Zimbabweans And South
Africans Suffering Similar Horrors
From Fred Rundle

I am forwarding herewith an email from Zimbabwean farmer Cathy Buckle, author of book "African Tears" (see: click on Zimbabwe page), who writes the following in her weekly update about the situation in Zimbabwe:
She reports contents of a torture report released by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum and about the desperate condition in which Zimbabwe now finds itself. As she describes it: "The 'war veterans. who are still beating, burning, raping and torturing Zimbabweans have led us to the edge of starvation."
Torture By Fire
This week's diary, which Cathy Buckle (who with her entire family once had been an ardent supporter of Mugabe's freedom struggle, but now is in hiding in Harare after publishing her book), distributes to friends as well as to the Censorbugbear web publication each week, and is headlined: "Burning plastic".
"Burning plastic" is one of the torture practices described by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum as being carried out by the Mugabe regime's stooges -- namely to wrap their victims in plastic and torturing them by setting fire to the plastic, or dripping burning plastic on them.
Coincidentially, this "burning plastic torture" just happens to also be one of the most prevalent torture practices most frequently seen among the more than 6,000 attacks against commercial farmers in neighbouring South Africa during the ANC regime's rule.
Many of the victims of these South African attacks had also been tortured by fire: by burning them with electric appliance, by a branding iron or with hot ashes, but most especially by wrapping them in plastic bags and setting fire to these.
The latest South African victim of such a "burning torture" had been recorded by the police only last weekend during the attack on the Le Grange farm in South Africa, where one of the three female victims (the other had been a four-year-old girl) had been tortured with a burning iron. In fact the victim, who survived her ordeal, even displayed such torture marks in the news photograph taken with her little four-year-old granddaughter on the site. (Click on the front page link to "pictures of farm murders") to see the picture, published in "Beeld" newspaper, of Mrs Le Grange and her grandchild.).
Of course the South African office of the UN Human Rights Commission, when confronted with the torture of this little four-year-old farm girl this week in an email from Gerhard Erasmus, a South African living in Bern, Switserland (who can confirm this: tel (41) 1865-4523), replied in their email to him that he should:
(a) learn how to spell (b) stop whinging and (c) that YOU PEOPLE HAVE HAD IT GOOD FOR TOO LONG."
The breathtaking callousness of such a reply, -- especially coming from by email sent by the UN's Human Rights Commission in Pretoria -- really brings home the reality that no Afrikaners can expect any mercy in either South Africa nor Zimbabwe.
May I point out that close to 4-million Afrikaners still live in three Southern African countries, namely Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa -- and that they as an ethnic minority are clearly greatly endangered by the possibility of an ethnic cleansing campaign. In fact one of their own parliamentary leaders, Dr Pieter Mulder of the Freedom Party, sounded this warning two weeks ago when he handed a petition to the UN's Human Rights Commissioner in Pretoria. The same office which a week later sent that email to Mr. Erasmus, that's right, the one which said that he should stop whinging and that concluded with: "You people have had it good for too long".
The fact that Afrikaners' human rights are being constantly infringed upon throughout the Southern African region, is is fact is being underlined by the unfortunate Zimbabwean farmer Philip Bezuidenhout -- who was accused by the Mugabe regime of murdering a farm invader on his farm, whose entire family was targetted by Mugabe's thugs, and who has protested in the news media that the killed man -- (a 31-year-old accountant with a home in Harare who had nevertheless staked out a claim as a "poor landless war veteran"on Bezuidenhout's farm Tara) -- had been the victim of a highly unfortunate traffic accident, that he had never intended to run him down, but had simply not seen him because his vision had been blocked by a large fuel truck.
Bezuidenhout -- a direct descendant of the large group of voortrekker-Boer families who had arrived in that region with the Bezuidenhout Trek of 1842-46 -- is still sitting in jail three weeks later. He has not been granted even the right to ask for bail; his lawyer was banned by police from seeing him during his brief court remand, and Bezuidenhout was being dragged into the courtroom in heavy chains and handcuffs. Clearly, such accused Afrikaners have no human rights in any African country today.
Burning Torture - The Necklace
Of course the most famous form of "burning torture" was thought up during the South African struggle -- and this resulted in the most horrendously painful death, namely the torture made so infamous worldwide by Winnie Mandela's "burning matches and tyres" statement which glorified this terrible practice, namely the "necklace" torture death. This was the favoured form of torture for its perceived political enemies chosen by the African National Congress during their freedom struggle.
This torture was specifically used against perceived ANC "sell-outs" or "police stooges", unfortunate victims who were referred to by the ANC as "impimpi". (pimps, sellouts).
The "necklace" was a outer car tyre, placed about the victim's neck, filled with petrol and set alight. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission recorded that a great many of these atrocities had been committed by ANC "cadres" during the "struggle" -- but in fact reports of deaths through necklacing are still found in modern South African police records today, mostly the victims were perceived as "witches" who had somehow "bewitched" people.
This practice of burning "witches" is however an old African tradition, also frequently used by African chiefs to rid themselves of their political opponents: this practice was already placed on the history record back in 1854 in a book about his first-hand experiences with the African slave trade by sea Captain Theodore Canot, a mulatto who traded gold, ivory and slaves on the coast of Guinea during most of his spotted career.
He wrote the book in 1854 and described this practice of seeing the burning of "witches" in great detail -- his description was hauntingly similar to "necklacing" today: the accused witches had large circles of thickly pleated grass placed about their necks, which "grass necklaces" were then set alight. Canot also noted that witchcraft was often used by all the African tribal chiefs along the West Coast of Africa to sell off their own kinfolk, often people who owed them tributes, and whose own tribal chiefs traded them to Arabian slavetraders as so-called "quaffirs" (the Arab word for unbelievers: people who did not practice the Islamic faith). Selling accused witches into slavery was therefore considered more humane than the usual alternative.
