Saturday, May 19, 2012

(HERALD) The bogeyman of white supremacy

The bogeyman of white supremacy
Wednesday, 16 May 2012 21:17

The documentary “Mugabe and the White African” is quite unbearable to watch, more for its outrageous propaganda content and much less for the vile and depraved image of Robert Mugabe it vainly attempts to portray — itself the evident credo to the authorship and intention of the film-maker, one Ben Freeth, an avowed Christian victim for the purposes of this documentary.

The pungent attacks on the character and person of Robert Mugabe have to be immortalised through literature and films — and this is precisely because Robert Mugabe has been diagnosed as a viral cause to a disease that threatens the soundness and continuity of white supremacy.

To reinvigorate the increasingly apolitical Western populace, it is important that African revolutionaries like Robert Mugabe, Kwame Nkrumah, Muammar Gaddafi, Abdel Nasser, Thomas Sankara and Samora Machel are portrayed as authoritarian with a zero sense of human decency.

This is why people like Simon Bright and Ben Freeth find it necessary to invest in reducing the 2000 rise of the black man in Zimbabwe to a compendium of Mugabe lunacy — even packaging it in books and films so as to immortalise the bastardised image of an African politician who has become the bogeyman of white supremacy.

Author and academic Blessing Miles Tendi recently had a panel discussion with film-maker Simon Bright and Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe director McDonald Lewanika. This was after the sell-out showing of the propaganda film “Robert Mugabe — What Happened?” in Oxford.

As Tendi later wrote, Robert Mugabe the person continues “to captivate the British public.” This captivation is not a result of the British public’s independent view of Mugabe, but a true reflection of the propaganda model that has steadily manufactured public consent over the unacceptability of what Mugabe stands for in politics — disguised of course under the image of an atrocious conduct “towards his own people.” We will come back to what Mugabe actually stands for in global politics.

Tendi raises an important question on whether the interest in Robert Mugabe is about the real problems Africa is facing or is about other interests. He questions if Zimbabwe at this time has ever been worse than the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the troubled land of Madagascar. This writer would add the Sudans, Nigeria, Somalia, Mali, Guinea Bissau and even Egypt.

As Tendi concludes there seems to be an apparent “disproportionate amount of international focus” on Zimbabwe, compared to other more severe crises across the African continent. Zimbabwe only interests the West for the most daring thing that ever happened to it since the fall of colonial empires, most daring not only for Zimbabwe itself, but by way of history-making and the shaping of Africa — West relations.

The reclamation of land that happened in Zimbabwe in 2000 was not only outstanding in the principle sense of it all but in the manner through which it was executed. It was a departure from the West’s favoured roundtable approach where weaker nations are manipulated and arm-twisted into humiliating compromises that often perpetuate white hegemony at the expense of all others.

Land reclamation in Zimbabwe was done not by Mugabe or Zanu-PF party but by the masses of Zimbabwe. The people simply went out to occupy land that belonged to them and Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF only jumped in to provide leadership — more for their political ends and less for their prior commitment to the cause.

The commitment to reclaim land had been temporarily neutralised by the niceties of the Lancaster House roundtable talks where the nationalists emerged with a proud sense of success — envisaging themselves as incoming rulers even over the wealthy white commercial farmers. That became more important than dispossessing these people and getting them to vacate the black land they illegally occupied.

Tendi correctly notes that Simon Bright’s choice of interviewees for the production of the film “Robert Mugabe — What happened?” was nothing more than an effort to contrive a pre-conceived verdict on a man he seeks to portray as the villain behind the eviction of white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe. Of course Bright expectedly dismissed this charge for obvious reasons. He either has forgotten the real cause of his anger against Mugabe or he knows that such a cause is unsellable to any people with a sense of morality and conscience.

Edgar Tekere was chosen more for his later day political troubles outside Zanu-PF than for the more credible part of his life when he added the much-needed sense of radicalism to the liberation struggle. In his last days of political bitterness, Tekere became a target of Western agents seeking to legitimise their demonisation of Robert Mugabe.

If Tekere fell out with Robert Mugabe, it must mean Tekere is the legitimate voice to tell us how evil Mugabe is — so the reasoning goes. It is like trying to seek an objective characterisation of a woman from her ex-husband who blames the same woman for the breakdown of the marriage.

Geoff Nyarota has his own personal bitterness about how he left The Chronicle’s position of editor after the Willowgate scandal — to be honest an unfair predicament of the time. He tried so hard to use the Daily News as an opportunity to settle scores with old foes in the establishment.

But that did not make Nyarota the owner of The Daily News newspaper as implied by Bright when he wrote “Geoff Nyarota, whose Daily News newspaper was bombed . . .” It is important for Bright to realise that Nyarota is currently hitting back at the Daily News the same way he has been trying to hit back at Robert Mugabe for what he perceives to be the man’s vicarious liability for his unceremonious departure from the Zimpapers stable.

It is hard to understand how Nyarota can be an independent and authentic source of an objective rating on Robert Mugabe.

Simba Makoni was chosen for his departure from Zanu-PF in 2008, and as such his utterances must justifiably be seen from a political context of a competing rival. He collectively shares responsibility for Zanu-PF policies, good or bad, from 1980 all the way to 2008. This Tendi correctly outlined and it is hard to imagine Simba can provide an objective and honest view on Mugabe.

