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Friday, February 18, 2011

From Ben Freeth

This was a piece I wrote that was published in the Beeld last week and gives a bit of a flavor of where we are in Zimbabwe at the moment. All the best
Ben Freeth
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Media 24 article - January 2011
Last week I took a drive to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, from Harare.

At a police road block in our desperately dishevelled home town of Chegutu, I asked whether Chief Inspector Manika had come back from his tour as a peace keeper with the United Nations. "He is coming soon" the Constable said. I winced but said nothing. I knew how through the selective application of repressive laws he had caused so much suffering; and also ensured none of the perpetrators of the violence against us and our workers and against the MDC members in the last election had ever been brought to justice.

I went through the town, past the orange and mango vendors selling their fruit from the farms we had been run off, and stopped at David Whiteheads, the jewel of the once thriving cotton manufacturing industry. There was no electricity but through the twilight of the cavernous factory I could make out the silent looms. The place was deserted. Our voices echoed eerily in the emptiness where once 2000 workers made the place hum.

I got back in the car and drove on stopping again at Kadoma Spinners and Weavers. I spoke to one of the workers. "We can just make nappies at the moment," he said. "That's all the generators can cope with. Most of the time we are just seated because there is no ZESA."

I borrowed some fuel off a white farmer, Doug Alexander, because none of the fuel stations had any. He had been booted off first one farm and then eventually off the next and was now in town going out to try to farm odd little patches on various black owned properties. His beard had gone much whiter since I last saw him.

The fuel got me to Gweru. All along the sides of the roads, beyond the broken fences, there were patches of subsistence maize which I looked at sadly. I knew they were almost all being grown on properties that had never been paid for. I spoke to a few white farmers in Gweru. I could see they were weary. Sid Shaw had had Onverwacht until Welshman Ncube, now the new leader of the smaller MDC faction, had torn it from him. "They're no better than ZANU PF" said another farmer. One of the farmers present was Anne
Lourens, mother of a school friend of my wife's. She said sadly: "I am tired." My heart went out to her. "I know how you feel," I said, "we're all tired." I knew though, that for her it wasn't just the weathering as a
widow of the last 11 years of farm invasions that had made her tired.

Before that, during Gukuruhundi, her husband had been murdered and she had had to bring up a young family all on her own. It was a whole quarter of a century of struggling to survive.

In Bulawayo, driving around the industrial area was a bit like driving through a ghost town. There were no cars on the road and the few people I saw did not seem to have a purpose at all. They were just loitering. With the national un-employment rate at 95 percent I suppose it wasn't surprising.

The Wall Street Journal in conjunction with the Heritage Foundation has just ranked Zimbabwe 178th out of 179 in their index of economic freedoms which measures the freedoms to invest, work and produce. The formation of the Inclusive Government has done nothing fundamental to change our status: none of the notoriously oppressive legislation has been repealed; the police, army and justice system remains malevolently partisan; the human rights commission after 2 years is still dormant; the only public broadcaster still remains entirely controlled by ZANU PF. In fact there is non compliance with the GPA on almost every issue relating to giving people the freedoms that were guaranteed by SADC and the AU. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights [ZLHR] have charged that "SADC has encouraged ...impunity and continued non compliance with its own dead lines and benchmarks."

Back in Harare though it is a different world - a completely different country. Everything seems to be humming. The supermarkets are full. The roads are busy. The MDC Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, is predicting a 9.3 percent GDP growth rate and even the IMF said it would be 4.5 percent for 2011. It seemed impossible coming from where we had come from as refugees off the farms just beyond the city boarders.

I wondered what the optimism from Tendai Biti and the IMF was all about; but I suppose economic growth is not too hard a thing to achieve in a time when many of the world mineral prices are higher than they have ever been; and after a decade where the economy was in virtual freefall it doesn't take too much to bounce back some of the way.

