Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Rhodesia and white supremacists


The New York Times recently published an article titled "Rhodesia’s Dead — but White Supremacists Have Given It New Life Online".  Here's an excerpt.

Nostalgia for Rhodesia has ... grown into a subtle and profitable form of racist messaging, with its own line of terminology, hashtags and merchandise, peddled to military-history fans and firearms enthusiasts by a stew of far-right provocateurs.

In conversations and email exchanges with The New York Times, some prominent social-media figures and companies selling Rhodesia-themed merchandise denied trafficking in white-power messages, or said they had done so unwittingly. A few said their affinity for Rhodesia derived from the government’s supposed anticommunist stance.

But outside observers of this Rhodesia revival cite a far more disturbing inspiration for it: Dylann Roof, the American white supremacist who killed nine black parishioners in a Charleston, S.C. church in June 2015. Roof, who was sentenced to death last year, had penned an online manifesto, which appeared on a website called The Last Rhodesian, with photographs of himself wearing a jacket with a patch of the green-and-white Rhodesian flag.

There's more at the link.

The trouble is, most of those who peddle such nonsense have no idea of the reality that was Rhodesia.  I made several trips there during the latter half of the 1970's, when the war was at its height, and saw for myself a lot of the nastiness that was going on.  There was enough evil to go around, on both sides.  The communist-inspired, -trained and -armed terrorists/guerrillas were ruthless and merciless, killing thousands of their own people to enforce their control of the countryside.  The (largely white) security forces were equally ruthless and merciless, often abandoning the rule of law in favor of "frontier justice", beating, maiming and killing their own citizens in an effort to get the information they needed to prosecute the war.  Both sides spread so much propaganda about each other that to this day, it's almost impossible to get to the bottom of many violent tragedies that occurred.

Basically, Rhodesia was doomed by demographics.  In 1969, white Rhodesians formed less than 5% of the population;  black Rhodesians, 95%.  Whites were outnumbered 19 to 1 - and the situation got steadily worse during the 1970's, due to an exploding black birth rate and the emigration (first a trickle, then a flood) of whites who saw the writing on the wall.  Those who left were derisively referred to, at first, by those who stayed, as "taking the chicken run" - until the end drew near, when attitudes among the remaining whites suddenly changed.  Earlier departures were now said to have "taken the owl run", acting out of wisdom rather than cowardice.  In trying to hold onto power, white Rhodesians were "farting against thunder".  Demographics are inexorable.  There was simply no way they could possibly succeed.  (South Africa went the same way for the same basic reason, although there whites formed up to 10% of the total population during the 1970's, almost double Rhodesia's ratio).

It was that demographic inevitability that, in my opinion, gave rise to a lot of the worst violence and atrocities.  Those serving in Rhodesia's armed forces knew that, even if they won today's fight, there'd be another just as bad (if not worse) tomorrow.  There would be no let-up.  Things were not going to get better.  The visceral response of many Rhodesian servicemen was to "do unto others what was being done to them".  They became as much terrorists, in the way they treated their own people, as the guerrillas against whom they fought.  I know they did - I saw them do it.  (If you don't want to believe that, read some of the literature that's come out of the security forces since then.  I can list some books here, if there's enough interest.  It was a brutal time.)

On the other side, the terrorists/guerrilla leaders knew that ultimately, they could not lose.  They had massive international support, whereas the Rhodesian government was isolated.  Their forces dominated huge sections of the countryside, where the people were loyal to them (whether by choice or by intimidation).  They had no compunction in killing, maiming, torturing and terrorizing their own race, much less the whites who still controlled Rhodesia.  Their leaders were formed and trained by the Soviet Union and Communist China, and didn't know the meaning of civilized conduct or humane treatment of non-combatants.  They were after power, and they firmly believed it grew out of the barrel of a gun.  In Rhodesia, they were ultimately proved right, weren't they?

I've never understood those apologists for Rhodesia or apartheid-era South Africa who claim that things were better, even for blacks, under a white government.  As I wrote some years ago, in an article titled "Was apartheid South Africa really that bad?":

Finally, to people who try to make excuses for apartheid and the conduct of the then-South African government, I can only say:
  • If you were treated like a slave, a sub-human and a pariah in your own country;
  • If you were stripped of your citizenship and civil rights in the country of your birth because of the color of your skin;
  • If your education depended upon your skin color for its quality (or lack thereof);
  • If your choice of what to do with your life, or where to live, or who to love or marry, was restricted by your race;
  • If you were denied free travel inside your own country, forced to carry an internal passport and subject to instant arrest if you forgot it at home or lost it;
  • If you were forced to accept menial labor as the only work open to you, paid a starvation wage, and denied the right to bring your family to live with you near your place of work;
  • If you were savagely beaten and imprisoned if you dared to protest such restrictions and indignities, or even shot out of hand rather than arrested;
would you calmly accept those things? Or would you take up arms to overthrow the system that placed such restrictions upon you?

