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Where the Rhodesians right?


Schomberg

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Were the Rhodesians right?

Ok, not looking for this to end up being a verbal boxing match between racists and ultra liberals, so please lets try and have a decent discussion. I just finished reading Peter Godwins excellent two books When a Crocodile Eats the Sun and Mukiwa: A white boy in Africa both very fascinating books. I had few members of my own (extended) family live for a short time in both South Africa and later (Southern) Rhodesia after the Anglo Boer war until the 30's when they came back to Ireland, so maybe thats why I got some interest in it. Anyway, reading all these little autobiographys by former white Rhodesians you can't help feel like they were a pretty misunderstood bunch. No doubt there was some elements of post colonial racism about in the country, but I can't help but feel they had a point. The black Rhodesians were still living in a very tribal environment. They didn't turn soil, they wanted their children to stay at home and help with the farm rather than go to school, they trusted their witch doctors more than trained medical physicians even to the point that by the mid 60s Rhodesia's hospitals were estimated to be operating at only 60% capacity. The majority of white Rhodesians did want majority rule but wanted it at a slower rate. they wanted people educated and capable before being handed over power. There was hardly any point in giving power to someone just because they were a certain skin colour if they weren't capable to doing the job.

There had to be an element of fear there too. I guess white Rhodesians were as afraid of Democracy as they were of communism. The African experience would have justified their fear. Places like Mozambique to the north had had democracy, but only once. after that it was despotic dictator after dictator. Whites were such a minority in African states they had no political voice. Other African states that gained majority rule ended up in a spiral of tribal warfare and inhuman violence, where one tribe got on top, raped the land for all they could before they were ousted by the next warlord. You have to wonder how supportive the black Rhodesians were of Mugabe and the black nationalists too and how much of it was down to pure fear. It seems logically that they'd reluctantly be more supportive/afraid of the more brutal force. Peter Godwin made an observation in one of his books about how they'd go into villages to try and police the situation and show the locals that they could protect them. They'd then see some operation with them until the local terrorist force would come through, rape, kill and stake people and after that they'd get no co-operation whatsoever.

All the white doom-sayers were vindicated in the end. The bread basket of Africa became the basket case of the continent. Weird thing is that immediately after independence it actually looked like they would pull off the impossible and create a proper run, democratic multi-racial society. Ian Smith spoke about all the great meetings he had with Robert Mugabe and how he seemed to have mis understood the man. All changed pretty rapidly as we know.

sorry...rambled on a bit aimlessly there...not a good idea to try and type an intelligible post while dodging the boss :lol:
 
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Clanrickard

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Yes is the answer. What is clear is that handing the rule of a country to people who a generation before had been living in mud huts is a bad idea. People need to be educated to be democratic or the whole democracy idea fails as so many African countries have shown.
 

Interista

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The majority of white Rhodesians did want majority rule but wanted it at a slower rate. they wanted people educated and capable before being handed over power.
Is there any evidence for this? Did they make any moves towards it while they could? This is a genuine question. Forgive me for being skeptical, but it's easy for them or their descendents to now say that they wanted 'majority rule'. It's like when you talk to white South Africans these days, you'd think that every single one of them had always been opposed to apartheid, when we know that the majority of the white population supported it and very few actively opposed it. Then again, there weren't many Nazi sympathizers in Berlin in 1945 either.
 

Twin Towers

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Ok, not looking for this to end up being a verbal boxing match between racists and ultra liberals, so please lets try and have a decent discussion.
Fat chance of that when your first line already queers the pitch with stereotypes.
 

reknaw

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Is there any evidence for this? Did they make any moves towards it while they could? This is a genuine question. Forgive me for being skeptical, but it's easy for them or their descendents to now say that they wanted 'majority rule'. It's like when you talk to white South Africans these days, you'd think that every single one of them had always been opposed to apartheid, when we know that the majority of the white population supported it and very few actively opposed it. Then again, there weren't many Nazi sympathizers in Berlin in 1945 either.
+ a big one

Of course there weren't many Nazi sympathisers in Germany after May 1945. How could there be after the miracle that saw them all turn into Christian CDU supporters overnight?