Professor John Mukombe, a political analyst, has dubbed this year "the year that the dictator will, in one way or other, have no choice but to go."

Most of us don't dare believe him because we have heard it all before and had our hopes dashed so many times.

Everyone is nervous. Even the people in the bubble of Harare I talk too are worried about 2011. Mugabe is talking elections and all over the country there are reports of ZANU PF gearing for them. At the road blocks there are now often military police as well as the usual police officers. Soldiers have been moving around in the towns. Threats of violence are all over the place. The fear of what happened in the 2008 elections is still fresh.
According to ZLHR "there has been no progress on reform of laws that directly or indirectly facilitate free and fair elections."

White and foreign businessmen are jittery. The probability that the indigenisation legislation is going to be used to reward the Party stalwarts in the campaign seems strong. Already they are testing the waters. At lake Chivero, the district chairman of the war veterans for Zvimba, Aaron Mazvi, took over all the boating clubs and other tourist properties along the lake shore last week. Residents were locked in and visitors locked out. Ispoke to one American diplomatic couple who had gone to Larvon Bird gardens in their CD plated car for the weekend: "They just turned us away at the gate. We pleaded with them but they didn't allow us in." JOMIC to its credit did eventually intervene, but nobody was arrested or charged with any crimes.

But it's the diamonds that many think have sealed it. Reported as the biggest diamond field by far ever found anywhere in the world and out of bounds, even to the parliamentary committee, they are surrounded by a web of intrigue. Where ever alluvial diamonds have been found in Africa they have bought guns and caused blood shed. Speculation abounds regarding Chinese involvement. Over the last couple of months a massive, brand new Chinese military barracks has sprung up on the Mazowe road. It's never been discussed in parliament or the senate or cabinet; but someone must have authorised it. There must be substantial interests to warrant setting it up.

For us though, we are the little people and we have to either be consummate optimists, or perhaps, just people that have resigned ourselves to try to somehow survive whatever the future brings.

49 comments:

  1. Ben, God bless you and your family. I am a Brit - also an American citizen, and have just watched the documentary "Mugabe and the White African".

    I myself am black. My mother white, was married to a jamaican immigrant. I married a white man who had full custody of his white children. We went on to have 2 children of our own. One black the other white He lived in With Africa under apartheid.

    I've been very lucky in my life, I haven't experienced racial discrimination. But what you have endured goes beyond racism,
    Human rights. The right to exist. The right to work and the just to be, in a land which is your home.

    God bless Ben. Yor children have a father and grandfather whom they can be very proud of.

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  2. Ben. I have just watched Mugabe and The White African, and consquently tracked your progress and reports on the internet. the film, your story and your journey are inspirationa. keep up the hope, keep up the fight.
    John. Portsmouth, UK

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  3. Ben, You remind me of Mahatma Gandhi, mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr. and other peace protestors for the sake of other people's lives.... I saw the documentary about your farm last night and I am speechless. My prayers with you and your family. I hope that your parents, your in-laws, wife and the kids are doing well.
    You are amazing, and doing the right thing....

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  4. I have just finished watching the documentary and was moved to tears on more than one occasion. Brave doesn't begin to describe you and your family. I am lost for words. Mugabe is an evil dictator and I hope he meets a painful end, sooner rather than later.

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  5. It is beyond comperehension that the world allows Mugabe to wreak his madness on his own people but yet they spring into action in Lybia. I guess theres not enough oil in Zimbabwe to make it worth their while.
    I am watching the documentary as I write this and it fills me with so much anger watching what your family and workers have had to suffer. I have so much respect for your commitment and belief in your cause, I pray that the madness will end and you will be able to live your lives in peace.