I can't blame those who were penalized, due solely to the color of their skin, under the governments of either Rhodesia or South Africa, for choosing to resist.  I condemn unreservedly the terroristic nature of much of their resistance, just as I condemn the excesses and atrocities committed by the security forces on the other side.  "Two wrongs don't make a right", as the old saying goes.

Those trying to use Rhodesian military memorabilia, and the racist slogans of that period, to support their notions of white supremacy or the like, don't know what they're talking about.  They weren't there, and they have no conception of what things were like.  I was there, I saw the war and internal conflict in Rhodesia and South Africa at first hand, and I know.  God forbid that such times should come again!

Peter

18 comments:

John Prigent said...

I saw some of those 'freedom fighters' and the way they behaved in neighbouring Tanzania when given sanctuary. Marching around Arusha, with the locals getting off the streets to avoid them, threatening people who loooked at them from hotel windows, and 'fund raising' by raiding banks. One such bank raid was opposite the company I was visiting so I got eye-witness accounts. And since it had major cash sales the office was rapoidly moved out of Dar es Salaam before the guerillas decided to raid that as well. Those were not freedom fighters, just terrorists without enough intelligent leadership to realist that terrifying and robbibg their hosts was a bad idea.

Sendarius said...

We here in Oz took in a lot of whites escaping Rhodesia about that time.

Derisively, they are given the sobriquet "wenwee", taken from their constant belittling of their host country by incessantly using the phrase, "When we lived in Rhodesia..." to describe some perceived short-coming of Australian society.

Somewhat amusingly, the same perjorative is used for the second wave of refugees from the country (now former Zimbabweans), for the exact same behaviour.

Ray - SoCal said...

My grandparents had friends in Rhodesia and visited there before the revolution. It’s sad how far the country has fallen economically.

Larry said...

I would never say it was better then than now, but starvation under one form of totalitarianism is hardly better than the alternative. It all sucks.

Y. said...

@OP

But what should we do? All evidence points to biological factors making it completely impossible for Africans, as a whole to not form an underclass if living with any other ethnicity bar say, Australian Aborigines. There's a few black led countries that work decently; I've heard good things about Botswana and Namibia. But overall, it's more depressing than Moldova.

The evidence for black Africans not having been selected for smarts and toil but rather resistance to tropical diseases and hand to hand combat is, at this time, overwhelming, from decades of school underachievement, higher bone and muscle densities (stereotype that blacks can't swim is partly true, Western Africans have higher body densities) through very unimpressive school results of black children from middle class families, to brain volume studies and genome-wide association studies on polymorphisms associated with educational attainment.

Guess what - the predictions based on incomplete genome data is very well in line with IQ estimates. Slightly underestimates Africans and Asians, as they have their own genes for high intelligence, and the original GWAS on education was based on a mostly or completely white sample-

Of course moral worth of a people isn't based on their innate abilities, but rather what they do with them. I'm more sympathetic to the African vendors selling street snacks fried in mineral oil than all the clever people involved in the binary scam industry that's been stealing $10 billion per year for the past decade.

But try telling that to the 'intellectuals', people who base their self-worth on always having done great in school. Maybe that's why it's going down like that. But if Africa is not supposed to remain a dysfunctional region, forever, it either has to be colonized by some more capable race, or the people therein changed for the better. And if Europe doesn't find or rebuild its collective balls and allows itself to be overrun with migrants, it might end up no better than say, Baltimore, Detroit or Johannesburg.

You, as a Christian should perhaps write a post about the problems posed by the ill-advised end to infant mortality. There is a body of evidence that strongly suggests that absent genetic engineering used for fixing the flaws that accumulate in our gene-pool because it's no longer the case that 5 out of 6 children fail to reach adulthood would render almost the entire modern population so sickly as to be effectively infertile in a couple of centuries.

Evolution kept the genes working nicely through relentlessly putting to death all unfit specimens. If we don't let it do that, and don't try to fix errors that proliferate through technological means, what are we to do then? Fade away?

Old NFO said...

One hopes there is no reoccurrence...

645645645645645 said...

Back in the early and mid 2000's, I spent a fair amount of time in Africa. Hands down my favorite was Zimbabwe. Loved the country and the people, both white and black, compared to other countries I visited. The most peculiar time I spent in Africa was in Mozambique. Some of that time in the company of a famous/infamous Selous Scout. Not a man to be f*cked with, regardless of the color of your skin.

Counter Jockey said...

