What a stunningly good point

There\’s just one final point in this article that I noticed. Steele talks about how \”white\” farms were invaded by \”Africans\”. Zimbabwe didn\’t permit dual nationality, meaning that the overwhelming majority of white farmers were Zimbabwean citizens. Many have family roots in Africa going back hundreds of years. At what point do they become African? And is Steele happy for the same test to be applied to African immigrants to Europe?

Hmm. Now that is good.

Mo Farah was Somali born and is now, in the eyes of the law, an Englishman in exactly the same manner that I am. And quite rightly so too. Citizenry is just citizenry and there\’s an end to it.

I think we\’d all agree that various at The Guardian would sign on to that concept too.

So why does this not apply to Zimbabweans? Why are those of pinkish hue not allowed to own land while those duskier may?

And I\’m sorry but we can\’t claim \”original inhabitants\” either. The Bantu are as much a novelty in that part of the world as the Normans are in the UK. Which gives us another comparator: we\’re told, repeatedly, that it\’s appalling that the descendants of the Norman invaders still own appreciable amounts of land in the UK. So why do we insist that Zimbabwean land must be given to Bantus instead of to Khoi San? After all, they got invaded, murdered and oppressed at about the same time the Anglo Saxons did.

I know what I think the correct solution is: the Me n\’ Mo one. I\’d just love to know what the possible justification for the Guardianista solution is.

33 comments on “What a stunningly good point

  1. I would imagine – how are you, by the way? long time no speak – that the answer from t’Guardian is that immigrants came here at our invitation, or at least with our permission, whereas the eeeevil white people went and took all their land without permission.

    But you’re right, it is a good point.

  2. In my capacity as Zimbabwe geek, I’d add that the majority of white-owned farms changed ownership after independence. One of the conditions of farm sales in Zimbabwe was (is?) that the state has right of refusal.

    So in most cases (obviously not all) these dastardly whites bought their farms in the 1980s/90s with the explicit approval of the Zim Govt…

  3. At what point do they become African? And is Steele happy for the same test to be applied to African immigrants to Europe?

    Shades of Yes, Prime Minister

    Sir Humphrey: He’s also against oppression and persecution in Africa.
    Hacker: Well, so are we.
    Sir Humphrey: But he’s against it when it’s practised by black governments as well as white ones.
    Hacker:Oh… You mean he’s a racist?

  4. Actually according to the Pretoria news, some of that isn’t complete bullshit. Tobacco farming has basically surpassed 90′s levels. I drink with one of the one editors occasionally and they’re definitely not apologists for Zanu PF, I’d say its fairly reliable reporting

  5. Many have family roots in Africa going back hundreds of years

    That seems to me to be something of an exaggeration, depending on how one understands “many”.

    Cecil Rhodes was born in England. Winston Field was born in England. Ian Smith’s parents were born in Britain. Some white settlers in Rhodesia will have been born in South Africa, but most came from Europe.

    Not that I think this relevant to land seizures. I’m against them.

  6. PaulB – David Coltart’s family came to South Africa in the early 19th century; many Afrikaner families (pretty well represented in Zim) have been in SA even longer. There’s been a white presence in the continent since the 17th century.

    Most white Rhodesians were definitely first generation, but the ones that stayed were often those with longer African roots.

  7. In 1980, at independence, Mugabe explicitly guaranteed the rights of white farmers to continue working the land as well as welcoming the return of any who had left during the Bush War. Many of the evicted farmers had bought their farms after independence under the illusion that their investments werecsecure and their productivity valued. Then Mugabe sent the army into Zaire to protect a mate’s diamond mine and couldn’t pay them….

  8. The Guardianista justification is as ever, “Lefties are always right. We are Lefties, therefore we are always right.

  9. @DrMakkajaz: i have to wonder how much of that 90% increase is actually economically viable. They do like subsidies in that part of the world. Probably supported by a windfall tax on the evil honkies that made out so well selling their farms.

  10. >Why are those of pinkish hue not allowed to own land while those duskier may?

    As any sociology student will tell you, the answer is that whities are oppressors, while Mo Farah isn’t.

  11. As the other chaps have said… Racism is about power, and whitey has it all… Hence only whitey’s can be racist…

    F

  12. As the other chaps have said… Racism is about power, and whitey has it all… Hence only whitey’s can be racist…

    Frightening and depressing bollocks, but it’s what the guardianistas think…

  13. Imagine that you’re a Shona, living in Zimbabwe in 1999. As a child you learnt from your parents and grandparents that in your great-grandparents’ time the farmland around the village where you were born was owned and farmed by the whole village communally. But then European settlers arrived and seized the land to make a big farm owned by just one family.

    The grandchildren of the settlers left Zimbabwe when white rule ended, and sold the farm to another family of European descent. The new owners seem to be decent people and good farmers. But, well, their native language is not yours, they socialize by choice with other, similar, farm-owners, and you have the impression, rightly or wrongly, that they think they’re better than you. And, you’re not sure whether this should be relevant, but it distinguishes their whole class, their skin colour is quite different from yours.

    Some people in the government say that the farm should be taken from its owners and given to you and the other villagers. In England, the country of the farm-owners’ grandparents, the government says no, that would be quite wrong, the farm-owners’ right to the farm must be respected. But the government of England has never said anything about your great-grandparents’ right to the farm.

    What would you think?

    Tim adds: As the Shona child? Woo Hoo, Expropriation!

    As the Shona adult? I’d prefer the rule of law please. So that some scumsucking politician cannot turn me off my land if I vote the wrong way.

    As he will.