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  6. Dearest Ben and Family,
    I am so desperately sad to hear of the passing of Mike. Only this very morning I watched the end of your dvd. I am in awe of your courage and determination. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family every day. God Bless you all and God Bless Africa

    Annie Wilson
    Denver, Colorado, USA

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  7. Hi Ben

    Myself and my girlfriend pass on our dearest wishes in this sad time with the passing of Mike in these past few days. May the grace of almighty god be upon his soul and may he rest in peace. We have followed your family’s story and that of the ongoing land seizures since we first saw the the film in London and continue to do so. We hope and pray that your struggle and will prevail. Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika

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  8. Also, I wanted to know what happened to the your children on the night that you, Mike and your mother-in-law were abducted? What has happened since. I am sorry for the loss of your father-in-law, I am sorry for the entire grand mess. Mugabe will get his, if not in this life, you can bet when he meets his maker. I pray for greater understanding and leaders of Zimbabway who will lead and honor and make all blacks proud, no mateer where we are int his world we are black connected to one another who suffered for generations through systems of apartheid carreid out in America, in the West Indies, and Africa. One day the regurgetaing of these horrific events will settle down and perhaps a kinder, gentler way of live will prevail. I hope in time for your family to return to your farm. I feel sadness for all involved, both blacks and whites. We must all strive for a better day.

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  9. I am in an interacial relationship and we both are American. My partner is white, norwegien and I am Afican-American. I watched the documentary, Mugabe and the White African, with some disspassion. The first thing I noticed was that the only ones talking in the film mostly were the whites, lamenting the loss of their lands under the regime of Mugabe. While your workers surrounded you, while you were talking, not one of them was "allowedd" to speak or even interviewed to ask what "their" thoughts were. We all know what happened with the stealing of black lands under the apartheid system and how blacks were treated. I also noticed the way the blacks who worked on your farm were dressed, as opposed to how you and your family lived. I also noticed that you kept saying how we must love and work and respect each other, true, but all of those years, did that really come into play, into reality. I had no real way to assess this as not blacks really spoke during the course of the film. What happened to your family was horrific. I am not a fan of bullies and do respect the rule of law. I have to say I was quite torn with watching the film. I think for me being black and understanding life under the apartheid system when Zimbaway was Rhodesia and how life was for blacks, when the land was stolen from them, where was the sympathy for how blacks were treated? I did not hear you admit that during the course of the film. It was as if you were patently ignoring the past, saying that it didn't really matter. What mattered now was that whites were losing their land, land that belonged to blacks before whitel colonizaion. Why is it wrong now, but right then? If that had been addressed and acknowledged, I think I wouldn't be so torn. Nobody wins in this situation. How do you make it work. Were your workers educated? How much money were the workers paid? Why did they dress in rags. I didn't see any of the workers driving cars, as your family did, had several from what I could see. What was life like for the workers on your farm? I would have wanted to see more of that.

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  10. Hey Anonymous (African American Female Poster Above) --
    It must have been nice watching that DVD from the comfort of your own home. But I digress.
    I would encourage you to take a class in logic - inductive vs. deductive. You leave a lot on the table when you take a limited set of data (such as what you saw in the DVD) and draw the conclusion that somehow Mike and Ben were not fair and just to their workers. Nothing they could have done in the past justifies what is happening today. Besides, ripping apart the economic fabric of Zimbabwe only rips apart the society. Did you ever stop to think that maybe the farm workers really did not want to be on camera, so they wouldn't be a victim of political attack? Those farm workers are wearing clothes to farm. Ben and Mike are wearing clothes to be on camera. Big difference. Americans (and I am one as well) like to sit and point fingers (generalization of course - not absolute assessment). We (unfortunately) have this absolute morality and lack the ability to empathize. Original poster - honestly, get over yourself dude. Those farm workers are doing the best they can - considering the options (starving vs. working), they were going to be okay. Not anymore. I hope that's really not what you're advocating. For living in such a bifurcated society in the States, we certainly like to look elsewhere to solve problems.
    - Another American

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  11. Northern EuropeanApril 20, 2011 at 6:57 AM

