Racism is a Universal Problem


Jerry Bergman PhD

(Investigator 153, 2013 November)


Unfortunately, Whites have no monopoly on racism. The recent tragedy in Zimbabwe caused by their head of state, Robert Mugabe, is a prime example.

Since the year 2000, nearly all of the White farmers have been forcibly expelled off of their property. In the takeover, hundreds of White farmers were arrested, tortured or even murdered. Within only a few years, almost all of the 4,500 White-owned farms were taken over by the government and given to Blacks, most of which had no experience running large, modern farms, or often any farms. The result has devastated the country. About 250,000 Black farm workers have lost their jobs. Many were forced to flee the country in order to earn a livelihood.

When I was in Africa last year, I talked with many of those Blacks who were forced to flee Zimbabwe for work and freedom in South Africa. Those in South Africa had to send money back home to prevent their relatives still living in Zimbabwe from starving.

The land was seized from the Whites without due process or compensation. The justification given for stealing their farms and property was Africa was once populated largely by Blacks. The Blacks claim they are just reclaiming their land –– yet before the Whites came, the land was not owned by anyone. The native people once lived by wasteful slash and burn farming. They would burn a few acres to get rid of trees and brush, grow a few crops until the land was exhausted, then move on to exploit another area.

The White farmers prospered by using European techniques of crop rotation, fertilization, and tractors. Whites are only five percent of the population, but farmed at least 90 percent of the land. The new Black farm owners lacked the highly sophisticated productive agribusiness skills of the previous White farmers, thus most farms are now in ruin. Most White farmers have been on their farms for three generations, since most of the last century. The choicest farms were taken over by Grace Mugabe, the young wife of Zimbabwe’s 89-year-old president for life, Robert Mugabe, who was just reelected.

The country went from the breadbasket of Africa to a country that cannot feed its own people. Because crop production has plummeted, more than half of Zimbabwe’s 12 million people have faced starvation. Such is the vicious racism that has hurt Blacks far more than Whites. Robert Mugabe, who claims to be a Presbyterian, has let his racism dominate his policies. Some argue that he is also driven by anger over the fact that he lost a referendum in 2000 that would have greatly expanded his power. In response, he blamed the small number of successful White farmers, 1,500 out of 12 million Zimbabweans.

Another problem was that when Blacks took over the farms, they often stripped the valuables from the land. Farm irrigation pipes were sold for scrap, wells have not been maintained, many are no longer functional, and electricity was shut off because the new farm owners could no longer pay their bills. Many soon reverted to unproductive subsistence farming.

The result is the wholesale dismantling of the agricultural sector of the economy, the backbone of the economy, and some of the once most productive land in all of Africa. The devastation to Zimbabwe’s agriculture is most obvious from the air –– one pilot saw, not one freshly tilled land in the country’s prime land, but rather empty fields. The Zimbabwean land grab is not unlike Stalin’s land collectivization during the 1930s to eliminate the Kulaks. The land redistribution program has horribly failed, just like Stalin’s program did.

The Black farm workers and their families have actually been the main victims –– over 1.2 million were displaced. Since the White farmers were not compensated for their loss, they could not repay the banks the millions of dollars they owed, causing the collapse of at least two banks, and several of the rest are said to be teetering on failure. Those Blacks that were in line to be given a large farm support the program, as do others who could gain from the program, such as potential landowners.

As a Presbyterian, Mugabe and all are sons and daughters of Adam, and thus all related and equal. For this reason, racism has no place among Christians. If he actually lived the Christian life, the horrible tragedy that devastated Zimbabwe would never have happened.


http://users.adam.com.au/bstett/

http://ed5015.tripod.com/