I'm curious as to whether or not you believe life is better now in what was once Rhodesia than it was during white rule?

Also, my understanding of Rhodesia is that blacks were allowed a vote, provided they had a high school education, owned land, or did a hitch in the defense forces.

I've always looked at the Bush war as a struggle against Communism in lieu of a race war.

McChuck said...

"If you were treated like a slave, a sub-human and a pariah in your own country;
If you were stripped of your citizenship and civil rights in the country of your birth because of the color of your skin;
If your education depended upon your skin color for its quality (or lack thereof);
If your choice of what to do with your life, or where to live, or who to love or marry, was restricted by your race;
If you were denied free travel inside your own country, forced to carry an internal passport and subject to instant arrest if you forgot it at home or lost it;
If you were forced to accept menial labor as the only work open to you, paid a starvation wage, and denied the right to bring your family to live with you near your place of work;
If you were savagely beaten and imprisoned if you dared to protest such restrictions and indignities, or even shot out of hand rather than arrested;"

So, basically, you oppose the Chinese government? And the Indian government? And the governments of most of the world, including 100% of Africa?

Just because you're born on the magic dirt, doesn't make you a citizen.

Fighting to keep the country we built before we are outnumbered, overrun, and exterminated by foreigners is the best possible outcome for whites in America these days. What we desire is not longer pertinent - there is only what we require.

HMS Defiant said...

I don't doubt you at all but still, there is, at the end of the day, what one will fight for. I can see a fight to the death to preserve all that I know or to overturn injustice and I suppose that all can see that sort of thing. It's what we are about. I think you'd get a kick out of though:
https://www.strategypage.com/humor/articles/military_jokes_horatius.asp

It's the modern version of Horatius at the Bridge brought alive by the wits of the U.S. Army.

Sanders said...

I read that article when it came out and it seems to me the author wants to erase Rhodesia like they are trying to erase the Confederacy, Columbus, and Manifest Destiny.

My ex-wife lived in Zimbabwe from 1980 to '87. Her parents moved there in time to see the country turn communist, but they still had conveniences. By the time they left, there were bread lines and you had to take your toothpaste tubes to the factory to have them refilled.

I never saw the Rhodesian Bush War as a racial war, but as a war against Communist expansion.

Technomad said...

A lot of people tended to conflate Rhodesia and South Africa. The two countries were very, very different. White rule was not perfect by any means, but compared to what Zimbabwe has become, Rhodesia looks better and better.

Unfortunately, the chattering classes everywhere, but particularly here in the US, saw the whole thing through the false lens of the US black civil-rights movement. Even though rule by minority "tribes" is nothing unusual in sub-Saharan Africa, all they saw was evil whites oppressing pure, noble blacks.

Peter said...

@Technomad: To a very significant extent, both Rhodesia and South Africa were based on whites oppressing blacks. Read my earlier article, linked in the post above. Every word of it is factually true and incontrovertible.

McChuck said...

Every country in Africa is based on somebody oppressing blacks. It's usually other blacks. Does that somehow make it better?

Bayou Renaissance Man said...

@McChuck: Sir, I think you're in need of some serious psychological help.

- In many of your comments, you voice the opinion that killing is an acceptable way to solve far too many problems;

- Earlier in this thread, you said: "Fighting to keep the country we built before we are outnumbered, overrun, and exterminated by foreigners is the best possible outcome for whites in America these days. What we desire is not longer pertinent - there is only what we require." With respect, that statement ignores the wishes, desires and requirements of millions of Americans who don't consider themselves white, but have as much of a birthright here as you do.

- Your latest comment, above, indicates that oppression of Africans is somehow OK because it's endemic to Africa. That doesn't make it OK; that makes it all the more urgent a problem to address. If you were in the shoes of the oppressed, I daresay you might feel less indifferent to the problem.

Sir, your views are not compatible with any sort of balanced or reasonable approach to the problems of life. In particular, insisting on the rights of one race over another (whatever that race may be) is simply unacceptable. This blog does not stand for white views, or black views, or brown views;
it stands for a broad-based, Christian, Western-civilization approach to life. I'll do my best to continue that perspective.

Kindly don't express such views on this blog any longer. If you want to start your own blog, where you can air them to your heart's content, that's your right, of course.

DavidClark1 said...

>"If you don't want to believe that, read some of the literature that's come out of the security forces since then. I can list some books here, if there's enough interest. It was a brutal time."

Please do! I'd love to read more on this topic

PV van der Byl said...

645645645645645, might you have run into Ant White in Beira or at that bird watching lodge?

645645645645645 said...

PV van der Byl said...
645645645645645, might you have run into Ant White in Beira or at that bird watching lodge?

No comment. ;)