    Firstly, my sympathies to Mr. Freeth and his family at the loss of Mike. My admiration for your pursuance of justice and dignity in the face of barbarity - lovely blog too. Now, such puerile comments 'Another American'. It would make sense to watch the DVD where there's a facility, such as home. Anonymous' comments make perfect logical sense. The documentary made a portrayal, and Anonymous uses free speech to make judgements - perfectly valid ones. He asked [paraphrased] 'why weren't the workers thoughts expressed' - and here, both your arguments fail logic - if the workers had to be anonymous, then Ben would've protected their identities ; if they HAD had an interview, there would've been time to 'dress for camera'. Perhaps, just perhaps - the title is the giveaway in any case. I agree the authors of the film could've broadened the themes or perspectives covered, whcih is what Anon's really pointing at - broader than the title itself but that is the eye-catching title I suppose. I don't concur with your sweeping generalisations, based on Anonymous' comments.
    Just an opinion. From a northern European.

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  12. To anonymous black female - I hope your concern for Ben's workers continue to this day now that they have lost their jobs and been driven from their place of employment. I hope you take the time to mail your concerns to the Mugabe government. My guess is that since providing these people with a home and stable work isn't enough for you - they need to have cars purchased for them etc as well - your standards for Mugabe will indeed be high. especially since unemployment is at 95% and most people don't have food, let alone a car.

    What is sad is that because of people like you - mitigating and undermining the efforts of people with the courage to resist true evil, by misdirecting your attention to petty and insignificant complaints that seem to reflect your own small minded prejudice - Mugabe will be allowed continue to kill and oppress his own people - black and white. My guess is you are probably torn by moral-equivalence in how you process that as well.

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  13. Ben, so sad to hear of Mikes passing. There was a tribute to him in the paper The Age here in Melbourne Australia. I watched the documentary and am so moved. I am totally in awe of your family's faith in your G-d and wish you strength and support. Wishing prosperity and human rights to Zimbabwe. Love Carla, Melbourne, Australia

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  14. Ben, thank you, your wife, your families, and God for creating you all and your strength. I just watched your movie. My wife and I are praying for you. Be strong, God bless you.
    -from Austin, Texas, USA

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  15. jim james DenmarkJune 23, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    Like many I watched the documentary and cannot stop thinking about you and your family and how you find the strength to keep on fighting. You are the real heroes of the world and I know your faith will get you through these dark times. Thank you for sharing your life with me and one day this nightmare of Mugabe will be long in the past. How Mugabe can still be power and get away with his tryanny beggars belief in the 21st century.

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  16. After watching the film I am deeply moved. Your way of coping with injustice is extremely inspiring to me. I am reminded of injustice in a small scale in my country and how important it is that I and others do something about it. At least speak up. Your persistent figthing for justice no matter how corrupt the government acts is an overwhelming exploit. Good work! It it truly amazing what you have done. I also think of all the former workers at your farm. The example you have showed them that one shouldn´t give up, and that figthing for your rigths can be done in a respectful and civilized way.One day things will change in your country and then everybody needs some inspiration on how to change a chaotic and malfunctioning system. What you have done is so important to us all in order to create societies all over the world where every human being has got value.
    My deepest respect.
    Love Anita Pagh christiansen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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  17. Ben

    We just watched the documentary that moved both my husband and I to tears with your courage and utter belief to fight against all odds against the tyranny of such a man as mugabe, we are sorry for your loss and think you are an inspirational and incredibly determined man, as well as your wife and both your parents and mother in law

    Thank you for sharing your heart wrenching but amazing story,

    With all our respect and luck for the days ahead of you.
    Anon

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  18. Hello Ben, I have just listened to your interview on Hard Talk on the BBC on my radio here in Trinidad, West Indies. Your testimony as a Christian blessing those who have persecuted you and your family is amazing and inspiring. You have truly demonstated that you are different as a son of God. Human logic would dictate the "eye for an eye" and the "tooth for a tooth" revenge philosophy given Rhodesia/Zimbabwe's race relations and land history. Your lifestyle of resisting opression on the natural and spiritual planes and loving your 'enemies' despite deep seated enmity from both sides of the racial fence truly exemplify a better way that can only come from a Jesus led life.

