Seewell Mashizha Correspondent
YUVAL Noah Harari in his book “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” writes that for up 2,5 million years the human family consisted of Homo erectus, Homo ergaster and Neanderthal man. At some point Homo sapiens (our species) spread from East Africa across the world and eventually subdued the other human families.
The other families disappeared from history and Homo sapiens has for 10 000 years or more been the sole representative of the human race. This dog-eat-dog situation has persisted since then with the baser side of humanity always holding sway. Consequently, black people are discriminated against and bear the brunt of this sad development.
In George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” the pigs are by far the most intelligent among the animals and are, therefore, willy-nilly the elite group on the farm. Surreptitiously, they tamper with the constitution and rewrite its tenets in order to entrench themselves and thereby reap more benefits than the rest of the animals.
In the end the pigs effectively become the new masters of the farm. To reflect this new dispensation a key clause is changed from “All animals are equal” to “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. This template has directed human affairs both overtly and covertly over the years.
When George Orwell wrote his critique of the socialist state he did so tongue-in-cheek, as it were. Unwittingly, he may also have been critiquing the capitalist state that sponsored him.
For, indeed throughout its history, capitalism has tended to lord it over others. It has had no moral fabric or stance and, in a truly Machiavellian fashion, the result has always justified the means.
Is it any wonder then that in the so-called brave new world that the great sea-faring nations of Europe pretended to discover, whole peoples disappeared from the face of the earth, annihilated with neither compunction nor remorse by their sheepishly grinning conquerors who savoured genocide like a condiment?
Whole civilisations were wiped off the face of the earth in what ought to constitute a crime against humanity. Everything was deliberate.
There is evidence that Britain at some stage seriously considered establishing in the territory of Uganda what today we know as the state of Israel. Had this happened Britain would have gone all out to change history and show that her Caucasian kith and kin had a claim to parts of Africa.
It is common cause that the whites who call themselves Jews today do so on the basis of some aberration and by default only. The whole thing is part of a huge fraud and conspiracy against the black people of the world.
Before the Suez Canal it was possible to walk across the desert from Egypt into the Sinai. The canal created a new barrier to communication which then facilitated and fed into the fiction of an area deceptively now named the Middle East.
And just like that, North-East Africa disappeared and gave way to a fictitious “middle east”. In this way, the world was reshaped to suit the new masters of the world. Critically many racist and genocidal actions were directed against the darker races of the world.
The Atlantic Slave Trade is probably the worst crime in human history, but because black people were the victims there has never been any serious talk about recognising the humanity of so-called slaves or of compensating Africa for the loss she suffered, and for her subjugation.
Countries like Argentina deliberately made the black community there disappear either by engineering thinly-disguised genocide or by some other devious means such as just ignoring and marginalising them.
Many blacks in Argentina were sent to her wars in large numbers so as to kill them off. In the circumstances, many Argentinian blacks are said to have migrated to other countries in the region; today Argentina is 98 percent white.
But questions remain: Where did the million or so people of African origin that at one time formed a formidable group in Argentina go? Is Argentina’s present demography a result of ethnic cleansing?
The practice of denigrating Africans and treating them like sub-human savages has refused to go away. Apartheid in South Africa and present-day Israel are cases in point.
The United Nations has allowed some of its members to be more equal than others. That is the background to present cries for Security Council reforms. The sub-text is always that blacks are less than human.
If nothing else, the 1960 Sharpeville massacre as well as the 1976 Soweto uprising shootings of defenceless school children in South Africa, illustrate Apartheid brutality.
The Rhodesians, on the other hand, pretended to be more enlightened than the people on the other side of the Limpopo. Despite this, their conduct in the war against so-called insurgents /terrorists was crude and genocidal.
Interestingly, Rhodesian war crimes are well documented. Nevertheless, what we see happening is typically characteristic of the relations between whites and blacks.
The sins of our erstwhile colonisers are whitewashed and we are tricked into focussing on our shortcomings only. That is the way of the world as configured by the West. Zimbabweans and other Africans are in a way their own worst enemies. We are always so quick to forgive and sometimes to forget despite the absence of reciprocation to initiatives such as that of reconciliation at independence in 1980. Smith died a free man even though Robert Mugabe once said, “Ian Smith’s head is rightly ours.”
The Rhodesian war machine was brutally efficient and had no qualms about using forbidden weapons. During the war, I saw a group of villagers who had obviously been victims of napalm. They looked like someone had peeled off the skin on their faces. Cases such as those relating to the use of poisoned food and poisoned clothes are also well-documented.
Simon Massey, a Herald correspondent, was born in the UK but lived in Zimbabwe before and after independence. In a recent article of his, Massey says Glenn Cross’s book published in 1999 is by far “the most well-researched and detailed examination” of Rhodesian war crimes.
Massey also has in his library an old copy of “Plague Wars” by Tom Mangold. The book is a chronicle of the crimes committed during the bush war that lasted nearly fifteen years on and off. Massey has also read “The Myth of Smith” by Doug Schorr, “Assignment Selous Scouts” by Jim Parker and “Special Branch War” by ED Bird. He is, therefore, well-placed to talk about what happened.
In last week’s instalment, I touched on propaganda as an important political tool. In Rhodesia, it was also an important tool of war. Massey writes that on the evidence before him it is clear that “Rhodesians were subject to a propaganda campaign that sought to dehumanise and demonise their black enemy”.
This has always been the case throughout history, whenever the white races came into contact with black people and is something that ought never to be forgotten by any self-respecting citizen or politician, no matter what political entity they subscribe to.
The infamous activities and excesses of the Selous scouts should be used when talking about that period in Zimbabwe’s history that is commonly referred to as Gukurahundi. Massey writes that the Selous scouts committed war crimes against “African civilians and Catholic missions”. The crimes were then assigned to liberation forces to support the claim of a Christian civilisation under threat from communist terrorists.
In this respect, the revelations in Kevin Woods’s book are instructive since he clearly documents and assigns some of the incidents of the Gukurahundi campaign to a sponsored shadowy third force whose mode of operation closely resembled that of the notorious Selous scouts. But that is the subject of another article in the near future.
Rhodesian propaganda succeeded so much that despite evidence of health problems in the civilian population, by the time the war ended in 1979 in the aftermath of the Lancaster House talks, many Zimbabweans still choose to ignore the use of indiscriminate chemical warfare by Rhodesia.
Opposition parties in Zimbabwe and elsewhere on our continent, must exorcise this ghost of subservience and selective amnesia and be seen to be guided by things other than proxy agendas. But for that to happen, and it must happen, given that this is the only way for the nation to subscribe to a common vision.
There might then be a change of government because people will feel that their heritage is safe and that whoever sits in government over the nation will not betray the interests of the people.
Going forward, the need to address black people’s miseducation and equip them with solid analytical tools for use in combating foreign propaganda is an unavoidable imperative. It remains to be seen whether the espoused curricular changes in Zimbabwe can deliver on this front.
We will go into that in a future article and after examining how things unfold on the ground.