimbabwe, and subsequently the imposition of targeted sanctions against the Zimbabwean leader and his lieutenants, Mugabe failed to use his “experience” constructively. Of late, Mugabe has been boasting about being more qualified to lead the country than his youthful political rivals in the ruling party by virtue of being more experienced.

    While he can bulldoze everyone in Zanu PF to accept that false claim, most Zimbabweans know that his adoption of a scorched earth policy in situations where he should have shown more restraint and foresight has been to the detriment of national interests. Today, most ordinary Zimbabweans struggle to put food on the table while billions of dollars continue to be wasted on pointless propaganda wars such as the one waged against Blair. Mugabe was quoted recently as saying with a straight face and without a hint of irony, that he had never seen a “dictator” like Blair!

    When Blair condemned the battering of opposition leaders and activists by the police in March, Mugabe dismissed his sentiments as “the kicks of a dying horse.”

    It takes truly mad guts for someone who is refusing to pass on the baton after 27 years to take such a dig at a younger leader who is quitting after only 10 years in power. But the question now is, will Blair’s successor, Gordon Brown, become the new target of Mugabe’s vitriol?

    After all, the crisis in Zimbabwe continues to escalate and the President will still need a scapegoat to blame. Blair’s departure presents a challenge to Mugabe and his amateurish propagandists and apologists.

    Somehow, the slogan THE ONLY BLAIR I KNOW IS A BLAIR TOILET doesn’t sit comfortably on Brown. It should be indeed, a sad day for Zanu PF strategists who probably already had truckloads of literature with Blair’s name ready for next year’s election.

    Back to top

    [21 Pics] Gruesome, Gore: Terrorism in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe: Rare Booklet: Anatomy of Terror

    Date Posted: Monday 11-May-2009

    ‘Here is a page you can read which will give you an idea of many terrorist acts for which notphotos [sic] are available. The list below could continue on and on for the next seven years. This is how Robert Mugabe came to power. These were their tactics. Read, and be disgusted.’

    [21 Pics]  Gruesome, Gore: Terrorism in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe: Rare Booklet: Anatomy of  Terror

    Top Photo: 28/10/1973: Mr. Mkambe Chiqueqwete, repeatedly shot by terrorists at his village. Twenty-three cartridge cases of communist origin were found at the scene. Motive unknown. Bottom Photo: 16/04/1974: Four terrorists took Mr. Albert Chigumbuza from his home in the Rusamboarea, accused him of being a "sellout" and shot him 15 times. There was absolutely no connection between Mr. Chigumbuza and the authorities.

    [21 Pics]  Gruesome, Gore: Terrorism in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe: Rare Booklet: Anatomy of  Terror

    17/04/1974: Mr. Chivarenge was the headman of a village. Ten terrorists approached him, accused him of being a "sellout", tied his hands behind his back and shot him. They then shot the 14 cattle which represented the entire village's worldly wealth and then set fire to the village. Mr. Chivarenge had led a blameless life and no motive is apparent.

    [More pictures here at African Crisis]

    RELATED

    Change Zimbabwe – ‘The real victims of Mugabe’s land reform’

    Mugabe will miss Blair Excerpt:

    Today, most ordinary Zimbabweans struggle to put food on the table while billions of dollars continue to be wasted on pointless propaganda wars such as the one waged against Blair. Mugabe was quoted recently as saying with a straight face and without a hint of irony, that he had never seen a “dictator” like Blair!

    When Blair condemned the battering of opposition leaders and activists by the police in March, Mugabe dismissed his sentiments as “the kicks of a dying horse.”

    It takes truly mad guts for someone who is refusing to pass on the baton after 27 years to take such a dig at a younger leader who is quitting after only 10 years in power.

    And from Wikipedia’s land reform:

    Excerpt:

    When Zimbabwe gained independence, 46.5% of the country’s arable land was owned by around 6,000 commercial farmers.[41] Mugabe accepted a “willing buyer, willing seller” plan as part of the Lancaster House Agreement of 1979, among other concessions to the white minority.[42] As part of this agreement, land redistribution was blocked for a period of 10 years.[43]

    In 1997, the new British government led by Tony Blair unilaterally stopped funding the “willing buyer, willing seller” land reform programme on the basis that the initial £44 million allocated under the Thatcher government was used to purchase land for members of the ruling elite rather than landless peasants. Furthermore, Britain’s ruling Labour Party felt no obligation to continue paying white farmers compensation, or in minister Clare Short‘s words, “I should make it clear that we do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe. We are a new Government from diverse backgrounds without links to former colonial interests. My own origins are Irish and as you know we were colonised not colonisers”.[44]




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