Starving a Nation

The following is a guest post written by Dean da Silva, a Portuguese-American Army Veteran. 

I am Portuguese, my father was born in the former Portuguese Empire colony of Mozambique. He lived there during the twilight of the colonial era. He was fortunate enough to be evacuated in time by the Portuguese government during the communist revolution for independence. Some of my cousins, however, were not so fortunate and had to flee through South Africa. Had there not been a sanctuary so close to them in South Africa, I cannot say with any degree of certainty what would have happened to them. Nevertheless, I shall always have gratitude for the South African people. Specifically, the Boers, who at that time were in power.

To most, Zimbabwe is simply another African country. However, there is a shocking parallel between what happened there what is happening now in South Africa. When he took control of the country, Robert Mugabe made it plain that he was not a fan of the white farmers that stayed behind after the independence of Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) from the British. He was adamant about them leaving Zimbabwe, having famously stated:

“The white man is not indigenous to Africa. Africa is for Africans, Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans.”

On its face, that is a fair statement. However, in the process of chasing off white farmers, he effectively doomed his country to a future of famine and economic destitution. The farmers there had been the basis for a great deal of economic prosperity, to the point that Zimbabwe was known as the “Bread Basket of Africa”. Following this a period of hyper-inflation occurred, famously causing the “trillion-dollar” bank notes of Zimbabwe which are now viewed in a comical fashion. But at the time, it was far less comical as famine and death became prevalent.

What was once a powerful, self-sustaining, and thriving economy in Africa has been reduced in the last 18 years to a shell of its former self. The country has to request food aid, foreign assistance, and the Zimbabwean dollar has effectively been eliminated as a valid currency. Presently, the new president of the country is left picking up the pieces in order to mend the remnants of the great nation destroyed by Mugabe. 

Which brings us to South Africa. Like clockwork, the same actions are being taken against white farmers. There is a proposal to confiscate the land from them which will effectively drive whites from the farms there as well. However, unlike Zimbabwe, this time, the white farmers in South Africa have no other country to run to like the British whites in Zimbabwe did. Like Americans are to America, the homeland of the Boers now is South Africa. 

Since Nelson Mandela took power in South Africa, there have been a string of attacks against white farmers there known as “plaasmoorde,” or quite literally, farm killings. The problem has been further amplified in recent years by the rise of a politician named Julius Malema. Malema has proposed the appropriation of white-owned land in South Africa, claiming that it’s critical to the dignity of black Africans that the land they are native to is owned by them. The same sort of disaster which has unfolded in Zimbabwe is also unfolding in South Africa, only this time, they have the past to reference. In the arrogant belief that their circumstances are somehow different than Zimbabwe’s, they are voting in August 2018 to legalize this forcible seizure of land from the whites in South Africa. 

Why would any nation willingly put itself on a trajectory of failure? A trajectory already proven awful in Zimbabwe. Affirmative action policies are beginning to run rampant in South Africa. The general ineffectiveness of law enforcement, corruption, as well as many other factors have destroyed the South African vision of a successful post-apartheid state. Half of the Boers have since left South Africa, and with the promise of land seizure in the future, the outcome looks more and more bleak every day. But when it does happen, and the Boers either leave or are killed, are we Americans to take pity upon the black South Africans who dug their own graves in the muds of social justice? Are we to overlook the fact that South Africa’s failure was due to hatred and resentment of a people generations removed from the European colonials?

These conflicts oceans away have implications for us in the US. Echoes of what could become are warnings to us as deep wounds are reopened, spilling forth resentment and guttoral calls for social justice and affirmative action.  Race and politics do not mix. Race and law do not mix. When race and law become intertangled with in one another, the only result is resentment. Every law that is passed with race in mind is another stepping stone down a very divisive path. One that no nation should pursue.

The move for social justice will reap more suffering than crops, and is sure to provide a bounty for the future, not of prosperity, but of famine.

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