Parsed ideologically: Zimbabwe threatens war with Britain (!)

Chris Burford cburford at
Fri Apr 7 15:48:55 PDT 2000

While I am sure Chris Doss would agree this article is suspect it is an object lesson in the imperialist domination of the media.

I copy the article with imperialist bias noted **

Chris Burford


At 12:37 07/04/00 -0400, you wrote:

> -
> Mugabe threatens war with
> Britain

** How ridiculous. But on second thoughts how much more ridiculous it would be if Britain went to war with Zimbabwe.

> By ED O'LOUGHLIN, Herald
> Correspondent in Johannesburg, and
> agencies

** Receiving his newsbriefings predominately from which agencies?

> Zimbabwe's increasingly erratic **

what is erratic about being publically committed to a policy of expropriating the private ownership of land by colonial capitalists?

>President Robert
> Mugabe has threatened to go to war with Britain if
> it interferes in his wave of state-sponsored land
> grabs,

** should not the state ultimately enforce politics by arms if necessary?

>fuelling fears that the veteran politician is
> becoming as mad as he is dangerous.

** what evidence of mental illness is provided?

> Mr Mugabe's ever-more violent rhetoric is stoking
> a crisis many fear could end in serious bloodshed.

And expropriation of plundered land?

> His latest outburst

how uncivilised.

>came as his entourage

are their prostitutes in it?

> over at Nairobi on the way back from the
> European Union-Africa summit in Cairo.
> Mr Mugabe said he had told the British Foreign
> Secretary, Mr Robin Cook, at the summit that his
> country was prepared for war over the need for
> reforming ownership of Zimbabwe's best land, a
> third of which belongs to 4,000 white farmers.
> "If they [Britain] are on the warpath, I told him we
> will defend ourselves and if need be we can go
> back to the trenches," Mr Mugabe told
> Zimbabwean Television. "If they want a war to go
> on, well they will have only themselves to blame."
> Since the Government's humiliating defeat in a
> constitutional referendum in February,

what was humiliating about it?

> of people claiming

only "claiming". No doubt like the beggars on the streets of London who claim they haven't got enought money to afford housing.

But of course there must have been some Zimbabweans who were not claiming, because the Smith UDI regime was actually defeated despite being backed by apartheid South Africa. Can these dreadful people all be imposters?

>to be landless peasants or
> veterans of the pre-1980 liberation struggle have
> occupied more than 600 white-owned farms.
> Local observers claim many of the squatters are
> paid supporters of the ruling party.

Does that mean a) that they get some state benefits to avoid starvation, b) that they happen to support the ruling party, or c) they believe in land to the tiller?

> Mr Mugabe has said they will be allowed to keep
> the land after parliamentary elections scheduled for
> next month. His government has refused to obey
> court orders to remove the squatters.

I thought the article said a lot of people were afraid of bloodshed?

> Yesterday, Mugabe supporters occupied more
> white-owned farms. A source in the white
> community said four more farms had been overrun
> during the night, and a fifth had been occupied
> after daybreak in the Mutepatepa district
> north-east of Harare.
> There were no immediate reports of further
> violence following at least 50 shootings, assaults
> and burnings between Sunday and Wednesday.
> At the weekend, police allowed a gang

Why are the blacks a "gang" whereas the white resistance groups are not a "gang"

>of 150
> "war veterans"

Not just bloodthirsty but impostors too!

>to attack a peaceful opposition rally
> in the capital with clubs, knives and bricks.

Peaceful in demanding no doubt that the army should intervene with the risk of bloodshed to remove the squatters.

> Since then, the opposition Movement for
> Democratic Change (MDC) says, three of its
> supporters have been murdered by gangs loyal to
> Mr Mugabe's Zimbabwean African National
> Union, including a pregnant woman.
> This week a policeman was shot dead as he tried
> to arrest "war veterans" who had seriously
> assaulted a white farmer near Harare, and eight
> paramilitary policemen have been disarmed by
> squatters and are believed to be being held
> hostage.
> On Wednesday, the MDC reported a wave of
> overnight arson attacks on its supporters' homes.
> "It is a strategy of subduing the people of
> Zimbabwe," the MDC's leader, Mr Morgan
> Tsvangirai, said. "It is too ghastly to contemplate
> that we can go on with this. If this is an indication
> of things to come, then God help this country."
> Mr Mugabe's critics say the former liberation
> leader is trying to use racial hate to shore up
> slumping support in the elections.

Why is it racially hateful to say that land plundered by colonial armed force should be returned to the indigenous population?

> Land reform has long been a staple of Mr
> Mugabe's politics, raised afresh whenever
> elections are in the offing.

Images of stale food unable to attract any understandable appetite in the population.

> This week Zimbabwe's 150 MPs - 147 of them
> members of Mr Mugabe's party - began pushing

How bad to push something through.. This expropriation has waited long enough to come.

> through a constitutional amendment to confiscate
> white-owned farmland and demand Britain then
> compensate the owners. This was a key provision
> in the draft constitution rejected by voters in
> February.
> Britain, the former colonial power, agreed to fund
> land reform as part of the deal that led to the end
> of white rule in 1980, but has since claimed much
> of the land acquired under existing schemes has
> been misused or handed out to Mugabe cronies.

Which justifies the land being held by white cronies?

There is a serious economic argument about how much capital flight and flight of technical and managerial labour a country like Zimbabwe can sustain, but this is gutter imperialist journalism.

Chris Burford


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