As for Rhodesia, what can you expect when people are oppressed, exploited and kept in misery for decades while immigrants cream off the best of everything that is going? They did nothing to allow the native inhabitants to develop anything, much less democratic institutions. The last White government in Rhodesia didn't have a single academic qualification between them, so who were they to help prepare the Black majority for self-rule?:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
 

rockofcashel

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Yes is the answer. What is clear is that handing the rule of a country to people who a generation before had been living in mud huts is a bad idea. People need to be educated to be democratic or the whole democracy idea fails as so many African countries have shown.
And what if the Africans simply do not want to live in a democratic society ?

You do realise that widescale representative Democracy is a very modern idea
 

Schomberg

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Is there any evidence for this? Did they make any moves towards it while they could? This is a genuine question. Forgive me for being skeptical, but it's easy for them or their descendents to now say that they wanted 'majority rule'. It's like when you talk to white South Africans these days, you'd think that every single one of them had always been opposed to apartheid, when we know that the majority of the white population supported it and very few actively opposed it. Then again, there weren't many Nazi sympathizers in Berlin in 1945 either.
I'm reading Ian Smiths biography at the minute (heavy going and care is needed to separate his own prejudice from the events taking place around him) and he talks about it in there. The move might have been a late development in the war but the country was renamed Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. I think the problem was that they backed a black democrat (Abel Muzorewa) who didn't have any sway the extremist elements in black nationalist circles. The whites were clearly fearing for their very lives. They feared the communism the black nationalists were promoting, they watched other African states become independent and go down the dictatorship path with massive violence and famine. They probably feared a black backlash too. I think they were genuinely concerned of the prospect of people who weren't qualified to run a country being handed the reigns of power and control. Their neighbor Mozambique had just gone through that very thing.
 

Interista

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The last White government in Rhodesia didn't have a single academic qualification between them, so who were they to help prepare the Black majority for self-rule?
Kind of reminds me of how the Brits suddenly got all uppity about 'democracy' in the years before Hong Kong was to be returned to China. They were hardly in a good position to lecture anyone on the matter, given the very undemocratic nature of the unelected colonial government of the territory, with the governor appointed by the queen in London.
 

Interista

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They probably feared a black backlash too. I think they were genuinely concerned of the prospect of people who weren't qualified to run a country being handed the reigns of power and control.
So no blacks were 'qualified to run a country' despite them being by far the majority? Did these 'terrified' colonists ever stop to ask themselves just why only white folk were 'qualified' to rule?
 

Rocky

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To begin with on the education issue, the large majority of black Zimbabweans weren't educated, but Mugabe was and by all accounts he was/is a very intelligent and educated man and that hasn't stopped him driving Zimbabwe into the ground.

The level of support Mugabe had at any point is also disputable, although he did of course have a large level of support at least originally. If a free and fair election was held today all proper polls suggest he would be hammered and he even won the first election after Independence through violence and intimidation.

It's also important to note that under white rule, the large majority of people did live in massive poverty and despite your argument, the system wasn't set up to improve that. Of course things have got worse since then, but the whites never had any great interest in improving the black people as you seem to suggest and even if they had, people inherently can't do that and the notion that they can is simply rascist. People have to grow and develop in their own way and that can't be imposed on them.

White rule couldn't last forever and shouldn't and was always going to fall and we would end up somewhere like here. It took the West a long time to get to where we are today and even at that it's not near perfect and although Africa won't end up exactly like the west for good or bad, it will develop, hopefully for the best and in recent years Mugabe's control has weakened to an extent.

As always there are no easy answers.
 
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Schomberg

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The last White government in Rhodesia didn't have a single academic qualification between them, so who were they to help prepare the Black majority for self-rule?:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
Ian Smith had a commerce degree, Edgar Whitehead was an oxford graduate, Humphrey Gibbs was a Cambridge graduate....etc etc etc
 

Rocky

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And what if the Africans simply do not want to live in a democratic society ?

You do realise that widescale representative Democracy is a very modern idea
To be fair Rock, various non democracies haven't exactly worked out for them and the fairly democratic states like Botswana, Senegal and Ghana are in general in the best shape in Africa.