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  19. Ben,

    I have just seen your BBC hardtalk interview on TV in Kinshasa. Living in the subregion for years now I do understand well why the reporter actualy could not really get some of the points that you've made. Unfortunately, to report the truth about this part of the world to people living in modern time Europe is an extremely difficult task - a lack of knowledge makes them confuse any critical command with racism, even if one is completely adverse to any such notion. To my knowledge Western expatriates and white Africans are actually among the least racist people one can find - exactely because of years of living peacefully within the region and among other Africans. I would not believe much of what I learned myself had I not witnessed it.

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  20. Ben, I just saw you on HARDtalk with Stephen Sackur.

    I am not particularly religious, but I find you truly inspiring.

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  21. I just saw the documentary as well and read the book by Cathy Buckle. I sympathize with both but also had the sense that we did not hear the black side of the story enough. Obviously the minority whites have had plenty of privileges over the past several decades in Africa..hence better education, better connections, stronger family backing hence making it a lot easier for the whites to have the money to buy the land. I can see why so many poor disenfranchised black people would be angry after decades (or centuries) of white minority rule.
    Lets face it..the whites stole the land from the blacks and have been very slow to give it back. Its not surprising that a less educated poorer majority black population would get fed up after decades of waiting to see real change. It seems that the white people in the documentary and cathy buckles book seem so surprised that no one rode to their rescue and they share a common insensitivity to how angry the majority black people were. Where were they in the 1980s and 1990s..were they helping black people get educated, get more power or were they happy with the status quo of exploiting cheap black labour.

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  22. Ben and his family are true heros.

    Mugabi is destroying the country. "The black majority" do not have a choice of ruler. They are forced to back Mugabi. He is taking away jobs from everyone regardless of color.

    Your arguement is the past justifies the present. What is wrong is wrong regardless of color.

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  23. Ben, I will keep your family in my prayers. I just saw the special on PBS and was horrified, unfortunately things like this happen all over the world today. May your family be blessed always.

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  24. I just watched the documentry, and I am both sad and proud for your family and what you have endured. Your faith and courage is something seldom seen in this day and age. What a remarkable man Mike was. May God bless your family.

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  25. Farming is one profession that as a midwesterner, I fiercly admire.
    How brave you all have been. And always, God in your view. May His eyes shine down upon you and grant you peace. Jeanette

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  26. Ben, you are truly a hero. Now those poor disenfranchised Zimbabwean thieves/murderers can add a few hundred thousand more unemployed farm workers to their numbers. That's a really smart way to run a country. For those of you who want to know where Ben was when Apartheid was in full swing, I guess he was helping black Zimbabweans feed their families. God help our world.

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  27. Dear Ben and family,

    Just finished watching your documentary. The whole time, my husband and I didn't stop thinking that there still some brave men around. You, your father in law (rest in peace) and the rest of your family (including your parents in Kent) showed the world how to fight for your right. You stood up against a devilish system and you won, not the war but such an important battle. Your name and your father in law's will be in history for sure. We lived in Africa for 3 years, I loved it but couldn't handle the corruption/injustice anymore. I really DO ADMIRE YOU and your family.
    Words are not enough to express my admiration and respect in what you are doing. I wish you all courage, health and happiness for the future, by the way happiness is already with you (you have a very deep loving family). I truly believe in Karma and life is like a wheel, one day it'll be your turn who will be laughing.
    All the best.

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  28. Ben
    I am a US citizen now - but was raised in Bulawayo and came to the US as an early teen. I watched the PBS special two days ago and wept. You are a great man - a great man of God - Your life is a witness to sacrificial love. I am inspired by your tenacity and vision. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your wonderful family.