I just thought it prudent to place it on record that this time-honoured African practice of "torturing enemies by fire" is still being kept alive throughout Southern Africa even today, twenty years after the end of Zimbabwe's struggle for independence, and ten years after the end of South Africa's struggle for independence.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights forum described it being used by the Mugabe regime for torturing political opponents -- and in South Africa the police often record this practice as being carried out by those truly mysterious attackers against commercial farm families. The Afrikaner farmers especially, often are tortured by fire for hours before they are killed by their attackers. However, the South African regime still insists that these farm attacks merely have "robbery" as motives.
Following Is Cathy's Buckle's most recent email:
From I. Buckle 8-4-1
Dear family and friends,
I sat up until a little before midnight last night reading the 46 page document just released by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum and this morning I am still in deep shock.
In a tip of the iceberg report, the ZHR Forum gives details of human rights abuses committed in Zimbabwe just prior to last years election. It gives personal statements, names, places and the most horrific details of torture, murder and rape. It tells of torture centres and re-education camps, of locked rooms with barred windows. It names both the victims and the perpetrators and many of the latter are men now sitting in our Paliament.
As I sit here on this beautiful spring morning in Zimbabwe, I cannot believe the horrors that have gone on, and are still going on in the name of land re-distribution. The 77 cases reported in the document are not of whites or of farmers but of the ordinary men and women of Zimbabwe who have dared to stand up for their belief in democracy, who have dared to suggest that they no longer want to be ruled by a one party state. Please do not allow your children to read this one excerpt below, please do bring it to the attention of your parliamentarian.
"...3rd June 2000... They made us lie down. They took ropes and tied our hands and legs and they started assaulting us. They were beating us with sjamboks. At around 7.00pm, they took us to their base at Texas farm. They made a fire and began assaulting us using fire. First it was my friend BM. They tied plastic around his hands and legs and then lit it. Next it was my turn. They beat me first. Then they used all the same tactics, wrapping my legs, hands and private parts and lighting the plastics. They also lit some plastic and then dropped it on us as it melted. They were taking hot ashes and spreading them on my body. ... I have burns all over my back, front, buttocks, private parts, thighs and legs ..." This is just one statement from 46 pages. Others tell of horrific sexual abuses, of the use of electricity and water, of whips and batons, bicycle chains and iron bars used to inflict beatings on people suspected of not supporting the ruling party.
These abominations must be exposed, the perpetrators must be brought to justice. The countries still giving money to Zimbabwe must STOP now because the pennies you drop into a collection box are being used by our government for violence and torture and not for land redistribution. The people committing these crimes are not in goals, they are still out there, still being paid to kill and maim us.
I know that if you are white and speak out you are called a racist and if you are from outside Africa you are called a colonialist. We know different though. These abominations are being committed by black people against black, white, yellow and brown people. If we do not find a way of exposing these horrors now, thousands and thousands more people will be raped, burned, tortured and murdered in the next few months as we stagger towards elections again.
This week particularly I have questioned my place and my role in this country. I had a couple of frightening encounters with our local police, police who are not policemen at all but war veterans who wear the uniforms and sit at the desks of the officials over whom they have complete control. My determination has wavered but then I turn in my chair and look at the collage of family photos that sits on my wall. My mother, father and stepfather all fought for freedom and democracy in Zimbabwe twenty years ago. They gave me these feelings of patriotism, these beliefs in right and wrong, they taught me to stand up for what is right.
As I write three children are lying on the carpet watching cartoons, one is white, two are black. It starts there, racial harmony, goodness and honesty, morals and principles all start there. They do not notice that their skins have different hues, they are children together and every Zimbabwean owes it to them to fight this evil. If you are an ex-Zimbabwean in another country now, you, too, owe it to these children, our future parliamentarians to speak out. If you are reading this from the comfort of your walled and gated Harare home you too must open your eyes, you too must read these 46 pages of the hell that has engulfed us.
The 'war veterans' who are still beating, burning, raping and torturing Zimbabweans have led us to the edge of starvation. This week the Commercial Farmers Union held its annual congress and told us the cold hard facts of the situation we are now looking at thanks to the politicians who are so desperate to stay in power. The farmers have been as powerless as the people who had burning plastic draped around their testicles.
I quote from Tim Henwood's address: "...maize production was set to drop to less than half of the previous crop. ...the shrinkage in cotton production has declined from 400 thousand to 282 thousand tonnes. .. the coffee industry has seriously declined...tobacco production was down by 15 to 20%...the wheat crop yield was expected to be 250 thousand tonnes, lower than the required 550 thousand tonnes... the beef industry is facing a serious challenge as farmers liquidate their herds... 160 out of 225 dairy farms have been listed for compulsory acquisition... the wildlife industry continues to be raped......"
What the ruling party have called a peaceful demonstration in the name of land re-distribution will leave us with serious shortages of dairy produce, bread and maize, fruit and coffee, meat and milk. War veterans have removed almost all our means of earning freign currency as they have swept over farms that grow all our export crops - tobacco and flowers, game and safaris. This week the FAO announced the top 3 African countires facing starvation in 2001/2, they were Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe.
The ravages in Zimbabwe have affected us all, rich and poor, black and white, educated and illiterate. In one way or another we have all had burning plastic dripped onto our backs. As Zimbabweans we are completely powerless and helpless. The ruling party have infiltrated the police and the army, the civil service and the municipalities. We will not survive this without outside intervention. I know that YOU can help. With much love and thanks as always,


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