[OPE-L:3146] Re: Re: RE:race and justification in Zimbabwe

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Fri May 12 2000 - 10:54:02 EDT

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Nicky, you have yet to explain why you misrepresented the February
referendum, which was lost by a 700,000 to 500,000 vote with only 250f
the population voting as a popular mandate against Mugabe's land reform. I
take this as the first and only bad faith communication on this list since
I have been here. I need to know the information on which you based these

> Hitler used exactly this sort of rhetoric to justify seizing
>property from a racial minority in Germany

Nicky this still suggests to me that you think of Zimbabwean whites to be
the same sort of racial minority as Weimar Jews. I think you are plainly
exploiting the Holocaust to make your point here. I don't find this
tolerable. No one is lining up White Zimbabweans to death camps. Indeed if
they are handsomely compensated by the British, they may be able to
extricate themselves from declining terms of trade (though tobacco has
suffered less) and find themselves happy rentiers.

>I object strongly to your attempt to misrepresent my argument. I have in
>several statements made it clear that I consider ANY JUSTIFICATION for
>political action that is based on RACE to be utterly objectionable
>(including yours).

Nicky, the colonial land seizure was based on race--only whites could use
state power to take the best lands; redistributing the land to those in
most desperate need only rights the wrong. Jews did not accumulate property
because the German state had only allowed them to be owners. There is a
racist historical past that needs to be overcome by conscious expropriation
of whites--this is why the issue is so popular in Z, South Africa and
Kenya, contrary to your one-sided depictions.

> You are incorrect if you believe
>that these historical precedents now make it OK for a ruling party to use
>race to attack a minority of white Africans - or ANYBODY else!

Whites only have the land because of their race.

> In the
>first place, the question of "rightful ownership" confronts a history of
>inter-tribal conquest, oppression and land appropriation predating European

Wow! That to whom the land should go is not clear does not mean that your
family and friends have any rightful ownership of it whatsoever.

> Secondly, white Africans and black Africans stood up TOGETHER
>to racist regimes in the past, and are willing to stand up TOGETHER to
>racist regimes in the present.

The white landowners use blacks, migrant ones in particular, as dogs on
their plantations today-- workers are only protecting the land out of fear
of losing jobs, not any loyalty to the whites in the least. You seem so
removed from the ground level in Zimbabwe that I simply wonder why you have
taken up this cause. When is the last time you were in Zimbabwe? How is
your family communicating information to you? For you to depict whites as
some kind of heroic fighters for liberation is a joke, though your family
may be some sort of exception.

> Thirdly, racially motivated attacks on
>people are never OK.

You seem to be refracting this through racial politics in the West. Hating
whitey may not be a progressive cause in the United States or Australia but
this has nothing to do with the history of Zimbabwe.

>>>(2) that land should not be seized purely on the basis of the racial,

>Land redistribution (whether it is carried out in the United States, Latin
>America, Africa - or even Europe) does NOT have to be justified in racial
>or tribal language. Frankly, I find it extraordinary that anyone should
>even want to justify land redistribution in these terms.

Well, Nicky then you have extraordinary distance from the masses of
Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya where colonial appropriation of the most
arable land remains a burning issue.

Yours, Rakesh

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