    Christopher - Central US

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  29. Ben: I just watched POV and am sitting here in tears of anger, sadness and frustration. I know you are a man of God but I would love to see that fascist nigger Mugabe and all his supporters tortured and murdered for their sins. I am NOT a racist but there is no other name for that piece of garbage. It is hard to imagine what one would do in your situation but I have to say that all your guns should have come off the rack early on and you and your men should have killed as many of them as possible and kept killing them as they came until the end. Six million of my people were killed in the Holocaust and not enough of them struck back. An eye for an eye.

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  30. Dear Mr. Freeth,
    I am going to try to make this concise as I could go on and on. I saw the documentary for the first time in the wee hours of the morning having woken up sleepless, and was not able to tear away from it. I have to say that in one scene between you and one of the farm workers in conversation, I saw one of the most beautiful examples of pure love and friendship I've ever witnessed. It simply was shining from both of your faces, eyes and smiles. One of the realest things I've ever seen. You and your father in law truly showed what bravery, faith, and hope is all about. May the Lord rest his soul, and I truly pray that your entire family will be somehow blessed after these trials as well as the country that you love. Jennifer, US

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  31. Dear Ben,
    I also just finished watching the documentary 10 minutes ago. I am sorry to hear of Mikes passing and my prayers are with the Campbell/Freeth family. As an American citizen I deeply shameful of how the United States has allowed Robert Mugabe to commit crimes against humanity without any repercussions. I hope every American watches the documentary and justice will win for the future of Zimbabwe.

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  32. Dear Ben and Family.
    I too just watched the Documentary on PBS. I am so sorry for your family's loss of your father in law. I was also saddened to hear of the loss of your family's home and property. All I can think to say is keep your faith in GOD. We must all believe that good will eventually triumph over evil.

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  33. Dear Ben and family...Just watched the documentary on PBS this evening. My thoughts are with you and your family, and will continue to be. I look forward to reading your postings in the future, and will certainly stay more aware of how the future unfolds for your beautiful country.
    Blessings and peace...Dianne, Santa Fe, New Mexico,US

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  34. Dearest Ben, Laura and family...I saw the documentary today. I was seriously moved. I called all of my friends and family all over the USA to watch. I am West Indian American. My grandparents left Grenada,BWI to live in NYC-USA, in search of a dream and a future for the next generation. I am the next generation and happy that the decision was made. Your stance is brave, noble, necessary and admirable. But human life is too short and precious. You have gained support and educated the world. Now make a life for your wife and children to enjoy somewhere else. Somewhere you can freely speak out, flourish and survive. Somewhere with hope and a better future for your children. The present regime will die. But not soon enough. You are citizens of the world. Not just Zimbabwe. Go survive in safety. And speak out in safe haven for your family's sake. Your sacrifices have already been beyond comprehension. Now move your family to safety. In safety your can gather more support of every kind. Let your children survive to see a better world that they will inherit and make for themselves. Laura lost her father to this regime. Don't let your children loose you to it also. This is love I send to you. You have lived the 23rd Psalm over and over again. Now it's time for green pastures and still waters for your family. Amen.Los Angeles, California-USA

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  35. I visited South Africa,Zambia and Botswana this spring. In Zambia, we met a white woman who told us of the violent confiscation of her and her husband's very productive farm by Mugabe's thugs some years ago. She also is a White African. She related with sadness how hard they had worked for 20 years to make that farm productive, and one day received a letter stating they had 10 days to get off and how now it lays in shambles -- not productive at all since it now belongs to Mugabe cronies who haven't the slightest knowledge of farming and who have no intention of ever doing anything with the farm except to gloat. She is very sad to see her native country in such distress; she now lives in Zambia as a productive citizen there. They had no choice except to be killed, she says, and had to start over with nothing.