    And now let’s try this with Matabele……

    Quite. That rule of law’s quite important, isn’t it?

  14. Are you sure he is English?
    I suspect legally he may be British not English.
    There is a difference. As far as I’m concerned anyway.

  15. Tim: you haven’t got any land to be turned off. Your great-grandparents had some.

    I’m not condoning Mugabe’s murders of the Ndbele. I’m trying gently to suggest that you are asking vastly more of the Shona than Mo is asking of you.

  16. Hi Tim,

    Talking about the Zimbabwean reclaiming of the land, we tend to forget some of our own history. In 1899 the Boer War was started, the consequence was a war won by the British after commiting what would be called genocide today. One third of the Boer population succummed to hunger and diseases brought about by the inhumane conditions that prevailed in the concentration camps. But let’s not talk about that.

    One of the main reasons for the war was citizenship. The Boers gave the foreigners, mainly British, citizenship after 7 years stay in the Transvaal, the British demanded 5 years. On this slim pre-text, a war started.

    Now, more than one hundred years later, the conditions for citizenship changed, it is just a matter of skin colour, isn’t it?

    But, we have to move with the times, musn’t we?

  17. “owned and farmed by the whole village communally”: ah, a prelapsarian paradise. The Gaels like fairy stories along these lines.

  18. @Paul B

    The current Ms Makajaz is Ndebele! Quite Tidy

    @MadNumismatist

    The evil honkies didn’t really get any subsidies, that was the point of sanctions

    @ The jolly Green man

    “it is just a matter of skin colour, isn’t it?”

    yeah try getting permanent residence if you’re a Welshman with a PhD, and try getting it if you’re a Nigerian pimp much easier for the latter

  19. But, well, their native language is not yours, they socialize by choice with other, similar, farm-owners, and you have the impression, rightly or wrongly, that they think they’re better than you. And, you’re not sure whether this should be relevant, but it distinguishes their whole class, their skin colour is quite different from yours.

    And, I don’t know, they worship a different god? I don’t know how much time you spend round certain bits of London or Oldham, but this cuts both ways. And no, I don’t buy the ‘but overall white people have more power so they can’t be racist’ argument, becuase it’s logically invalid.

  20. Now, more than one hundred years later, the conditions for citizenship changed, it is just a matter of skin colour, isn’t it?

    I’m not sure what you mean by this. In the Transvaal under Boer rule citizenship was most certainly a matter of skin colour. It was granted to whites only, if they or their parents had lived in the country for long enough.

    In Zimbabwe, there are no racial requirements for citizenship.

    dearieme: I doubt it was any sort of paradise. If you’ve got a better description than mine of how land was managed before European settlement, please go ahead and tell us.

  21. “In the Transvaal under Boer rule citizenship was most certainly a matter of skin colour.”

    Interestingly, for quite a long period in the Cape Colony voting rights were based on property rights, with no colour requirement. The threshold was low too – £25 – meaning that there were hundreds of black African voters. The Cape AG was challenged on this by some white voters, and famously replied:

    “Why should you fear the exercise of franchise? This is a delicate question but it must be touched upon. I do not hesitate to say that I would rather meet the Hottentot at the hustings, voting for his representative, than in the wilds with his gun upon his shoulder. Is it not better to disarm them by granting them the privileges of the constitution? If you now blast all their hopes and tell them they shall not fight their battles constitutionally, do not you yourselves apply to them the stimulus to fight their battles unconstitutionally?”

  22. “If you’ve got a better description than mine of how land was managed before European settlement, please go ahead and tell us.”

    “Owned” by the regional tribal chief, handed out as patronage to local village chiefs, and then handed out further to be farmed by families. Basically feudal/patrilineal in concept. Daughters often brought land to a marriage as their lobola (dowry).

    The basic concept remained in the “Tribal Trust Lands” throughout the colonial era and continues in the modern “communal areas” in Zimbabwe.

  23. “Owned” by the regional tribal chief, handed out as patronage to local village chiefs, and then handed out further to be farmed by families. Basically feudal/patrilineal in concept. Daughters often brought land to a marriage as their lobola (dowry).

    Exactly.

  24. In England, the country of the farm-owners’ grandparents, the government says no, that would be quite wrong, the farm-owners’ right to the farm must be respected. But the government of England has never said anything about your great-grandparents’ right to the farm.

    I don’t know what to say about that situation. But the UK government funded £44 million of land purchase to be returned to blacks. Probably not enough for compensation (although comparing prices over long periods of history is hard), but it’s not saying nothing.
    (The British government also provided some half a billion pounds since independence).

  25. Hello Interested, I’m here now and I’m grateful to Tim J for the information. Now please quiet down while we have a civilized conversation.

  26. “As a child you learnt from your parents and grandparents that in your great-grandparents’ time the farmland around the village where you were born was owned and farmed by the whole village communally.”

    Incidentally, I’m not ragging on PaulB here. Because although “owned” isn’t really correct in the sentence above, “farmed” pretty much is, especially given 100 years of rose-tinted hindsight.

    Plus the actions of the Rhodesian settlers was pretty iniquitous, even given that Zimbabwe was extremely underpopulated in 1890 (total pop less than 1 million in 400,000 km2). The ‘European land’ was much the best grazing and arable land, and Africans were simply tipped out of it.

    Politically there was a genuine case for land reform, it’s just that the way it was carried out was just about the worst possible both in humanitarian and economic terms.

  27. @ sam
    Indeed some of the white settlers worshipped Mammon but many, I have been given to understand a large majority, did worship the same god as the Shona and Ndbele.

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