Radio Derb On Rhodesia

This weekend's Radio Derb is on the air, available as a podcast on iTunes, playable onscreen at Taki's Magazine, or readable in transcript form here.

One segment is built around some news items from Zimbabwe. From which:

The subject here is Zimbabwe, which when I was growing up in England was one part of the grandly-named Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, a British colony with a degree of self-government. The Prime Minister of the thing was a genial fellow named Roy Welensky.

Well, the Federation fell apart in the early 1960s. Nyasaland became Malawi, Northern Rhodesia became Zambia, and Welensky retired to Southern Rhodesia.

Like most of these white British or South African colonial politicians in southern Africa, Welensky liked the local blacks and was sympathetic to their aspirations, but didn't think they were capable of governing themselves. In fact Welensky was famous for saying the following thing: "If you don't like black people, don't come and live in Africa."

Ian Smith, who became Prime Minister of independent Rhodesia in 1965, was of the same mind. He saw events in newly-independent black African countries like Ghana, independent 1957, and Nigeria, independent 1960, as confirming his opinions.

Smith had blacks in his parliament and administration and worked with them; but property and educational qualifications for suffrage kept blacks a minority of the electorate, though they were 95 percent of the population.

Smith's opinion, like Welensky's, was that if blacks took over the government the national economy would be wrecked and the whites would be turned on and driven out. This was, of course, considered by British and international elites to be a very disgraceful opinion. They refused all help or recognition to Smith's Rhodesia and imposed sanctions against the country.

The Soviets and black African countries fomented and armed a rebellion among Rhodesia's black population and a nasty little guerilla war started up, in which the tribes sometimes forgot they were supposed to be fighting the white man and turned their guns on each other.

These handicaps wore down the Smith government. At last, in 1980, majority rule was established and the blacks took over under Robert Mugabe, still in power today. In the following years the economy was wrecked and whites were turned on and driven out, exactly as Welensky and Smith had foretold.

They were perfectly right in their estimate of the blacks, though of course their opinion is still considered disgraceful.

So where are we now? Well, here are a couple of recent news stories from Rhodesia ? sorry, Zimbabwe.

News story one from Agence France-Presse, January 29th, quote:

"After paying public workers' salaries last week, the balance in Zimbabwe's government public account stood at just $217, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said Tuesday.

'Last week when we paid civil servants there was $217 (left) in government coffers,' Biti told journalists in the capital Harare, claiming some of them had healthier bank balances than the state."

News story two from the BBC News website, February 7th, quote:

"Zimbabwe's education minister has deplored the fact that nearly 82 percent of students have failed their basic school leavers' exams . . .

"But David Coltart told the BBC this was an improvement on 2009, when only 14 percent passed . . .

"Zimbabwe used to have one of the best education systems in Africa.

"The results reflect the political and economic decline the country has witnessed over the past decade, correspondents say."

Roy Welensky died in 1991 in England. Ian Smith died in 2007 in South Africa. I suppose most right-thinking people today would consider them to be hate-filled racists. Scanning through their biographies on the internet, I don't see anything like that. The worst you can say about their attitudes to black Africans is that they were paternalistic.

Welensky and Smith were decent men who did their best for the people they governed. I honor their memory. They were replaced by a monster, who ran campaigns of race hatred, wallowed in gross corruption, sold his nation's assets to the communist Chinese, and reduced his people to beggary.

I hope some future human beings, living in a saner time than ours, will be able to say honestly, with voices louder than mine, who were the heroes, who the villains in this sad story.