    I saw the POV documentary last night; a harrowing, nightmarish tale of unspeakable violence on the part of Mugabe and his thugs and of incredible bravery and love by Mike, Ben and their families. It is truly unconsionable that Mugabe and his thugs have prevailed in this manner for years in plain sight of all the world! The unspeakable evil, cronyism and corruption to say nothing of the insanity has been seen before a number of times (most recently Germany & Yugoslavia) and succeeds best when ignored at length by people who recognize justice no matter the color. As for the black American woman who complains in this blog that no one felt sorry for Zimbabweans when their land was taken from them, she is just wrong. But to constantly harp on past injustices as so many Americans love to do simply poisons the well. We have all suffered injustices (certainly not as hideous as Ben and his family) in ways small and large,and the answer is to address them and then "get over it". Constantly dwelling on them with the constant "large chip on the shoulder" doesn't do anyone any good. "Those who have done evil to others must sincerely apologize for it and those to whom evil has been done need to sincerely forgive them." (A paraphrase from N. Mandela). Without both of these events occurring in sincerity and finality, we will never make any progress on justice in our societies and will continue with these kinds of hideous events which are much more common in this world and in this country (US) than many of us would like to think.

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  36. Ben - heard your BBC interview - SO refreshing.

    May God bless you and your family as you serve Him in Zim or elsewhere!

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  37. Africa; the largest continent in this world, with massive mineral wealth etc....and yet the poorest,in more ways than one,continent on this planet...black Americans at the bottom of every ladder(generally speaking of course)in the US of A...it's about time blacks/Africans take responsibility for their own actions, and/or lack of!...good luck with the Chinese(in particular)further 'raping' your continent and it's wealth...they will just do it more subtly, knowing that bribery and corruption is very difficult for an African(in power that is) to ignore

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  38. Dear Ben,

    Your courage and faith are inspirational, and testimony to the power of faith which provides even the power to forgive.
    Please strongly consider the advice to leave Zimbabwe for your children's sake, as eloquently expressed by the Californian born in Grenada!! It is truly time for green pastures and still waters for your children and wife, and you can educate the world about this tyrant better from a free country. Return later.
    Finally, let us not forget that Mugabe came to power largely because Jimmy Carter ordered a second election in Zimbabwe in the late 70's, after Mugabe lost the first election to a black US trained Methodist minister named Abel Muzorewa. Jimmy refused to certify the election and would have continued US sanctions against Zimbabwe.
    Jimmy subsequently won a Nobel Peace Prize. How ironic!!

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  39. Dear Ben,
    My father is from Zim and my grandmother still resides near Lake Kyle. She too refuses to leave Zim as that is her home and always will be. I am moved by your courage and relentless efforts to rid Zim of that baboon. It is long past due that the world sees what really goes on in Zim. I will truly rejoice the day Mugabe no longer is on this earth. And may God have no mercy on his soul. Best wishes to you and your family.
    Regards
    Ryan Robinson

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  40. Dear Ben, Laura, your children and families,
    I have just finished watching your documentary on Netflix and will send it to everyone I know. Our family lived in Zimbabwe for 18 years; our friends were of all races and since Mugabe, are now scattered all over the world. For us, Zimbabwe will always be our true home, a place and people we cherish. Thank you for your strength, your astonishing courage, your abiding faith in the face of such terrifying adversity to help save Zimbabwe and her people and to stand up for human rights in Zimbabwe and elsewhere. It has taken your whole family to do this and still you do not know what the outcome will be. Our prayers will be with you every morning and through the nights. May God keep you close and in His care. You are precious to Him and to us.