Lovemore Madhuku is a discredited and abandoned political entity. That is why his National Constitutional Assembly has crumbled after his unilateral amending of its constitution for the sole purpose of enabling him to retain power. Donors and supporters have abandoned Madhuku and whatever he stands for.

John Makumbe is the typical academic lunatic in the park. He long abandoned intellectual responsibility, and this writer once wrote about that, with Tendi partially concurring, but sharply rebuking this writer for selectively isolating Makumbe from a host of other culprits. Indeed the culprits are more than just Makumbe, but the man showcases extra outstanding insanity on the matter.

Bright chooses Makumbe as a credible interviewee simply on the basis of the man’s unverified claims of victimhood, and this has a lot of bearing on Bright’s own credibility as a researcher and a film-maker.
Wilfred Mhanda was arrested and detained in Mozambique during the armed struggle on allegations of betrayal, he tells us. True or false, the man’s post-independence life has not proved any better. He glorifies Lord Soames for rescuing him from the cells in Mozambique, continues to fellowship so well with those against whom the war he once commanded was waged, and he always takes his bitterness more to the white people than he does to his fellow blacks. Nathaniel

Manheru caught him at it in Avondale a few weeks ago, and he informed us so through his Saturday Herald column.
Trevor Ncube was chosen for his ownership of newspapers that are sympathetic to the anti-Mugabe rhetoric and that is not surprising. But that makes Ncube a weak witness, if not an incredible one.

Dennis Norman was obviously chosen to make the glowing praises of Mugabe’s early years in governance — praises for Mugabe’s compromising compliance with British and Western interests, including the mesmerising agreement to ESAP in 1991.
He took time to tell us how much President Mugabe is fond of the Western dress, and Bright is convinced that must be an earth-shattering revelation.
If a white man praises Mugabe for “liberation and development,” that should make the subsequent criticism on tyranny and dictatorship more valid — so the reasoning goes.

After interviewing these indisputably biased people Bright concludes that the interviews provide “a definitive account” of Robert Mugabe’s life. In fact the whole exercise provides a definitive account of Simon Bright’s worthlessness as a competent film-maker, and his unmeritorious pedigree as a researcher.
Simon Bright’s calculated idea is to portray Robert Mugabe as a hero who turned out to be a villain. This is a script he grabs from the hard work of the committedly propagandistic Western media, clearly with the intention of capturing an audience from the Western public. Good business thinking but incredible ethics!

Expectedly Bright informs us that his film has sold out in Amsterdam, Brussels, New York, Cape Town and the white community sections of Johannesburg. Why not in Harare, Lusaka, Gaborone, Accra, Kinshasa, Luanda, or Nairobi, one would ask?
As Tendi correctly asserts it is bad film-making for Bright to conclude his production by declaring “a legacy of genocide” for Robert Mugabe. This writer will unapologetically declare that there has never been anything like a genocide in Zimbabwe, and elevating unfortunate incidences of civil conflict to the status of genocide is an unforgivable abuse of the true victims of that episode, especially if the elevation is from a white person seeking to use the fate of black people to discredit another black person, and to pursue his own selfish ends. It becomes totally intolerable and absolutely unforgivable, not least when Mike Auret is deemed to be the definer of the alleged genocide, and the self-anointed custodian of Ndebele memory.

Bright concurs with Tendi that his selection of Mugabe as a villain was misplaced. His defence is that Robert Mugabe is “the subject that interests me.” Of course he is, not exactly because Mugabe is the subject in question, but because the land he allowed to be reclaimed by the people of Zimbabwe is the subject that interests Bright and his Western audience.

Bright flatly denies “misplaced sympathy for white farmers,” and argues that all he has is “an interest in what has happened in Zimbabwe under Mugabe’s leadership.” Strangely Bright goes on to accuse Tendi of “misjudging the complexities of Britain and Zimbabwe”. By reducing everything in Zimbabwe to Mugabe’s leadership Bright himself believes he is providing sound judgment on the complexities of Zimbabwe. Everything that has gone wrong in Zimbabwe has become “It’s Mugabe’s Fault” (IMF), Bright opines.

Bright even dares to challenge Tendi that the political culture in Zimbabwe has no other players but Mugabe alone. Contrary to what Bright says, his film spends a great deal of time explaining and lamenting the fate of the white commercial farmers; and he does so by extensively using the alleged plight of the “black opposition voters” as a catch button to attract sympathy for the white farmer, who we are told used to employ these “black opposition voters,” now made to be unemployed by Mugabe’s “unsound policies.”

Contrary to what Bright declares, his film is all about creating a psychological portrait of a villainous Robert Mugabe, and he openly expresses disdain that “Mugabe has made it his business to stand for Zimbabwe.”

Stripped of the Hitler content, Bright acknowledges through a Robert Mugabe quote that the Zimbabwean leader “has only one objective,” and I quote, “justice for his people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their rights over resources.”

How a man of such legendary principle can be turned into a villain by the mere act of an obscure film-maker remains to be judged by history and posterity.

Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!

Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in Sydney, Australia.

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