Zimbabwe Whites Finished -
Nation 'Like One Big
Departure Lounge'
The Sunday Mail - London

HARARE - We marked Heroes and Ancestors Day - or Gooks and Spooks, as we prefer to call it - in Harare yesterday. The city was a place of eerie calm but in the bush all hell was breaking loose, with women, children and old folk being evacuated hourly by light aircraft.
There is a 'fin de' everything, atmosphere among white people now, a sad, bitter resignation to the fact that our world is crumbling around us. It,s like going through a bereavement for the beloved country many of our families came to from England 100 years ago. It's an agonising process: anger, denial, bargaining - then maybe death.
The entire generation of whites know they are not wanted and have left or are leaving. The older generation is still desperate to live out what remains of their lives in what is left of British colonial style.
I saw a prosperous looking elderly couple in the supermarket last week looking at the prices of pet food. The woman said: "I don't think we can afford to keep the dogs anymore." They are lucky. Upcountry other pensioners have resorted to cooking with dog food - they cannot afford proper meat. Their fixed pensions have been almost wiped out over the past two years by an inflation rate which must be well over 150 per cent. With their children and grandchildren going or gone, many have been reduced to a kind of genteel poverty, trading in their beautiful old homes to huddle together in old age compounds.
The elderly are not the only vulnerable ones. A few days ago I saw a pretty white girl of about 17 touting for business at a flea pit hotel north of the city centre, in a mini skirt despite the cold winter wind. In a country where one in four people is thought to have AIDS, you have to be really desperate to become a prostitute.
There's simply no money here and certainly no security, not even in death.
Suburban street signs have been removed wholesale - we think they are being melted down and made into coffin handles. Graves have been opened, corpses dumped in the bush and coffins taken for resale, spruced up with aluminium from the signs. The other day I was trapped in a huge traffic jam - a rush of middle class black people applying for white land at the Ministry of Agriculture. Spectacles like that make even the bitter-enders talk about quitting.
The government's 'indigenisation' policy makes it more and more difficult for us to be employed instead of the millions of jobless black Zimbabweans. And without a very good job you can't afford a ticket to get out. There used to be a joke that if whites and middle-class blacks waited too long they would have to sell their plush mansions just to pay for the air fare to London. That joke is rapidly coming true as the value of the Zimbabwe dollar depreciates weekly. It's expected to reach 500 Zim dollars to the pound within a month, yet when the current government took over 21 years ago, one Zim dollar was worth £1.
The country feels like one big departure lounge in which we carry on our day to day activities while waiting for our flight. You go to the café but you only talk about who's gone, who's going and then you see someone you used to take coffee with who,s now sleeping on the pavement.
A chronically optimistic farmer friend told me recently he had always thought the rest of Africa could learn from Zimbabwe, but last week he changed his mind. "I was so naïve," he said. "to think that 50,000 whites could really make a difference and hold out against the tidal wave of chaos that is engulfing the rest of this continent." An opposition party supporter, he revealed that what really depressed him was the seeming indifference of most black Zimbabweans to what was happening to the whites.
Mobs of veterans - the catch-all name for Mugabe thugs - and party supporters have been surrounding farms, building road blocks and forcing farmers to flee in what is seen as the start of campaigning for the presidential election next year.
As I flew over the bush I watched crowds of people looting from the abandoned farmhouses, taking away white families possessions on their heads, donkey carts and on 'liberated' farm vehicles, some of which they immediately crashed.
At one farm in the Doma area I saw looters load bags of fertiliser from a smashed open warehouse on to a donkey cart. At another I saw beds, tables, cupboards and other bits of furniture scattered over the lawn and thrown into the swimming pool. I spotted caches of stolen goods in the bush around the farms. One farmer told me many workers had been forced at gunpoint to plunder their employers property but some loyal ones were hiding valuable stuff such as computers so they could return it later when law and order was restored. The farmer said that if that happened he would never miss another church service again.
Despite all this, Jack Straw, the UK'S new Foreign Secretary, has done nothing to help whites in what was for so many years a British colony, and in which so many of the white tribe still hold British passports.
The slaughter and robbery might seem random but it is not. There is a brutal logic at work. The government knows if it can drive the whites out of Zimbabwe, the rest of the world, and particularly the Western media, will lose interest and then it will be able to deal with its political opposition in no uncertain terms.
If that happens, there will be a descent into poverty and terror from which Zimbabwe, a once civilised and sophisticated nation, may never emerge.

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