On top of that, unlike Hitler, I don't think any African leader ran in their first election arguing that they would destroy democracy. In general it was the opposite.
 

Interista

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Good post rocky.

It's also important to note that under white rule, the large majority of people did live in massive poverty and despite your argument, the system wasn't set up to improve that.
I agree. If Rhodesian whites genuinely did want to see a 'gradual' end to white rule, what concrete steps were they taking to achieve that end? As I said, it's terribly easy for them to now say this is what they wanted, but the indicators are that they were living in a kind of 19th century time warp, ignoring the fact that the world had moved on and refusing to plan for what everyone else could see was the inevitable decline in white power in Africa.
 

euryalus

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The white colonists were right in the sense that Southern Rhodesia fell apart as soon as majority rule was implemented, but utterly wrong in the sense that it was not their country. If Africans want to live in third-rate, God-forsaken hell-holes such as Zimbabwe that is their own business.
 

Schomberg

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White rule couldn't last forever and shouldn't and was always going to fall and we would end up somewhere like here. It took the West a long time to get to here and even at that it's not near perfect and although Africa won't end up exactly like the west for good or bad, it will develop, hopefully for the best and in recent years Mugabe's control has weakened to an extent.

As always there are no easy answers.
I agree. Despite never actually loosing any battles in the Bush War, the Rhodesian state was never going to achieve overall victory. They'd have had to fight war and war. But I disagree that where Zimbo is now was inevitable. There was a period immediately after independence when things were looking positive. Money and investment poured into a sanction crippled Zimbabwe, former white politicans were brought into the new government in a show of unity and in an effort to put their experience to good use. Mugabe spoke about forgetting the past, all of which was very short lived.
 

Canis

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Anyway, reading all these little autobiographys by former white Rhodesians you can't help feel like they were a pretty misunderstood bunch.
To the OP: I can offer only an ill-informed opinion on this particular case but my opinion is well informed by broader experience. I would guess that these has been a deliberate attempt to skew reality by journalists, authors and politicians of a left-wing persuasion. We can see this in the recent reports following the Tere'blanch killing were blacks were quoted in the press as saying they were afraid to go out following the killing. But no quotes were published from white people who are also living in fear. The media is attempting the paint whites as trouble making racist which is totally unfair. Did you know for example that the white South Africans are on a list of those at risk of genocide? You probably did not because the main stream media would not publish the fact because it does not mesh with their agenda, an agenda which is anti-white. It is a strange state of affairs and I do not know what is driving the Western press.
 

Rocky

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I'm reading Ian Smiths biography at the minute (heavy going and care is needed to separate his own prejudice from the events taking place around him) and he talks about it in there. The move might have been a late development in the war but the country was renamed Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. I think the problem was that they backed a black democrat (Abel Muzorewa) who didn't have any sway the extremist elements in black nationalist circles. The whites were clearly fearing for their very lives. They feared the communism the black nationalists were promoting, they watched other African states become independent and go down the dictatorship path with massive violence and famine. They probably feared a black backlash too. I think they were genuinely concerned of the prospect of people who weren't qualified to run a country being handed the reigns of power and control. Their neighbor Mozambique had just gone through that very thing.
There fears were justified and proven to be correct eventually.

However interestingly Mugabe didn't target the White farmers until around 2000 and in the 20 years after Independence many white farmers bought their land and many of the people who have been driven off their land in recent years, did buy it legally after Independence. Up until about 2000, the Whites were largely left to themselves.

In the early years of Zimbabwe Mugabe focused his attention on attacking opposing black tribes and wiped out about 20,000 people from the Matabeleland and the Midlands, as they were the people who threatened his power, not the whites.

The whites were only attacked after Mugabe had driven Zimbabwe into the ground and he needed someone to blame it on and the Whites provided an easy answer. They had also played a decent role in defeating a referendum which would have given Mugabe more power and they were also attacked in revenge for that.
 
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Cato

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Are there many whites left in Zimbabwe today?
 

Interista

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Did you know for example that the white South Africans are on a list of those at risk of genocide?
No I didn't. Could you provide a link to this 'list' or has that been stricken off the record by the leftwing media conspiracy too?
 
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