Skip to comments.Zimbabwe -- The day a black Mercedes came calling
Posted on 04/05/2002 1:34:50 AM PST by Clive
Where are the fine New Zealand liberals who carried the banners so bravely those years ago and literally went to the barricades for Mandela, asks Suburban Newspapers consulting editor Pat Booth following the death of white Zimbabwean farmer Terry Ford.
Just a little terrier with the improbable name of Squeak focused the world's compassion on events in Zimbabwe when he was pictured determinedly guarding the body of his murdered master in the latest farm invasion and death.
Squeak, his loyalty and his bravery, is the unlikely, newest image from that dangerous and twisted land.
A special website file on the death of Terry Ford tracks the build-up to his murder directly to the Mugabe family.
There is no matching symbolic picture like Squeak's.
Yet, the description of earlier events on that Gowrie farm is, in many ways, far more significant and sinister.
Behind that photo and all it represented is a word picture which dramatises the real facts behind the death of Terry Ford on his Gowrie farm - an image made graphic for me from the files of South Africa's Star newspaper in a report from 16 months ago.
His death warrant was, to all intents and purposes, signed in November, 2000.
That was the day a big, black Mercedes limo drove down his farm drive. The woman who got out was powerful and emphatic. Terry Ford must leave, she said.
Just as she had earlier personally forced another white farmer, an expert who produced specialised seeds crops, off half his land so that self-styled guerrilla war veterans could plant their maize there.
Her black Merc was a familiar and threatening sight as she criss-crossed the area with her ultimatums. Just as she was also familiar.
The black woman who came calling on Terry Ford that day was Sabina Mugabe, the president's eldest sister.
Terry Ford literally stood his ground. He refused to leave, even though part of the farm was occupied. He held out for all those months, unable to plant or farm the land, but determined to remain there until he died.
He did just that - a few days after Sabina's all-powerful brother held on to office.
And Squeak guarded a blood-stained body after a hit squad called.
The list of victims grows daily - names which will never gain a place in world media, but still victims:
Ian Kay was forced off his farm and accused of interfering with land invaders. (In simple language, he resisted.)
Michael Collahan and William Burdett barricaded themselves in their houses overnight as the mob circled outside.
The Cartwright family was told to leave their farm so a senior army officer could live there.
Three unnamed supporters of the political opposition were beaten to death by soldiers as part of a nationwide blitz to punish those brave enough to have voted against Mugabe.
Zimbabwe is a country of terror and oppression. You catch it in the voices of our family when you finally get through on the phone to check their safety. It is unspoken. too, in their refusal to make any comment which listening censors would interpret as criticism of the regime.
But, in these electronic times, no barrier is total. In front of me is a copy of an affidavit from a hospital doctor, defining injuries to a patient victim he treated in the last two weeks. That document lists the results of a severe beating and attempted strangling with a thin cord.
A country, too, of growing want and starvation.
Market gardeners have been turned back when they took their produce 150 kilometres to sell in Harare. Their crime? Simply that their political links were suspect.
Meanwhile, the Mugabe government spends millions the enfeebled economy cannot afford - to import food.
All this while the world agonises over the photo of a loyal terrier. A world which seems deeply moved without a matching sense of justifiable anger over the body which lay beside him.
Again, I ask: Where are the fine New Zealand liberals who carried the banners so bravely those years ago and literally went to the barricades for Mandela, for the oppressed and beaten blacks and coloureds of apartheid South Africa?
Why are they silent? Is there some form of unrecognised racism?
Is it somehow different because Terry Ford was white, and the Mugabe family who played such a sinister role in the build-up to his death and Squeak's very public mourning, are black?
Take for example the well-known passage from the Declaration of Independence:Get with the program, fellas.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government. . .
It would have been quite impossible to render this into Newspeak while keeping to the sense of the original. The nearest one could come to doing so would be to swallow the whole passage up in the single word crimethink.
I want to know that, too. The silence- nay, complicity- is thundering.
dennisw, it would not take 100 men.... 10 good ones could do it.
Unfortunately, it would not solve the problem. People largely get the kind of government most of them want- Mugabe is a symptom, not the disease itself. More's the pity.
The real question is: what is to be done?
All of our efforts to influence American government, and I've written letters and emails for years, seem unavailing, as if the US is determined to see Zimbabwe, and soon South Africa, sink to a level of barbarism that would - I'd say make the Gracci blush, but the allusion is lost on most people today - be on a scale with Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. I dispair truly, which is why I alwasy council whites to get the hell out, to save oneself and ones family at the expense of property and position. I'm open to suggestions.
Not everyone wants to see something like that - and I would think most people would give a warning
and hyperlink it so that people can choose to view that disturbing picture if they wanted to see it.
Many times my children are nearby as I sign on to FR and that's the last thing I expect to see as I just scroll through the main page.
If everyone's fine with it, then so be it. That's my honest reaction to it.
I am a registered nurse, so I'm not unusually squeamish in anyway.
I just have a complaint about this new style forum that shows all the pictures (like that one) to the main thread - where people have NO Choice but look.
It's not my call, but I find it offensive and disrepectful to those who come to FR for their news & interests to see an extremely gory picture to make a point.
I personally would've hyperlinked it, and warned people. I have chosen to see unpleasant pictures many times when people post it and warn - then it's my choice....and I certainly can GET The POINT of an International tragedy without being shocked.
I am a registered nurse, also, and I hate the sight of blood! :) Here is my point and it is not personal to you but for consideration by readers of this forum.
We live in a world where headlines can be made around the world because a McDonald's manager killed a rat in front of children.
Where other children can play graphic video games (paid for by their parents) constantly - gaining skills usually taught to soldiers.
Where other children shoot each other for a crossed look (in my hometown.)
I just think we do not do ourselves any favors when we try to pretend reality can be hidden.
Apparently in New Zealand the photo of the dog caused a lot of reaction. The actual man that the dog was grieving was not as memorialized as the dog.
Pictures of blood and mahym and death and gore simply for shock effect is offensive. Pictures of blood, mahym and death for the effect of showing the terror of evil men to the world is appropriate.
In Memory of the Best
Well, Mugabe is 78. That makes his sister older.
So much for the sociological theory that criminals eventually outgrow their criminality.
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