Sunday, July 17, 2005

Cathy's letter from Zimbabwe

Dear Family and Friends,
Zimbabwe is shuddering to a stop just 14 weeks after Zanu PF declared they had won the 2005 parliamentary elections. Chronic shortages of petrol and diesel have almost shut the country down. There is a silence spreading over the land and with it is coming a sense of camaraderie and unity asZimbabweans literally walk to the end line of these years of madness. Is it here on a cold but crystal clear winter morning in the silence that has become suburban Marondera and flip through many hundreds of weekly letters I have written since this began and wonder if this will be the last winter of discontent. If I did not see my own words in black and white I would not believe that such things could have happened or that our prosperous country and her wonderful people could have endured such horrors.In July 2000, four months after our farm had been invaded by war veterans and government supporters, I wrote: " Went down to the little dam today...Once densely enclosed with trees, the surrounds are now sparse and a cold wind blew through the haven where our cattle used to drink. The dam wall had been broken and water gushes out... the entire surface area of the dam is covered with thick, choking, suffocating red Azolla weed. Floating and bloated in the water is a dead animal ..."
In July 2001 I wrote : "I cannot tell you how I felt this week when a grandfather phoned me to see if there was anything I could do to help his son, daughter in law and three grandchildren under 10 years old who had been barricaded into their farmhouse by two dozen war veterans. Gates had been smashed down, fires had been lit on the lawn, dogs had been cowed into submission and through the night the war veterans sang and drummed and pelted the roof of the house with rocks to try and chase this family out."
In July 2002 : "I have an 84 year old man living two doors away from me and he stood at my gate again this week. He calls me his Guardian Angel and begged that I give him $60 for a loaf of bread. He is white and his need is as great as the 14 year old black boy who runs alongside my car when I turn in at the supermarket. He too begs for money to buy a loaf of bread. If only the men and women in our government would stop their motorcades, get out of their chauffeur driven limousines and see this immense tragedy, see the huge suffering of all black, white and brown Zimbabweans."
In July 2003: "I heard how 200 Kamativi villagers are hiding in the mountains to escape the violence of the government youth militia who have hounded them out of their homes accusing them of not supporting Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF. I can hardly bear to think of how those people ares urviving. It is the middle of winter here and as my son and I cycle to school every morning wearing coats and gloves and wooly hats, the frostlies in thick white sheets along the roadside. What sort of government could knowingly allow their supporters to force people out of their homes and into the freezing elements..."
In July 2004: "The issue under the spotlight at the moment is theGovernment Ministers and high ranking officials who have got, taken or been given more than one farm... One of the Ministers concerned said the withdrawal letters were 'preposterous and annoying.' He said of the multiple farms credited to him, one had been reallocated to his cousin and another to his mother."
And now, many winters later, in July 2005, I quote the South African Council Of Churches who have just visited Zimbabwe: "In God's name, stop Operation Murambatsvina ...This operation is inhumane and causes widespread suffering to the people." ..."They [the Zimbabwean government]have no idea what to do with the people, and this is the sadness of it,"The Church report estimated the number of people thrown out on the street to be between 800 000 and one million. Until next week, love cathyCopyright cathy buckle 16th July 2005 Mybooks on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" areavailable from: ; ; ; in Australia and New ; Africa:


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