Z I M B A B W E is in turmoil, and by early-rnMay, the existence of elaborate plans forrna British-led emergency evacuation ofrnthousands of British and other EuropeanrnUnion nationals was confirmed by thernForeign Office in London. Zimbabwe’srnMarxist president, Robert Mugabe, reiteratedrnhis pledge to redistribute whiteownedrnfarms to landless blacks, usingrn”emergency legislation” empowering therngovernment to “confiscate” the farmlandrnwithout compensation.rnFor years, Mugabe has threatened tornseize the farms, hi September 1998, herneven demanded $1.5 billion from thernWorld Bank, Britain, and the UnitedrnStates to buy five million hectares ofrnwhite-owned farmland in order to distributernit to black peasants, insisting thatrnWestern governments had to compensaternwhite farmers for land they hadrn”stolen” from blacks.rnA year earlier, Mugabe had announcedrnthat his government was about to seizern1,722 white-owned farms without payingrncompensation. This led thousands ofrnblack squatters to stage sit-ins on whiteownedrnfarms, eager to stake their claim.rnMost were persuaded to leave by governmentrnassurances that a huge state resettlementrnprogram was only months away.rnWhen Mugabe’s information ministerrnsubsequently announced that hundredsrnof profitable farms had been selected forrnseizure by government-appointed “committees”rn—without reference to land registersrn—it was clear that much of that landrnwas supposed to wind up in the hands ofrngovernment cronies.rnWliite-run farms are virtuallv the onlyrncommercially viable private agriculturalrnconcerns in sub-Saharan Africa, and anyrnland grab would reduce a thriving sectorrnto the grim level of subsistence farmingrnseen everywhere north of the Zambezi.rnThis fact stopped Mugabe from carrj-ingrnout his threats until recently. Now, however,rnhe believes that the political capitalrnto be gained for himself and his corruptrncoterie outweighs the economic damage.rnLike most African despots, he is perfectlyrnhappy to ruin his countr’ for the sake ofrnenhancing his power.rnFor the comprehensive historicalrnrecord of who did what to whom in thatrnnow unhappy land. The Great Betrayal,rnthe memoirs of the former RhodesianrnPrime Minister Ian Smith, is compulsor}’rnreading. He knew what was in store forrnRhodesia under the likes of Mugabe, andrnhis account of the duplicit}’ of Westernrn”mediators” (Carter, Carrington & Co.)rnin ensuring Mugabe’s 1979 victory isrnboth depressing and unsurprising. Wliatrnwe’re seeing todav are the belated fruits ofrnthat flawed victory by “a bunch of communistrnterrorists who had come into theirrnposition through intimidation, corrup-rnHon and a blatantly dishonest election.”rnIt did not take long for Mugabe’s truerncolors to show. He first engineered arnshowdown with Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU,rnthe onlv real political rival to his ZuNUrnand the last major opposition to a oneparh’rnstate. Nkomo was demoted and arndozen of his ZAPU officials put intornprison. Mugabe’s ruthless North Koreantrainedrnforces killed o’er 30,000 Mata-rnBOOK OF NEXT MONTHrnCoethe was not alone in regardingrnAlessandro Manzoni’s one novel. The Betrothed,rnas the fictional masterpiece of thern19th century, and the Italians have treatedrnit as a work second only to Dante’srnCommedia. I promessi sposi is notrnjust a great stor}’—though it isrnthat; it is also a satiric analysisrnof Italy under foreign occupation.rnAmericans who have lived throughrnthe past decade should understand.rnbele tribesmen, presumed Nkomo supporters,rnwhile the West remained silent.rnThe Zimbabwean regime next beganrnopenly to provoke the whites. Mugabernmade speeches attacking the whites andrninciting racial hatred. Emigration rose torn10,000 per month. In the end, barelvrn50,000 whites remained, one-half of onernpercent of Zimbabwe’s population.rnSome were imprisoned without trial onrntrumped-up charges. When electionsrnwere held in 1985, opposition supportersrnhad their windows smashed, and at leastrnthree people were killed. In the electionrnof 1990, opposition candidates receivedrnvisits from Mugabe’s Central IntelligencernOrganisation and were told tornwithdraw from the election “or their familiesrnwould get the message.” Violencernwas openly advocated by ZANU officials.rnSome gunmen suspected of shooting andrnassaulting political opponents wererncaught by the police, but if they werernZ A N U members, Mugabe simply pardonedrnthem.rnThe land-appropriation tactics of Mugabe’srngovernment during this period explainrnhis present incitement of armedrnrobbery and murder. Although therernwere over two million acres of farmlandrnavailable, with anotiier million owned byrnwhites who were willing to sell, ZANUrnpersisted in its vote-gathering claim thatrn”white racists” still owned all the bestrnland and had to be forced to hand it over.rnAvailable land was allocated to ZANU officials.rnAs the economy rapidly wentrnbankrupt and became ever more dependentrnon loans and handouts, Mugabernraised the defense budget by over a thousandrnpercent, and awarded himself andrnhis ministers a 64-percent salar}’ increase.rnIn short, Zimbabwe now followsrnAfrica’s time-honored tradition of “onernman, one vote, once.” The half of therncountry’s farmland currently owned byrnblack Zimbabweans is used for subsistencernfarming and contributes nothing tornthe national economy. By taking therncommercially productive farmland, Mugabernwill effectively cut the GNP of Zimbabwernin half and put a quarter of a millionrnblack farmworkers out of work,rnabout one out of every eight blacks currentlyrnholding a job in Zimbabwe. Thernprospects for foreign investment will bernconsiderably diminished.rnThe white liberal establishment inrnBritain and America is understandablyrnembarrassed. It would dearly like countriesrnlike Zimbabwe and South Africa tornprosper, but in Washington and Londonrn8/CHRONICLESrnrnrn