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  41. Ben,
    You are an amazing brother in the Lord (and your wife and family are amazing as well). My heart went out to you and your family after I watched the documentary late last night. I am an American, but a dear friend of mine lives in Zim, so it is a country that is close to my heart, even though I have never been there. I plan to follow your story and keep a closer eye on the news so that I can better pray for you and your people. You seem to have such a strong, gentle, courageous and determined spirit - may our God continue to protect you and your family and use you mightily for His glory.
    1 Corinthians 4:9-16

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  42. Ben,

    i saw the documentary last night. So many emotions. All i wanted to say: You and your family are an inspiration for the world and the human race! True Heros!

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  43. Dear Ben,

    I´m Portuguese and we saw in our television your documentary last night.
    I was lying in my bed with my wife and my 7 months son sleeping next to us, and there was an unbelieveble mix of feelings invading our souls... I truly respect you, and i do believe i will never forget what i saw last night for the rest of my life... You and your father in law are an inspiration, an example of courage and faith in God. I´m sure i´ll have the pleasure to meet you both one day...
    May our God continue to protect you and your family

    João Azeredo

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  44. Sorry Mr Freeth, you cannot portray yourself as one of the little people. Little people don't own a 12000 hectare estate with 45 giraffes, 300 impala, 150 wildebeest, 50 elands, waterbuck and 500 workers!
    As for diamonds, they are your family best friends:
    Blood money: the MPs cashing in on Zimbabwe's misery
    www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/blood-money-the-mps-cashing-in-on-zimbabwes-misery-856583

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  45. HI Ben,I hope you are safe wherever you are. I saw your documentary and the sorrow and tragedy i felt, i cannot express. Africa kills her sun.... what a tragedy. Soon, Mugabe will be invading any one who opposes his ideals, not just the whites, and while i support equal distribution of land, the manner it was done and the corruption involved is appalling. Human beings should not do that to others.
    By the way, I am a black African, i feel pity for my continent. Stay strong my African brother. Justice will be done.

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  46. Ben Freeth never claimed to be African, his father in law was, a South African army captain who came to Rhodesia in 1974 to get some land.

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  47. Ben, I am a proud New Zealand. I write this comment in aure of how brave you and Mike are in the face of tyranny. You are a credit to yourselves and not only just white Zimbabweans but black too who are too scare to stand up for themselves. There are plenty of white Zimbabweans here in NZ who have fled to escape Mugabe and they are some of the nicest people I have ever meet. I hope Mugabe's rein comes to an end and he is held responsible for these crimes against humanity. Kia Kaha (be strong) Ben.

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  48. Hello Ben, Warm greetings to you and your family. I am a 47 year old mother of three, living in Colorado. I just watched "Mugabe and the White African," and cannot begin to express the range of emotions I am feeling. The perseverence, resilience, and FAITH demonstrated by you, your family and all the workers at Mount Carmel is simply overwhelming and inspiring. I am truly humbled and will forever be impacted by your story. You and your family make me want to be a better human being. Thank YOU!

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  49. Hello Ben,
    I recently watched the documentary "Mugabe and the White African". I am deeply touched by this documentary and applaud your's and your family's resilience. For me its never been about the color or race of a human being. I see you and everyone else for who they are beyond color, race or religion. I couldn't believe another human being torturing another human being and justifying the act by saying its some kind of a political movement for the betterment of one race. I couldn't believe someone would hurt an elderly man and woman to that extent to have so much hatred in ones heart for a person who you don't even know personally. Not only were the white people subjected to torture even the families helping them were subjected to torture. I wish we could all see beyond color, race and religion and everyone could embrace forgiveness ,compassion and love. I am overwhelmed with so many emotions right now for everyone who is suffering in all parts of the world.People pray to God on one hand ; call themselves religious and then we see them causing so much suffering. How can they justify themselves to their God and most importantly to themselves? How can one sleep with themselves at night with that kind of conscience? You and your families and everyone else who has to face this kind of injustice are in my prayers. May we find peace soon. May we find ourselves living in a world where the basic Human rights are honored.I applaud you , Mike and everyone else for your courage to stand to injustice. God Bless you and your families and may you find your home very soon.

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